Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pope John Paul II vs. a grocery cart

As I have confessed before, I spend entirely too much time on my computer. I have gotten into the very bad habit of checking my e-mail every few hours and logging onto Facebook, and Twitter just to see what is going on with my friends, at least 5 times each day. I am usually disappointed to see there is nothing of significance awaiting me in the cyber world, yet I continue to visit it day after day, sometimes hour after hour. I have observed, in all my time of "social networking", that people tend to put a lot of time and energy into worldly concerns and almost no thought into their spiritual growth. Most days, I, unfortunately, am guilty of this as well.
It first came to my attention, when a friend posted a status update on her Facebook page about her grocery cart being "stolen" by another customer. She was shopping with her two young children and was hoping for the cart that was shaped like a rocket ship, with a seat that accommodated two. A woman with only one child, who was old enough to walk through the store on her own, had the cart, and did not, at any time, offer to give it up. Now, I am not saying that I would not have felt similar frustration if I were faced with the situation myself. I often let the smallest annoyances in life drive me absolutely crazy, dwelling on them for hours afterwards. However, what struck me wasn't so much the status update but the 15 comments left by others in response to this tiny little incident at the grocery store. It seemed everyone felt compelled to join in the conversation. In contrast, another friend of mine, in an effort to inspire others, had shared a spiritual quote from Pope John Paul II at around the same time as the grocery store posting. No one, not one person, commented on this posting.
It got me thinking. I started paying closer attention to the postings on my Facebook page, and to what most people seemed to respond too. I did a sort of unofficial experiment over a few weeks time. I watched which postings drew the most responses, and which ones were left unnoticed. As it turns out, the grocery cart incident was not an isolated example of everyone caring so passionately for the things of this world, and reacting so indifferently to the things of God. I have noted that worldly posts attract at least three times as much attention as anything of a spiritual nature.
We are all so quick to complain when we feel slighted in anyway in this world. We are all so quick to see the faults and selfishness of others. Yet, when God attempts to speak to us, to find a moment in our busy lives to remind us of His love and His presence, we are too focused on ourselves to even notice! How do we expect this world to improve if we are more concerned with our "right" to the grocery cart than we are with the state of our souls? I can't help but wonder if God gets discouraged that He cannot attract our attention when He is up against the loss of the rocket ship cart.
In addition, I see "social networking" as a form of sky rocketing narcissism. We are not building relationships online. We are not building the kingdom of God through status updates, yet so many of us spend more time playing on the computer than we do in prayer! As usual, I need to start with myself. The next time I feel compelled to open my Facebook page, just for a little peek- I think I will instead open the Good Book and see what is on God's mind!

1 comment:

  1. wise words and good food for thought! I have often said that we as "Christians" don't give God the same time, effort and passion that we give to our HOBBIES .... and that, is a sin ... literally :-( Thanks for this good reminder!



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