I have come to a conclusion, Facebook makes me feel old. Ever since they invented the ‘Timeline’ I have felt older. I see friends and family from years gone by and realize how much we have aged or how old their kids are. Just living life from day to day doesn’t remind me that I am aging so much but looking at my own personal history on Facebook brings that reality to light. I look at pictures of myself from years ago and think, ‘was it really that long ago?’ I’m not sure how I feel about the direction Facebook is going. It makes sense that it morphs into a greater type of ‘Face Book’ or ‘Year Book’ as time goes on; that’s kind of why it started. In tribute of this love/hate relationship we have with Facebook, I have created the following list.
Top Ten Ways Facebook Makes you Feel Old
10. You realize how much your hair has changed
9. You see a big life event and then realize how many years have passed since it happened
8. The bottom of your Timeline says ‘BC’
7. The oldest pictures of you are yellowed on the edges or black & white - Either way they were scanned, not uploaded
6. You remember when Facebook first started and there was no one you actually knew on it
5. Your friend’s status’ are about the chiropractor, back pain, hip pain and Icy Hot
4. Your status mentions the chiropractor, back pain or Icy Hot.
3. You are required to scroll down through countless pages to find your graduation date
2. You see a picture of yourself when you were younger and think, “Who is that?”
1. You don’t know what Facebook is and you have not joined because you don’t want to mess with "that new fangled technology."
I’m sure Pinterest and Twitter will also make us feel old before too long. I have decided that I will most definitely feel old when I am recounting Facebook and a whole new generation doesn’t even know what it is because it has become obsolete. Anyone remember Woolworth?
Facebook has influenced our vernacular more than any of us realize. Even the words ‘friend’ and ‘fan’ have taken on different positions in our understanding than they had a few years ago. At one time a friend was a person you physically knew, someone with whom you talked and shared your deepest secrets. Today a ‘friend’ may be someone you met online and really know nothing about. You may share a common interest our you just want to look popular so your ‘friended’ another person. Historically a fan has been someone who admires another person. They know much about the person in whom they admire but they don’t really know that person. Once again Facebook has somewhat redefined that word. If someone has too many friends, they create a page instead of a profile. People become ‘fans’ of that page. It’s really just a way of saying you have so many ‘friends’ that you can now only have ‘fans.’ It’s all confusing really. Now I am asking you the question: “Are you a friend or a fan of Jesus Christ?” With today’s definitions my question can seem quite fuzzy, but I am asking the question using the traditional definitions.
As crazy as it sounds, I feel the need provide a proper definition of these two terms.
(These are my definitions, not Webster’s)
Friend: A person with whom you share your life. This is a person with whom you feel comfortable sharing feelings, affection, secrets, joy, laughter and even pain. A friend is someone who will not only allow you to share your life, but they will share theirs with you as well.
Fan: Someone who enthusiastically admires another person. A fan will learn about the object of their admiration and sometimes follow that person. A fan does not typically know the person.
Anyone who knows me (is my friend) is fully aware that I am an advocate of studying about God. They know that I believe we need to understand why we believe what we believe and how science and history define who God is. I am fully aware that science and history point toward God and not away from Him despite what others might claim. That is a strong part of my spiritual DNA. Scriptural reference for doing so: 2 Timothy 2:15 AMP - Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.
I truly believe we need to study about God, but I think we too often spend our time knowing about Him at the expense of truly knowing Him. Gaining a large amount of head knowledge about God without truly taking time to know Him personally is the same as being His fan instead of His friend. I think the world is full of fans of Jesus Christ, but I often wonder how many friends He has. I also often wonder if I fit more into the fan category.
Here is the thing: If you are a fan, you get to learn about the person and dream about their lives without actually being expected to do the work required in a friendship. For all of us who has ever had a friend or been a friend to someone else, we realize it takes work. Sometimes that friend may need you to console them or even help them on a project. They may want to talk to you about things that make you feel uncomfortable or tell you stuff that is just out of your league. You’re friend may also lovingly challenge you to stop a destructive habit in your life. Friendship takes work and commitment while being a fan can be exciting. I’m not saying that fans are not committed; some fans will follow celebrities around the world and spend much time studying that celebrity. They do this, however, for personal motivation not to benefit the celebrity. It’s self focused because following the celebrity gives the fan a sense of joy and sometimes a rush of adrenaline.
I think we often like the rush we get from following Jesus. I think it’s what the disciples experienced throughout much of their time with Him. When Jesus was crucified, they ran. It was no longer fun to follow a man who was being executed for the things he said and did. I think that for the most part the disciples were not Jesus friends until after He rose from the dead. That was when they each made a commitment to follow Him unashamedly.
Being a fan of Jesus Christ is much more fun than being a friend. When we have a personal relationship with God (i.e. friendship) much is required on our parts. It takes work and commitment. God asks us to do and say things that make us feel uncomfortable. He shares things with us that we would rather not hear and challenges us to change and become better human beings. It’s hard work! I think many of us are more comfortable knowing about Jesus so we just follow Him from a distance, hoping He doesn’t ask anything difficult of us.
I consider myself a friend of Jesus but sometimes act more like a fan. I’m tired of being His fan because that is not what He wants and it is not the loving way to respond to the God who loved me so much that He gave of Himself to have a friendship with me. I am committing to do the work to become a better friend of Jesus Christ. What about you? Are you his friend or just his ‘biggest fan?’
James 2:23 (NIV) - And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
John 15:9-17 (NIV) [Words of Christ] “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
Eons ago teens would fake running away from home as a way of protesting a rule their parents had enforced. Billy would dial his parent’s telephone, which was located in the kitchen next to the refrigerator, and call Tommy. Billy and Tommy would then hatch out a devious plan where Billy would pack an overnight bag and secretly stay at Tommy’s house. Billy would then leave a note to his parents describing how awful they were and how he could no longer live under the same roof. Since Tommy lived across the street, Billy would be able to watch everything from Tommy’s window. The plan was foolproof except neither Billy nor Tommy assimilated the fact that Tommy’s parents would call Billy’s parents to ask why Billy was staying overnight at their house. The plan was quickly foiled and Billy and Tommy were grounded. I think this may have been on an episode of ‘Leave it to Beaver’ or ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ but I’m not sure.
The point is this was the way people threw fits when things didn’t go their way. Fake running away was a difficult task in those days because a person was required to develop a plan so as to not be forced to actually spend a night on the streets. Today, however, things have become much easier. There is no need to run away from home and stay at Billy’s house; there is actually no need to even write a letter. If someone gets offended or upset today, he just closes his Facebook account. He then logs in on a friend’s account and watches the frenzy as everyone attempts to find him. He relishes in the comments stating, “Where has Frank gone? Did he defriend me? Has he closed his account?” Just like Billy, Frank gets to watch all the action from a nearby window.*
This really seemed to work when we were all new to Facebook. People would close accounts or de-friend each other as a way of saying, ‘Gotcha.’ Today it’s not so bothersome. With increased numbers of ‘friends,’ many people don’t even notice when they have been de-friended or when someone closes his/her account. We go on about our business of posting about our day’s experiences while fewer and fewer people actually read them. (This is a side note, but it seems to me that as our number of friends increase, the number of people who read/comment on our posts decreases.) Also, everyone has become aware of the trend and feel like you are just trying to get attention by closing your account. This means they may pay less attention to your posts when you reopen it two days later.
Heed my word of advice ‘friend,’ if you plan on fake running away, don’t close your Facebook account or start de-friending people. You may find out that no one notices and that may make a bad day even worse. Instead, do the more popular act of posting all your complaints on your status for the world to see. Make Facebook your voice!! (That was a bit of sarcasm – we really do get frustrated by reading constant complaints on posts – did I just complain about complaining?) You get the point. – Tim
*(By saying ‘window,’ I am presenting a metaphor for Windows – the computer software used on PC’s. I am stating that Frank is watching the action from his computer, not staring out an actual window at Facebook. If you really need this explanation, go back to school.)