Musings & Younger Perspectives
“I Share, Therefore I Am.”*
By The Rev. Shalom R. Agtarap | Illustration by Moses Garibay
“Did you see my post about _______? Why haven’t you liked it?”
I hear this question all the time. At church on Sundays, at campus on Wednesday nights, at meet-ups and fellowship events outside of both – folks want to know 1) if we have seen what others have posted and 2) if we responded to it. This reliance on social media – not just for what we can share, but also in how people respond to what we share – can warp our understanding of what it means to be.
For some of us, the platforms of Facebook and Twitter provide a “thrill…the neurochemical hit of constant connection.” I get it. Pictures of friends’ kids in their back-to-school outfits, Halloween costumes and other shenanigans sprinkled throughout my news feed are sources of great joy. As a Methodist who thrives on our connectionalism, I love being connected!
But I wonder if our connectedness has picked up some bad habits along the way? Introverts might like this because there are conversations to opt-in and out-of. On Facebook one can take as much time as needed to craft the “perfect” response. Communication can be edited, spell checked and even deleted. However, life can’t be controlled. With social media we see the need to be in constant communication but human connection demands more of us. We want to be in touch with folks more and more but with “perfect” communication.
Is that a good thing? What is our response to the Christ who got in the messiness of life – who comes again at Advent not in a palace, but in a dirty stable; imperfect yet holy?
Communication, in its earliest documented usage meant to impart or participate. In communicating with one another, are we imparting knowledge or something useful? Are we participating in the larger conversation Christ calls us – to care for the poor, advocate for those denied justice, and lead others to abundant life in Christ?
The Advent season is upon us – the season that is marked by waiting and anticipating for the coming of the Light. It’s the season brought on by God communicating to the world – sharing with all of humanity that there is hope.
So keep communicating – impart hope and participate in life-giving acts – and as you update, post, and comment may you know the nearness of the One who doesn’t wait for us to get it perfect to join in the conversation.
*I borrowed the phrase used by Dr. Sherry Turkle in an interview with Bill Moyers discussing her book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.
The Rev. Agtarap is the pastor of Ellensburg UMC and delights in her work with young adults at CWU Wesley, the church’s campus ministry to Central Washington University. You can follow her on Twitter, @justshalom or subscribe /shalomagtarap.