Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Why I Am Giving Up Facebook

I love Facebook; I really do.

Therein lies the problem.

It appeals to the core of my extraverted introvert, this desire to know what's going on everywhere and speak into all that's going on everywhere when I am so inclined. The voyeur in me, the same sneaky thing who loved to peek in medicine cabinets and rifle through the desk drawers of the people I babysat for as a teen; that girl runs wild through the status updates and comments.

She's still too naive to remember that what people show you is often a far cry from what really is.

But it appeals to me, and it calls to me way too often, in the middle of just about anything.

It's a distraction. And I find myself, more often than not, choosing this; latching onto a life lived absent from the things and people right in front of my nose. Whether or not I'm scrolling through the news feed, more and more it seems I am unmindful. Heedless.

Social media feeds into the best and the worst of me, sometimes simultaneously.

This is not good, for I am a weak-willed woman who embraces a lack of discipline and calls it freedom. Too often.

I offer myself much grace, but I have also learned to tell the truth when I can.


Tomorrow begins Lent, a season of preparation. Easter comes in about six weeks, and tradition holds that for those who follow Christ, the six weeks before his torture and crucifixion offer a time to dig a little deeper, to consider the very real impact of the scandalous mystery that resides at the core of Christian faith. The alleluia's and exclamations will come Easter morning; the shouts of, "He is risen!" and the faithful reply, "He is risen, indeed!" Easter is victory, the grand slam, the winning celebration.

But there is no Easter without the suffering that comes beforehand. The hero's resurrection is devoid of power less his death.

The entire crux of Jesus' teaching - his words, his life, his attitudes - all that is exemplified in the gospel stories of his life; these things turn the world as it is on it's head. All that stuff about the last being first, the suffering he promised, the division in families, the healing of disgusting diseases, the forgiveness of the outcast heathens; Jesus turned power and privilege into a open grave of decay. He promised the good things to those who suffered, who were hungry, who were poor and broken. He offered ridiculous grace to those whose shame stripped them of any confidence in the kindness of their community.

And so His life takes us to the cross where he died and the tomb where he laid and the open yawn of empty space on the third morning, and that is what prompts our singing and shouting and hats and new dresses and fancy shoes and appearance in churches. We hold fast to this call to celebrate, because deep inside, isn't that what we all long for? A reason to rejoice, a hard place to stand secure, a party where all is well not only here but throughout the universe.

We hope for these things.

Too often, the hope and the hard lean toward the merrymaking blinds us to the contrast that makes Easter rise up like a relief map, undeniable in its truth.

He is alive. He is risen.

But before, he was dead.

He was tortured.

He bled and cried and suffered and died an agonizing death.

There is something there for us, in all that suffering. Time and again we return to spring, to new life, to a movement beyond the cold, dark winter. There is light. There is life.

But first, there is darkness, and there will be death.


I am giving up Facebook for the next six weeks, to die to the desires and lazy indulgences of my weaker self. To move beyond my comfort and my sense of ease, to embrace the tangible spirit of life made manifest in the creation around me.

I will likely move into some other sort of denial as well. I know there is a movement afoot that encourages us to embrace some new thing, a new action, during this season; to move into grace and start something rather than stop something. But I need this. I need to say, "No." To hear and feel deniable and the tiny little deaths that can be offered as sacrifice.

This is, by no means, anything close to real sacrifice; brothers and sisters in war zones, starving, sleeping on dirt, freezing in the cold. I am well-aware of my privilege.

But I am starting from where I am, and holding fast to the one who will be with me here, and everywhere, and always.


Lori said...

Ann's post on Lent was good too and moving.. just as yours is... and not such a bad idea...
I think too, it's a good time for reconstructing , going back to remembering who we are and why we are here as well.
We lose what we no longer need or doesn't serve us, yet we still drag around and make room for so much more than that... so much beauty and grace.. and truth...
Beth you inspire me... I am blessed to call you friend.
Thank you.

Brandee Shafer said...

So freeing!

annie said...

I'll be watching for new posts. I too have thought of going trying to wean myself from so much Facebook time...

Mary Wilburn said...

You have inspired me to do the same. Ive been wanting to for quite some time... this is the time.