I understand and affirm the right to express one’s opinions, and I understand and affirm the right and the obligation to stand up for one’s beliefs.
I have begun to see that doing so on Social Media is totally useless. In fact, I’d venture to say such an effort is counterproductive.
In the first place, nothing is ever resolved in the venomous, malicious and hurtful exchanges that too often emerge. Essentially, Social Media becomes a venue, at best, for venting, and at worst, for cowards to hide behind its anonymity and become verbal terrorists, exploding over all who come within range.
I understand the human need to vent; but, it seems to me there are other, more appropriate and, indeed, more effective venues for venting.
In the second place, no minds ever are changed; indeed, most of the time it’s more like “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts;” “I’m right.” Period. Therefore, if you disagree with me “You’re wrong.” Period. It’s a short journey from “You’re wrong” to “You’re stupid,” to “You’re evil,” and the elimination of evil is justified in most ideologies.
Sadly, however, too often the aftermath is an end-justifies-the-means ethic. In my thinking, no cause, no matter how good or noble, justifies, or is enhanced by, ignoble means.
And so, earlier this week I resolved to abstain from participation in the adversarialism. It was just futile. Useless. Divisive.
Today, however, a specific on line article caught my attention, and convinced me that Social Media has become a viable indicator of the American political pulse and blood pressure. The news agencies pick up on it; and by extension, I’m guessing the politicians and policy moguls notice, too. Perhaps all that contempt and bitterness and hatred spewed across Facebook walls play valid roles in social and political influence.
Perhaps I should stay engaged, after all. My perception of Social Media is not at all representative of Social Media as a whole. Fully 85% of my Facebook friends are conservative--from traditional GOP to Tea Party to Libertarian to Survivalist. A large majority are from the South and are Evangelical Christians. While I make no value judgments here, the ethos of my Facebook community is skewed, and not representative of the whole venue.
[Yes, I understand that my unwillingness to pass value judgement begs the question whether the belligerence I experience on Social Media is a direct result of the ethos of my Facebook community. On the other hand, my liberal FB friends, though making up a small minority, are not immune to their own brand of venom!]
By personality type, by profession, and by faith, I advocate peace, unity and cooperation. I promote reconciliation, collaborative conflict resolution and empathetic human interaction. I belong to a church whose vision includes being "a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world." Thus, I detest the schoolyard bully façade projected by a disproportionate majority of Social Media pundits (and wannabees) in my Facebook community.
My gut wants to just drop out. I’m tired of the bile and the refusal to consider “other”
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Most of all I’m tired of the “I’m right syndrome”—the across-the-board refusal to collaborate, negotiate or even communicate with anyone who disagrees with “ME/US”.
I’m tired of it all because at the bottom line I’m convinced that between any two of us there are infinitely more similarities than differences, and that if we so choose, we can build on our similarities and agreements and can thereby create “a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
That’s how I see it through the “Flawed Glass” that is my perspective.
Together in the Walk,
 Unity is not the same thing as uniformity. It’s more like harmony—a choir singing in unison can create beautiful music; but the same choir multiplies its beauty when the basses, tenors, altos and sopranos are singing different notes at the same time. That’s harmony. That’s unity.
 As I’ve written and preached many times, I believe in absolute truth; but I don’t believe any human or human group is capable of perceiving truth absolutely. Our human perception of “absolute” truth always will be “relative” to our personal experience of reality.