Sunday, March 18, 2012

Facebook & The Dangers of Social Pornography:

Matthew 7:6
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

I finally picked up Rob Bell's book, Sex God, last month when my husband and I were on vacation.  A few friends had recommended it and I decided to give it a read.

Funny thing is, out of all the things he said one of the smallest phrases caught my eye and has since then been transformational in my personal life.  I forget the exact quote, but he was talking about the dangers of sexuality taken out of proper context (particularly sexualization in media, pornography, etc.).

He explained in that chapter that when the sacredness of sexuality is exposed in such a meaningless loses it's sacredness.  He went on to talk about how some of the most intimate moments between he and his wife are meant to be shared only by them.  No third parties allowed.  Because in an essence, the exclusivity of those things are what makes them so sacred.

I love that idea, and I believe it wholeheartedly when it comes to the area of sex and sexuality within the context of a marriage.  But you know, it got me thinking about the reality of these concepts within the context of our social world. 

Before I explain, let me start off by saying I love social media.  I'm a huge fan of Facebook.  I love it's ability to connect me with friends and family.  I love that I can post pictures of my daughter for my in-laws who live in Chicago, and within moments they can see her smiling face.  I love connecting with others, planning events, and keeping track with what everyone else is doing when I don't always have the time for a 30 minute phonecall....with 10 people.

But I've also learned that there can be a huge danger in this kind of "connecting".  In an essence, there are times when the online world acts like a kind of social pornography.  It allows for us to "connect" with people for the sake of connecting rather than for the sake of living, gratifying an urge inside of us momentarily.  Not allowing us to experience true connection in it's most fulfilling context: real life. 
I find it almost humorous when I see status updates talking about "how much fun" someone is having in the moment, or "how incredible" this experience is with their family...because if it's really that great, why are you on Facebook?  There is a tendency to talk about the moment, more than savor the moment.  A tendency to take the sacred things in our lives, and throw them before them away to people who don't really care, rather than investing those moments in the people around us who actually, genuinely matter.   

It acts like social pornography, because it gives us a platform to share some really sacred things...some really intimate the context of a meaningless atmosphere.  And in the causes those things to lose their sacredness...

I know this might be a hard bite to chew, and an even harder one to swallow, but hear me on this.  I am speaking to myself just as much as I am to anyone reading.  In focusing so much on our "audience"...I think we've lost the real meaning behind the show.  You see, we can become so focused on the connecting, that we actually take away from the living.

I'm trying to work out these things in my life.  Rather than "status updating" about my sweet daughter every 15 minutes...I'm taking the time to enjoy her...even if no one else knows it but me.  Rather than post about my amazing husband, I'm taking the opportunities to tell him how much I love him...face to face...heart to heart.  Even if no one else hears it.

There is meaning in the sacredness...because these are things that are inherently meaningful. Audience or no audience. 

Don't give in to the false intimacy that comes with social pornography...and make time for the genuine intimacy that comes with the day to day real life.  Make time for the people around you.  Here and now.