Sunday, September 16, 2018
Sunday Afternoon Tea - Seeking peace in the age of Instagram
Recently I tapped the Instagram app on the Amazon Fire and felt that knot in my stomach I had been getting lately when I saw a person I follow had posted another Story available to watch. Now, why would I follow someone who has this affect?
Well, she has a way with words that is beautiful and many of my "friends" also follow her. So, of course, I needed to view what she had to say throughout each week. Except... I don't. For she was robbing my much sought after peace.
Which is ironic for she writes a lot about being spiritual and seeking peace and being kind to people and caring about those whom the world undervalues and racial reconciliation and showing love to people... but there is a catch. She has more and more included snarky comments about those who do not agree with her politics and worldview. That would be people like me.
What I realized this week was that snarky is just as arrogant and uncaring when clothed in poetic prose as it is on a Twitter feed of a few characters. I don't even follow Twitter but I hear about it enough to know I do not belong there... not while seeking peace.
So why am I, in the one social media location I consider my Happy Place, following someone on purpose who maligns my beliefs and uses beautiful prose to fuel antagonism from others towards people like me? That question was one I asked myself as I decided to follow no more.
Now, I'm not saying that I follow only people who agree with me on everything. There are people that I know are completely different in their beliefs than I am. However, they do not use poetry and prose to jab away at people who have conservative values. Especially under the guise of being spiritual.
I love to listen to the teaching of Ravi Zacharias and I try to watch one of the showings of his teaching each week on TV. Sometimes they just have the title of his name and other stations may title them, "Let My People Think". Which is what they do... they make me think.
Recently he was in a Q & A session when he was asked about the morality of this age. His statement was that as bad as it is today, there were times when it was worse such as in Ancient Rome. However... and this was a big however... technology puts it in an entirely different perspective today.
There were a few reasons for this and I can only remember a couple that resonated with me at the time. First, people can now have access to sin and evil in the palm of their hands all day every day. Up until very recently, if someone wanted to look at certain photos or view certain acts, they had to get up and go somewhere. Now it can be in front of their eyes immediately.
The second point he made was that at no time in history were people connected immediately as they are today. Where as people had to get together in person to talk, they now have access to not a few but thousands of people at any one time in the palm of their hand. Which intensifies the ability to see, hear, cause, and do evil.
Even when not using technology to do evil, it can certainly remove our peace. Most often, we let it do so by our own choices. It can not only take us towards thoughts we would have steered clear of before, technology can also distract us from that which is good... that which brings peace.
Ravi Zacharias stated that he had been asked to speak to the people at a Google conference. He told the story about hearing a statement that while we have plenty of smart phones around, we have no wise phones. He doubted the people at Google appreciated the statement, however true it is.
I view the technology which made social media available as a very good thing. It enables me to keep in touch with family a thousand miles away. It has provided blessed friendships with people I have never met. I can watch a movie on a screen being held in my hands and download a book I want to read in a matter of seconds.
That was the stuff of Science Fiction not all that long ago.
Technology can do a lot but we must always remember that the choices remain ours. If there is something in that technology that is robbing us of peace, then it is time to step back and reflect what that something is... as we remember no one is forcing us to read, follow, "like", look at, or listen to what that technology enables us to do 24/7.
I first learned this lesson during the past election in the States. It certainly opened my eyes to how some people I have "known" online for years really felt about conservatives in general and Bible believing Christians specifically. I can't tell you how many people I un-followed, un-liked, and even took off the blog list on the sidebar due to mean spirited and inappropriate words.
But I got lackadaisical again. I read and watched in a trance-like state as I looked and clicked and swiped left for more... and wondered why I had lost my peace. This past week, I awoke from the trance. I saw how ridiculous it was to bring people into my home via social media... on purpose!... who maligned deeply held beliefs. No matter how pretty they wrote.
I wonder if God sighs? If so, He must have as His thoughts toward me had something to do with "she finally gets it".
Image: From Facebook so I don't know whom to credit for the photo... for whom?... who?... I need an English Teacher app.