Fr. Mark Goldasich in the Kansas City newspaper, The Leaven, unloads:
Right before Thanksgiving, a friend of mine put something wise on Facebook. Afraid she was getting addicted to the social media site and yet weary of it at the same time, she wrote: “I’m not sure the human psyche was designed to handle all the sadness. A distant [high school] friend’s cousin lost a toddler the other day in an accident. Before FB, I would have never known because I don’t know the family who lost him. Now we know every lost job, every death in the family, every struggle. . . . The saying ‘comparison kills contentment’ rings true for me as well. My life starts to feel harder than it is when I scroll through FB. So . . . I just need to reprioritize. . . . I’m going to take a break from FB for a while . . . to reconnect with people face to face.” Smart girl. I’ve been feeling the same way myself. Lately, many posts have to do with endless political posturing, Elf on the Shelf (is it good or bad for kids?), gun control (do we need more or less?) and pleas to type “Amen” to various religious statements (or you really don’t love Jesus). It seems like the comments that folks are making to one another grow more and more strident and divisive. Is this how the season of Advent should be celebrated? Over and over again, the readings of this season call us to imagine a better and more peaceful world, where “the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain.” It’s a time of promise and hope, a time to “say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!” Sadly, much of Facebook seems to be giving me just the opposite: fear, despair, gloominess and nastiness. So, as the Italians say, “Basta!” Enough with all of the negativity! At least throughout the season of Advent and Christmas, can we Christians present to the online world a different message?
Indeed. Read on for some great suggestions.