In the beginning, there was the internet. The internet was a formless excess of content, and boredom covered the abyss. Thus spoke Zuckerberg, “Let there be Facebook.” Zuckerberg saw how good it was and bought a 100 million dollars’ worth of Hawaii.
Two new problems I need Jesus to solve:
- My image qua “man” has been tainted.
- I forgot my friend’s birthday.
The first problem shouldn’t be a problem because well… I am a man (A flower sniffing Momma’s boy-man, but a man none the less). Neither should the second because well…Facebook.
(I was originally going to write a post about how I do cross-fit, it was to be titled “A Cross Fit for Christ”. Once I got over feeling o-so clever because of that title, I realized I really do not cross-fit enough to write about it and that my intentions behind the whole thing were just to let you all know I am not a “wimp”… I very well may be one.)
It is easy and redundant to report that our culture has a problem with false identity and over-emphasized self-image. Fr. Mike did well to respond to this problem last Sunday by stating, “The TRUE image of you, your TRUE image, is that you are made in God’s image. That means that you belong to Him.” That is what it is all about, right? Having a good image so that you can find belonging. It is necessary to always find our image and belonging in God alone, however this is not an easy thing given our current circumstance. A circumstance that can be explained by simply logging onto Facebook.
One day, while I was at missionary-training in Ave Maria, Florida there was this beautiful double-rainbow that formed over the chapel. Imagine the scene. What is the natural reaction when one witnesses such a sight? I mean… it’s a full DOUBLE rainbow… all the way! I couldn’t get my hand on my phone fast enough so to join my comrades in conquering the moment.
(By conquering, I mean we took so many pictures and posted it on Facebook so many times that there is no doubt that moment happened.)
Once satisfied, we missionaries went back to our days, and as we were walking away, a fellow missionary posed to me a very daunting question:
“If a double-rainbow forms in the sky and no one tweets about it, is that double-rainbow still a sight to behold?”
Here’s the deal; sometimes the post are just not enough. The pictures are too filtered and the words are too small for the greatest tales of life. There is danger that we are dulling our lives. Our lives are not meant to be dull.
Say the most amazing moment of your life gets posted on Facebook and no one “likes” it. Is it any less of a moment? I sure hope not, if so I totally ruined my friend’s birthday. That darn “timeline” has dulled my memory. Is it not better to wish someone happy birthday because you know it to be, as opposed to Facebook knowing it to be? The solution to all this is seeking authentic relationships, and an authentic relationship with God leads to authentic relationship with others.
Now, I believe Facebook, or any social media for that matter, is really not that bad. We are social beings, made for relationship, and anything that assist in those relationships is a good thing. The profile is essentially a billboard that we create for our lives. It is good to have an image of ourselves to represent. We are skilled in the billboard creating department. What image do you want to represent?
As I give my two particular problems to the Lord, He shows the answer by revealing the truth that lies in the circumstance. Social media reveals the truth that humans can do two things really well; create images and be images. We are created in the image of God to be representations of the image of Christ. We have a great new capacity to create the true representation of our lives in Christ.
I have been attempting to better my representation through what is called a “Consciousness Examen”. The first step in this form of Ignation prayer is to create your image of Christ. When I close my eyes in prayer I picture myself shaking a Man’s hand that is rugged and strong like that of my father’s and as I go from looking at His hands I meet eyes that are tender and loving like that of my mother’s. We gaze at each other and He speaks to my heart. The Lord gifted me with an imagination to create an image of Him so He could show me the image I need to be.
This “Consciousness Examen” has been a means of consolation for me in prayer as of late. Here is how it works:
- Become aware of God’s presence. Use your image of Jesus. He is with us always! (Mt. 28:20)
- Review the day with gratitude. Look at every detail.
- Pay attention to your emotions. Whether good or bad God speaks to us in our emotions.
- Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Perhaps give thanksgiving or seek forgiveness.
- Look toward tomorrow. Do so with complete hope and trust in the Lord.
When we exam our lives we recognize our being (our consciousness). Our lives become consistent with Jesus when we recognize He has been with us, is with us, and will continue to be with us. We do not need Facebook to tell us our image, nor do we need Facebook to be our memory, nor do we need Facebook to enjoy a double rainbow. In this examination the Lord reveals himself in thoughts, feelings, emotions, events, and largely through our relationships with other; through their presence to us and through our memories of them. (My friends are growing beyond simply being FBO)
“When we encounter another person, we encounter the Lord.” – St. John Paul II
Fifteen minutes away from Facebook to examen our lives as children of God could be a game-changer. For we are created as a gift out of nothing and adorned with gifts yet unseen. We may never know where or how the Lord wants to speak to us. Enter into that “classroom of silence” (Matthew Kelly), the Lord has much to show you, He has much to teach you. He will transform your thoughts, which will transform your actions, which will transform your profile.
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” – Romans 8:14