Well Facebook, my dear, it’s been an adventure. We have been together for a long time. There comes a point in every relationship when you come to the realization of whether or not it is an actual healthy relationship. Sometimes you stay in relationships longer than you should. I have been hanging on to you for far too long. I’ve known deep within in my spirit that I needed to separate myself from you but I didn’t want to. Even though I knew that for some time our relationship had been toxic, I wanted to hang on because I hoped for the best. I hoped for better times ahead.
But my hope is all but gone.
Sometimes the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel is only reachable if I let you go. So, I must say Adios.
Just to be clear from the drop, the posts and comments I’ve seen of late are the main reason I’m walking away – the racist words; the words that belittle the cries of the oppressed; the words that make the LGBTQ community out to be a lesser people because of who they love; the words from online media personalities that push racism and have little to do with the truth and more to do with getting clicks; the posts that divide people rather than bring them together. And finally, yes, our break-up is due largely to the shit white Christians say about people they don’t agree with. We have lost grace and love in order to be heard as “correct”.
I know and I agree, there is so much that has been positive. I’ve seen videos, read articles and blog posts, listened to podcasts, and had terrific discussions that brought me great joy. There was so much to be thankful for. The feed I once saw was filled with joy, filled with hope and supported with empowering words. Your feed was a large part of my transformation into the person I am now. Sounds a little crazy to admit but it’s true.
Things are different now.
Now, it seems like, the majority of what comes out of your mouth is negative. It demeans people. It causes great divide.
I know, I know, it’s not just you. I’m certain I’ve contributed to the mess of negativity at times.
I’m still learning that the things I write to you and to our friends can be taken in a way other than what it was intended. Sometimes it comes across as harsh. And to be perfectly honest I have come to the point in which I don’t know how else to speak because I feel like people don’t want to hear the transparency of the truth.
You know me. The bulk of my days are spent with a low stress level thanks to my mellow nature. Not too much gets under my skin. However, lately, the posts I have seen from friends and family and what gets “likes” has caused me great heartache. There have even been comments that were incredibly hurtful to me and people I’m dearly close to “liked” the comment that tore me down personally. What the hell?
You are the facilitator of the rubbish that gets spewed into the world sometimes. This rubbish that divides people. The statements that are written from places of apathy, denial and deflection about current issues of people who are marginalized and oppressed.
Losing my faith 6 years ago caused a tidal wave of introspection. Sometimes I don’t remember that people aren’t in the same place I am which is good because my faith walk is a constant battle. Before my loss of belief in a Divine being, introspection only happened when I felt like I needed to change to be a better Christian. My introspection was driven from a place of guilt. Often I forget that we can fool ourselves into false introspection that masquerades as genuine concern. It took years of me being cynical and angry to move into being ready to deconstruct the faith I was given, the faith of my parents and their parents. Only recently have I begun to reconstruct. Leaving, falling, climbing back up all added together to help me understand that my beliefs before losing my faith, weren’t actually mine, they were an accumulation of my culture, my childhood, my family and all that soaked into my brain.
Being brave enough to look within and see the darkness and name it for what it was, was the only way I have been able to change. Seeing the darkness within revealed what I needed to change. But change only comes if you marry the inspiration to change with an action.
My beliefs don’t matter if they don’t guide me and cause me to act. I can truly believe that racism is terrible and doesn’t look anything like what I believe the scriptures teach, BUT if I never speak up on behalf of the oppressed, the marginalized, then that belief is nothing but a thought.
Or, and this is an example of our relationship… if you tell me you love Jesus but all of the words and links and posts you put out into the world cause more divide and look less like Love and Grace and more like segregation, telling people they don’t have the right to feel oppressed or raise awareness for oppression, tells me that your love for Jesus and the Gospel message is trumped by your fear that the cries of the oppressed have validity.
The courage to admit when you are wrong is when growth actually occurs. I’ve been wrong plenty in my life. I’ve done and said terrible things to people I loved as well as people I never cared about. I’ve been selfish. I’ve abused friendships and taken advantage of the generous. I’ve been an asshole. From time to time I’m still some of these things, if not all of them.
But, I would like to think that I’ve changed. I’m striving to be generous rather than selfish. I try to speak words of affirmation and empowerment instead of destruction. I’m learning to listen more and talk less. I hope to be a man who people look to for thoughts and wisdom rather than avoid. I pray to be a man of grace and humility. I pray all of this is authentic and not a product of my cultural faith system. I pray that I continue to grow and change.
For me, I had to lose God to find Faith. I had to come to terms with my own peccancy so that I may see light even in the darkest places. Coming to terms with the dark parts of my soul helped me realize what truly mattered.
I began to see people who were and are still torn down by men and women of religion. I saw people that I know personally dealing with issues of homosexuality and watched them be intentionally pushed away and hurt by “Christians”. What drives me insane FaceBook, is that it is not the atheist seeking to destroy the spirits of the broken, it’s the so called Christians who post Bible verses one day and anti-gay rhetoric the next. Or they demean the cries of the Black Lives Matters movement by posting stories of white cops because white cops understand racism. You know… I’ve tried to be vocal in an attempt to help people understand that the otherside actually has a point; they have a case to stand on. But apparently it’s easier to call men like Colin Kaepernick a disrespectful punk than it is to look at what he is trying to bring to the light. It’s funny how we white folks don’t want our darkness brought into the light to be exposed because we’re past all of that racist stuff in America. It’s not as bad as what black people say – let’s keep it in the closet.
The fact that we don’t even want to hear the arguments from men and women of color shows me that we probably know something isn’t right but admitting that some people are still racist is ridiculously hard when you’ve convinced yourself that you aren’t.
After years of witnessing these cruelties, I said this to my wife on a date night (talk about bringing something heavy to the table), “I can’t be quiet anymore. I don’t think what people are saying is right. I don’t think the way they are treating these people looks anything like Jesus. Not only are the people who are supposed to be walking with the oppressed, not doing such a thing, they are doing the exact opposite, calling it ‘love’ because it’s done from the ‘truth of scripture’. I can’t stay quiet anymore. If I see or hear someone posting something that dejects those suffering, I have to say something. Staying silent to me means I’m supporting hatred. Babe, this was me. I was this person. I once thought like this because this is the same system I was brought up in but knowing what I know now, I can’t remain silent.”
I tried this and it consistently backfired. I’ve tried to speak up about issues like systemic racism but there is always a defense waiting to be built. I’ve attempted to speak in a way that is not confrontational. I’ve provided statistics and studies, written from a factual point of view as well as an editorial style. My thoughts seem to be respected and supported by men and women of color but most of my white friends offer their oppositional opinion or they remain silent. Why remain silent? Oh yeah – fear. I kind of expected this reaction/non-reaction but it’s the way things are almost vehemently supported to keep white people comfortable with the current system that has broken my determination.
My dear, I’m at a point in life in which the health of my spirit is something that I must take seriously. I’m not as resilient as I once was. I suppose you can say the world has broken me. I can’t take being broken over the apathy and destructive nature of others any longer. I would rather focus my energy on working with men and women who want to change the world through love because I don’t have time to argue with people who can’t stomach the idea that the oppressed and marginalized people of the world actually have a reason to desire change and speak out for it.
I’m not sure if it’s a cultural issue or the ego or what, but our many of our friends would rather hold to beliefs that keep them comfortable than consider an alternative. This, in my opinion, is a lack of humility.
It takes humility to admit you are wrong. It takes humility to stand with those that don’t look like you or believe like you. It takes great humility to change. I want to be humbled and speak for change, which is absurdly tricky because when a person speaks out about something that needs to change, people will automatically assume they are being arrogant and condescending. So, I pray I do this in the future with love. I plan on attempting to share stories of pain to open the eyes of the blind instead of trying to convince them that they may be wrong.
With all of our good times and bad, I’ve realized that it’s time to leave. I hope to see you again down the road but for now I wish you the best.
To my Facebook friends, if you have made it this far, may I offer a thought?
Whatever it is you decide to post on your wall, ask yourself if what you are about to post makes the world a better place or if it just urges people to think and believe like you do?
I pray we are courageous enough to look within and see where we need to change.
I pray we are humbled and motivated to change the world for the betterment others, not for ourselves.
I pray for you, Facebook, that you would begin to shift from the negativity of life to the positivity.
I pray you would use your voice to empower people.
I pray for good times ahead.
I will miss you but I’ll be spending more time with my other social friends who seem to fill me with joy and I might just have more time to be present with my family now.