Christianity, by definition, embodies the glorification of Christ. Social media has for its purpose mostly self-glorification, and therefore can be viewed by the most staunch of Christians as Satan's tool since it detracts from Godly matters and focuses on personal matters. Such issues as bad hair days, cherubic infants and relationship statuses (good, bad or ugly) are at the top of the list of social media priorities. Not Christ.
As a new Christian, one who discovered Facebook long before discovering Jesus, my addiction is so gripping that waking up at 2 a.m. with insomnia (no doubt brought on by what my next status update will be), actually has me battling the urge to log into my account to see what 200 of my closest friends are doing during the wee hours of the morning.
Although I've slowly weaned myself off of social media by deactivating my Twitter, Instagram and Google+ accounts, declaring that these interfered with my Christian walk, I did not do so with Facebook, justifying the creeping of my friends' profiles as a good thing, since it shows my interest in them and their lives.
However, adding insult to injury to my Creator, for fear of upsetting those on my friend list who aren't Christians, I avoid writing, liking or sharing any cartoons, updates or Memes related to Christ. This purposeful neglect not only takes me far off the walkway, but it has me digging in the dirt, searching for redemption. When I made the decision to deactivate my Twitter account (and reactivated it within 30 days justifying my actions by promising that I would use this forum as a way to promote my writing, which I again promised myself would be for good; not posts exalting my long-standing adoration of boots and handbags), I made the conscious decision to include the word "Christian" in my profile bio, thereby forcing me to maintain my integrity and values. To my horror, within 24 hours of adding this word to an otherwise harmless description of who I am, more than 20 tweeps "unfollowed" me.
After reading a book by Kyle Idleman called "Not a Fan," the realization that the difference between being a fan of Jesus and being one of his followers slapped me in the face with shame, and the recognition that my reluctance to embrace my new faith, fearing ridicule and preferring instead the accolades of strangers rather than salvation, has in fact pushed me further in my commitment to Christ.
Refusing to buckle under the pressure of public propriety, acknowledging instead that social media and its place in today's society can be used to promote the word of God, as long as the Truth, the Way and the Light are not muddied by a desire for self-promotion, this very post requires courage and the realization that toes will be stepped on -- probably mostly mine.
It is a sad realization however that today's Christian is fearful of proclaiming his/her love for a God who gave His only son for our salvation. The persecution of Christians runs deep. My favorite show, "Grey's Anatomy," depicts this very stance with one of the characters, April, who remained a virgin up until last season, repeatedly mentioning Jesus as her reason for her chastity. Mock her if you will, but her desire to follow Christ rather than succumb to the sexual advances of pretty much all of the male characters on the show, was a storyline rarely seen during Prime Time; shows depicting demons sucking each other's blood no doubt garnishes higher ratings.
Although a small step in the right direction for the writers to have even included a Christian character in their storyline, this was quickly bumbled last season when April lost her virginity to Hottie McHottie Pants. Rather than allow April to go "Oops!" ask for forgiveness and continue to pursue her Christian values, the writers have her running around the hospital with her panties around her ankles. Clearly, if the writers were actually interested in respecting Christian values for this particular character, her descent into sin would have been written more tactfully; and more to the point, it would have taken into account the Christian viewers who were supportive of April's love of Christ, but also her humanity, rather than portray her as the hospital's newest nympho. I wish I could say that Shonda Rhimes finally figured it out, but during a scene in the OR when Miranda Bailey and April were performing surgery on a lady who had vajazzled her vjayjay, Bailey, in reply to an embarrassed April, staties, "Oh right, Jesus isn't a fan of the vajazzle." Funny, yes, but unnecessary and insulting if you are a Christian vajazzler.
As a new Christian I have a lot to learn. Integrating my faith into daily life, of which social media is still a part of, I was pleased to see my daughter putting up a picture on Instagram, the caption stating, "Jesus is my faith, not my religion." Proudly, she then announced, "It's already got 22 likes." Although I may not have yet crossed the chasm from fan to follower, if I want those around me to respect my newfound faith, I need to take a page from my daughter's book, and not hide my Bible under a People magazine when I'm in the lunch room at work.