As the new trend of super-imposing your views all over you profile pic takes hold – and those using the rainbow flag gradually become aware they have been duped into becoming part of a worldwide Facebook science project, one word has stood out for me in particular: Unfriend.
Everyone is unfriending each other. This is pretty interesting stuff.
Rainbows are unfriending Vaticans because they are vicious hateful bigots. Vaticans are unfriending Rainbows because they are in league with the devil (obviously). Plain profile pic-ers are unfriending both because they just want a quiet virtual life.
The thing about our virtual lives is that we can play God. I can literally stop you from existing in my virtual world at the click of a button. “Nah-nah-na-nah-nah! You-don’t-exist!”.
Well, maybe not stupid, but selfish – yes. It depends what you want to use social media for. If you want to create a private alternate universe where everyone agrees with everything you say then great! but if you want – for instance – to use it as Pope Benedict told us to – as a tool for evangelisation, then not so great.
Rainbow – “Why the hell (I don’t believe in hell by the way) can’t you understand that marriage is about LOVE. If two people feel that way about each other then they should be allowed to get married. Love is the strongest and most powerful feeling on the planet. #lovewins.”
Vatican – “Why the hell (i DO believe in hell) can’t you understand that a man and a woman’s body are meant for pro-creation and that marriage is a sacrament that real love is a choice not a feeling. Oh and by the way Christians do believe that #lovewins. We call it the Resurrection.”
Rainbow – “Can’t you see how bigoted you are being by trying to force your views on me? Your church is full of bullying haters who hate me and my gay friends and i’m not going to tolerate your stupid God crap. Instead i’m going to block you because i can’t stand to listen to your medieval rubbish any more. People like you need to be eradicated from society. #Tolerance #Diversity #RespectForAll.”
Vatican – “Can’t you see how bigoted you are being?! You are basically telling me that if i don’t comply with your new world order you are going to take my kids away! How dare you try to force your views on me and my children. People like you hate me and my Christian friends and i’m not going to tolerate your ‘groupthink’ liberal progressive atheist bullying. Instead i’m going to block you because i don’t want your filthy sexual perversion views tainting my clean and holy Facebook wall. People like you are going to Hell. You are not welcome. I’ll pray for you. #LordHelpMeTeachTransgressorsYourWays #LoveOneAnotherAsIHaveLovedYou #Forgiveness.”
Hyporcrites! Both of them!
The jewel in the crown of all this tho, is the Catholic Rainbows. The ones who openly profess to believe in a God and a church that they strongly disagree with. Hmmm… Yes. This is difficult. The vast majority of these guys that I have spoken to over the last few days simply do not know what the church teaches regarding marriage or the fact that the church completely condemns the discrimination of people experiencing same-sex attraction. They too believe that the church “hates gays” and that marriage is based on “love” and that love = feelings. Heck – most of the Catholics i’ve spoken to don’t even know what a sacrament is. Almost all of them are under the impression that the Pope agrees with Homosexuality because of the misinterpreted “Who am I to Judge?” comment. All of them agree with the use of artificial contraception.
This is seriously, seriously embarrassing for the church. The blatant ignorance of the people within the church regarding these issues is something that needs to be addressed – by the Bishops first and foremost, but also by the priests who should be prioritising this message and also by the faithful members of the church who’s job it is to evangelise.
Pope Paul VI tells us in Evangelii Nuntiandi in 1975 that the church “exists in order to evangelize”. This statement was repeated By Pope Benedict XVI at the Thirteenth Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation in 2012 where he highlighted the fact that “The union of a man and a woman, their becoming “one flesh” in charity, in fruitful and indissoluble love, is a sign that speaks of God with a force and an eloquence which in our days has become greater because unfortunately, for various reasons, marriage, in precisely the oldest regions evangelized, is going through a profound crisis”.
He pointed to a link between the current crisis of faith and this crisis in marriage, because marriage is based on the grace of God that man of today no longer recognizes. To overcome this crisis, any crisis, we need to be newly reconciled with God.
In his homily, he said “in every time and place, evangelization always has as its starting and finishing points Jesus Christ, the Son of God (cf. Mk 1:1); and the Crucifix is the supremely distinctive sign of him who announces the Gospel: a sign of love and peace, a call to conversion and reconciliation”.
This call, he continued, should take into account “those who do not yet know Jesus Christ and his message of salvation, and those who, though baptized, have drifted away from the Church”.
In 2013 Pope Francis told us in Evangelii Gaudium that evangelisation must start with an emphasis on God’s saving love before proclaiming doctrines and follow the “way of beauty”. Patience and “respectful and compassionate listening” are also a key part of evangelisation, he added.
“The Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow on the basis of a recognition of the objective evil of their actions, but without making judgments about their responsibility and culpability… our personal experience of being accompanied and assisted, and of openness to those who accompany us, will teach us to be patient and compassionate with others, and to find the right way to gain their trust, their openness and their readiness to grow,” he wrote.
I guess the point is that we are all sinners. Jesus died for sinners, and it is our job to take the mercy we have experienced to the the people around us that we talk to everyday – even on Facebook. He invites us to turn away from Sin and come into a life-changing living relationship with Himself. This is the thing that is missing.
What we have to remember is that from the outside Christianity is totally bonkers. Why on earth would you listen to someone who tells you “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23. To invite a person experiencing same-sex attraction to accept their cross is something that simply cannot happen unless that person has found a greater love in Christ. This is the thing that is missing. This is why people cannot fathom what you are talking about. Christianity is a paradox. It’s all about Christ. It’s all about love, real love, agape love. And the incredibly challenging love we are called to is cross-shaped. It’s not easy – but it is worth it :) <3
How many people do you know who are in a life-changing living relationship with Christ? How many Catholics? What about you?
How are you supposed to bring Christ to others if you are blocking the people who need Him the most? Yours might be the only voice they hear who offers them the way out of where they currently are and into a new life in Him.
By all means defend marriage, but teach why we believe what we do. Speak the truth, proclaim the good news of the resurrection, of mercy and forgiveness, invite people to turn away from sin and come back to God, but choose your tone and words carefully. And perhaps consider friending all those people you just unfriended.
(I will be taking my own advice here ;) )