Facebook Faux Pax

The desire to evangelize and to share what the Lord has done in my life is a noble mission. “You should write a book on family life.” “Would you be a blog contributor for my organization?” “I like the stories of your family life, it is important that you share them.” I have heard these remarks and others through the years. With the heavy demands of raising seven children, caring for aging parents, and so forth, I have not had the time to write a book or develop a blog to meet these requests until now.

Facebook had allowed me to convey some of the same information in a manageable time frame. I shared family stories with those who are interested and I keep abreast with events in my loved ones lives. However, I had to guard against the vices of pride, vanity and ego-casting. Though I do not need to share struggles and sorrows in great detail, I must temper the impression of an idyllic home life devoid of struggles. My posts need to reflect reality and not fantasy. My sharing can also be an occasion of inciting envy and jealousy in others.

Another positive value enabled by Facebook is one of friendship. I have grown children, family, and dear friends scattered throughout the world. Facebook has been a great medium for keeping various loved ones informed and connected. Pictures of family life and articles I find meaningful form the basis of conversation both online and in person. Friendships from graduate school have been rekindled because of Facebook.      However, there is the temptation to value the quantity of friends over the quality of friendships. Are they true friends, do I try to have physical contact whenever possible? Am I mindful that a bodily presence is always the preferred method of communion? Another temptation with relationships is the avoidance of difficult truths. Do I shrink from presenting the truth, however appealing and charitable in format, for fear of causing offense? This is vanity, wanting to be popular at the expense of truth; it is very seductive and does not foster authentic friendships. A spiritual director and a heavy dose of realistic humility are essential to avoid these challenges.

With my redesigned blog, I will shift to using Facebook for social niceties and minimal information sharing and blog for more possibly controversial topics. You can reach me at Fides et Ratio.