A time to speak and a time to shut up

A rambling about how to use facebook:

I’ve been thinking about my desire to use facebook as a platform to ‘preach’ my ideas.  I’ve posted a few articles on human rights, women’s issues, LGBT bullying  and politics. 

Most people use facebook as a way to let other people know what fun and silly things are happening in their lives.  Not to bombard them with social issues.

It just occurred to me that I don’t even know who my all facebook friends are.  I think they are mostly church people.  Too many of them really think that anything not blatantly pro-conservative is a personal attack.  That homosexuality is a sin worse than gossip, and maybe murder.  That women having autonomy is a slippery slope to death and destruction.  And many of them are decent, loving people who want to enjoy life. 

I don’t think any of them really want to hurt others so much as they want to be right – just like me.

So, what are my motives for wanting to bring LGBT issues up again? 
– to help make this world a safer place for everyone?  maybe.  I’d like to.
– to declare that I want to be allied with the LGBTI as an identity marker?
– to protest the damage done to me and others by illogical and ideological ideas?
– to be a shit-disturber?

I don’t know.   I think parts of all of them.  I kinda want to yell at certain people “Stop being so hateful and ignorant!”, but I doubt that will do anything but make me feel superior. 

This is the same dilemma I had while a Christian – how can I share anything with other people when I’m such a flawed human being? 

My motives will probably always be mixed.  

Good thing I’m not male.  If I could have preached (and not just ‘exhorted’), the temptation to hold that kind of power over an audience would be hard to give up.  And the temptation to use facebook that way is enticing.

But, those issues are what I care about.  I can have lots of friends if I only talk about the funny things my kids do, maybe facebook is the place for that and my real friends are for talking about other things with.  

Damn, I wish I was someone funny who wanted to make people laugh instead of an annoying know-it-all who wants to tell people what I learned today.

13 thoughts on “A time to speak and a time to shut up

  1. D'Ma says:

    “Damn, I wish I was someone funny who wanted to make people laugh instead of an annoying know-it-all who wants to tell people what I learned today.”

    I think a lot of us are equal parts of those two things. I’ve seen you share funny things your kids do on here and the things you learned today. I think it’s human nature when we feel “enlightened” to want to share our newfound knowledge. 🙂

  2. Becky says:

    You could check, and see if there is a PFLAG (Parents and friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter in your area, and get involved that way too.

  3. My frustration with FB has been my feeling that I could not express what I believe and be who I am. All my Mormon relatives/friends are constantly posting about what they believe and yet they all know I’m not a believer. I felt like I was oppressed, back in church almost. I know for a fact they were watching to see what I would post, they would never comment or even acknowledge anything I posted no matter how benign, yet they were gossiping about it amongst themselves. I am, after all, The Apostate. Oh, they always do the obligatory “Happy Birthday!” (even though I never talk to you!)

    A few months ago I finally deleted all of those people with a few exceptions and the feeling of frustration went away. I just decided it was time for me to define my relationships — even on FB. My approach may not work for you but I totally get your frustration.

  4. There are many of our friends on FB flogging bible verses every day, I’m sure they could give you space for counter intelligence. I’w waiting for someone to bitch about my political stuff on FB because that is my comeback – you annoy me with bible verses.

  5. Macha says:

    I felt the same way with my facebook. I made the decision to put all my “issue” posts on my blog fan page and use my personal page just for personal stuff. I know a lot of people who use their facebook to be activists, and I love them. I feel a little cowardly making the switch like that when I consider how all these people gave up relationships with people who didn’t like what they had to say on facebook on the issues they cared about, and I’m only posting to an audience who’s already interested. I still don’t know if I made the right choice.

  6. prairienymph says:

    I guess I want permission to be annoying/preachy etc. I want to provoke people.
    It does sound more respectful to speak only to an interested audience, or real friends. Maybe that is called maturity.

  7. Lorena says:

    The problem with wanting to preach “our” gospel is that the motive may be our desire to rescue the world. What’s wrong with that? That we will be disappointed, because all worthy causes are slow processes that require martyrs along the way. In other words, only do it if you want to become a martyr. Or like we say in Spanish, “He who wants to be a redeemer usually ends up crucified.”

    In my experience, a better way to change the world is to change ourselves. Having children is half the battle, because we can raise them to be socially conscious individuals who will change the world by just being. Being, I think, is better than doing.

    • prairienymph says:

      Right now, having children seems like a battle. I spent 1/2 hour getting my crying, wailing 4 year old to eat one of her favourite snacks. (Low blood sugar leads to melt-downs)

      I’m not sure how to ‘be’ without a ‘do’.

      So, maybe I should change my motivation. Instead of changing the world, I’ll just try and annoy people! Except that it won’t just be me that is affected, but my family. I wish someone had asked me to question my assumptions about the bible earlier, but not everyone is like me…

      • Lorena says:

        Well, you can ask people to question the Bible, sure. What I’m saying is that they won’t come over to hug you and thank you, not right away anyway. Maybe they will, 30 years down the road.

        All I’m saying is that we should (1) Curb our expectations, be realistic, and (2) be ready to accept the consequences of our actions.

        In other words, we need to remove the romanticism from it, because if we don’t we will be bitterly disappointed.

      • prairienymph says:

        This is good advice, you’ve all given me good things to think about.

        I think my real dilemma with this is that I don’t like that I like to push buttons. I sometimes enjoy conflict and that is considered rude in this culture. I’d like to be more mature or tactful, but my genetics or upbringing gave me something that wants to be contrarian.

  8. Quester says:

    I’ve never figured out how to separate being and doing, either. I tend to side with the phenomenologists, and can only be to the extent that I do.

    As for what I do, I finally created a Tumblr account to post all the provocative stuff that fills my head and gets me going, and don’t tell everyone about it. I tend to think long and hard before I post something on Facebook, trying to guess who will read it, and what they will read from it. My psychic abilities are non-existent, sadly, but I usually try. Should I? I don’t know. In some ways, my approach to making friends is to be myself as loudly as I can be, and spend time with those who can get along with me and avoid those who are repelled. On the other hand, my instinctual response to conflict is to avoid it and the stress that comes with it, which leads me to present myself differently to different people. So, part of who I am is a person who is not always who I am? Again, I don’t know. Valuing both compassion and integrity appears to make for odd balance points and occasional awkward pratfalls.

  9. Becky says:

    I think it’s best to try to be as authentic as possible. For me, someone’s spirit and attitude in sharing something is as important as what they are actually saying. It seems okay to me to agree to disagree.

    I could be friends with someone who thought very differently than me, if I know they could also accept me as a person, and love me where I’m at, even if there is strong disagreement.

    In some ways I think it’s a test of true friendship if someone is willing to hang in there in spite of sharp disagreement. Usually I can get a sense of how someone would be as a friend by how they treat, and respond to those they disagree with the most. If they’re mean-spirited, and exclusive, I know that I can almost bank on eventually a problem in my relationship with them as well.

    Eventually there’s also going to be some sharp difference of opinion even with those we care for the most.

    • prairienymph says:

      True, you can learn a lot about people from how they handle disagreements.
      Part of the problem with facebook is that you can’t really tell attitude from the text, but I guess that is no reason not to try.

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