Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Facebook: Just Hang Up the Phone

Payphones barely exist anymore. It is rare to find one, and even more rare to find one that still works. Long-gone are the days when Superman could find a phone-booth to change in or when Mulder and Scully had to stop the car at a convenience store to make a call. Now, everyone has cell-phones.

But when I was growing up, payphones were definitely still a thing in my hometown. I can recall when I was in high school, walking by someone on a payphone outside a Waffle House or a gas station. Usually, of course, I had no knowledge or interest about the conversations taking place by strangers on payphones. Sometimes, however, the conversations became heated, so that you could not help but hear the caller yelling into the phone.  More than once (yes, I grew up in a kind of redneck environment), I heard a person hollering curse-words into the payphone. At those times, I thought to myself, "How is this conversation continuing? Why would someone allow herself to be cussed out over the phone? Why doesn't one party on the line simply hang up?"

Whereas payphones have mostly gone the way of the dodo, Facebook is alive and well. Now many of us have an extended network of friends and acquaintances with whom we are in a constant "party line" conversation. On my own friends list, I try to only include (for the most part) people whom I actually know: people whom I would at least recognize and say "hi" to if/when I were to see them in person. I do NOT exclude people from my friends list based on religious/philosophical/political differences. For example: I have friends who voted for Clinton in this last election and friends who voted for Trump (even though I voted for neither, as I believe they are both grossly unfit for office). I like to have a diverse group of friends because: 1) I like to read posts from different viewpoints; 2) on matters that I believe are most crucial (including, primarily, the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done for sinners), I hope to help influence my friends' thinking.

In the past year or so, I have unfriended two people due to what they have posted on Facebook. The first had posted a few lewd and abusive things, which I tried to overlook; then, since he is a die-hard union supporter, he capped off his other sentiments with a wish that anyone who voted for Matt Bevin to be Kentucky's governor would "go to Hell." The second was a friend who used to be an evangelist, but who basically walked away from anything like the biblical faith; I remained friends with him for a long time, but then he posted a profanity-filled message directed at anyone going to church.

I believe that "unfriending" in both cases mentioned above was basically equivalent to hanging up the [pay]phone on someone who is cussing you out. I'll still pray for the guys I unfriended, but I will not remain friends with someone who is going to wish me to go to Hell or fill my Facebook feed with abusive language. I'm writing this here because some of my closer Facebook friends basically NEVER unfriend anyone, and some of the material that regularly comes across their feed seems to cause them angst, sometimes leading to long arguments in which more abusive communication occurs. I urge everyone to consider the type of communication that you allow into your life. If need be, just "hang up the payphone."

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