Monday, October 22, 2012
Lessons from silence
Each day I read political posts on Facebook. Many state strong opinions. I have read several blog posts and Facebook status updates that say things that are factually errant, and I have read them from all over the political spectrum. It has often been my temptation to respond to strongly stated opinions with my own (which of course I believe completely without error). So far I have chosen, for the most part, to keep my mouth shut.
I have generally kept my mouth shut online and in person because I believe that as a pastor, I do not what to be beholden to any political party. Nor do I want to alienate or divide people in my congregation by making my political positions or voting habits an issue.
All in all, this silence has been a challenge. I have a tendency to want to challenge lazy thinking. I have a desire to want to correct people that are wrong. And, I have a tendency to think that if I state my thoughts and opinions well that I can actually change someone's opinion and perspective--even though it is probably not the case.
This silence has taught me several things. First, it has taught me that my corrections of other people's thinking on Facebook are at best a waste of time, and as worse harmful to my relationships with others. Second, it has taught me how useless contending for one's political and social opinions on Facebook and in other online forums really is. Finally, it has taught me that often times the energy I expend toward disagreement and agreement on some issues is fundamentally misplaced.
Having said all that, there are times when I feel frustrated that I feel constrained in what I can say, and others do not. In other words, there are times I feel a little jealous of others Facebook bullhorn in the face of my Facebook silence. By my decisions to speak or to be silent are my choice. And for now, I chose silence.