For at least five generations, it has been taboo to talk about religion, politics and money with just anyone. Sure, it was okay to talk about these things in the privacy of the home but never on street corners, public events, and general dinner parties. That was then - what about now? Is it any different?
Social media has connected people to people in amazing ways. But do these connections really allow for a discussion about things that matter - like faith, religion, politics and money? Does the new social medias help connect people to people by changing hearts, and minds? Does it allow a more civil discourse? Does it move the goal post to caring for others as we should? Do we take time to really think about what someone has posted? Even if it offends us? Do we try and understand where they are coming from? Or do we delete them as a friend instead? Block their postings? Block them out of sight and mind?
Several weeks ago, I posted a fact. The fact came from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics. It was that upwards of 85% of new jobs created in 2013 were part time ones. The type of jobs that don't help families with children to get ahead. The type of jobs whereby employers do not have to provide health care benefits. The type of jobs that really do not create economic recovery. An innocuous posting - or so I thought. Apparently, the posting violated the social rule to stick to postings about my children, their successes and mine; and how to grow green grass, etc.I say that with certainty because within a few days the comment received from a friend blistered my sensibilities. His comments were personal attacks against me, my beliefs, and my character. I re-posted the facts, this time with a graph and suggested the person get his facts straight - thinking the graph would help. What followed was a full scale attack using language that was verbally abusive, confrontational, foul, and hurtful. and almost threatening.
I had to consider why! Just because I had posted a factual statement about money and the economy? Or because I had posted something that referred to one of the three taboo topics: money, politics and even religion. It is also possible, the friend didn't like my personal recommendation to get the facts straight...
Either way, it makes me wonder if any of us really stop and consider what someone is trying to say! Really? Do any of us think about online postings? Do most of us even bother to comment on each others postings? Are we simply marching down the path of the Culture of Indifference in what seems to be a more sophisticated way - as suggested by Pope Francis. The place where we refuse to discuss things that really matter? After all, now all we have to do is block comments and people and postings that we don't like. Even though we may have thousands of friends, do they really know what we believe? Or are we even more silent than the silent majority of the 60's and 70's?
On another note - but related - I highly recommend the book " Left to Tell" by Immaculee. Her story is amazing... and it prompted this blog. The people of Rawanda seemed to get along even though tell tale signs of turbulence ran just beneath the surface... In a very short time, a full scale war erupted pitting Catholics against Catholics, neighbor against neighbor, father against sons. One million people were massacred within a short period of time just because people failed to understand each other when it came to the things that really mattered: faith, money, and politics.
Pope Francis recently told his priests just do something to counteract the fact that 85% of young Catholics leave the faith when they reach adulthood. Even if the priests make mistakes, at least do something! That pertains to us as well - let's just do something! This begins with talking about things that really matter!
What do you think? Hmmmm. how many of my friends will even bother to read this whole article (yes, I admit - this piece probably does not have much literary value but its important to me) and then post what they think? Go ahead, say what you really think. It feels good.... even if it may not be safe and secure.