As I said in my previous article (Political correctness, tone policing and censorship! Oh my!), I recently joined an invitation-only Facebook page for church people. And felt like I’d entered the Twilight Zone.
From the “About This Group” description, it was clear the administrator had originally envisioned the group as an outreach and evangelism tool: “This is an approach to social media where everyone in the [denomination deleted] can meet, hang out, and share faith together,” it said by way of introduction. “Welcome to the conversation. Let’s make this a free church. May whatever confusion results be liberating, salutary, and evangelical.”
Though I suppose nothing should shock me in the current political climate, I have to admit I was more than a little taken aback as I encountered the flame wars on this site.
The screen shots below are a small sampling, but unfortunately there were many, many more equally outrageous posts I could have chosen to include here. They are taken from a “conversation” between several liberal and conservative church folks who apparently have been mauling each other for quite a while now:
Of course, not every post contained the F bomb. Some stuck to good old-fashioned ad hominem attacks. Take, for example, this discussion on why some people might be uncomfortable with the “sharing of the peace” ritual that is part of worship services at many churches:
And then there were the na-na-na-na-na playground insults.
I have to admit a few snarky remarks came to mind as I posted these. But in the end, this leaves me more sad than anything else. So I decided to let the images speak for themselves.
The church denomination and its Facebook page shall remain mercifully unnamed in this article, and the perpetrators’ names have been blocked as well, because the point here is not to shame a particular group of people. It’s to get those of us who call ourselves Christians to ask ourselves some serious questions.
Yes, I get that Christians come to church precisely because they aren’t perfect. That church is a hospital for sinners and all that.
But there has been a lot of talk in our congregations in recent years about the increasing numbers of young people who identify as “none” when asked their religion. If we were an unchurched young person and came across something like this, would we want to come to church?