The advent of social networking, on the heels of the Internet, has created a situation in which comment and reaction come almost immediately. Events and statements and actions are the fodder for an immediate response by those involved and the spectators as well. This is not always a good thing...
As a parent, you learn you cannot fight every battle with your children. You must choose which to fight and which to ignore, which comments to react to and which to ignore. It is part of the learning curve of parenthood to figure these out. And if you have more than one child, you have more than one learning curve -- since our children are often very different.
In the age of email, twitter, Facebook, etc. we make instant comment on he words and actions of others. A quick press of the reply button and we can generate scorn, disdain, bitterness, anger, and even hate. All on cue -- and too often sent without a thoughtful review of what was said, how this will impact things, and some time to cool down. Who among us has not sent a reply to an email and in our haste to reply churned things up to the point where we wished we could take it all back.
There is another dimension in all of this. Our words are diluted by the frequency we use them. I have long subscribed to the email news list of the LCMS and the ELCA. A comparison of the two services is easy to make. The LCMS is long on pr and short on real news. When news does come through the email news list, it is old news. The ELCA is long on news or what I would call created news -- what others might also call pr. I hear from them all the comments made by the Presiding Bishop on world events, political moves in Washington, social change, and the travels and visits of delegations. This last category is so abundant that I almost never read it. Must a church body have an opinion on everything?
The church leaders we need are those who possess both wisdom and patience. They need to know like a parent when to draw the line and when to ignore, when to fight and when to walk away, when to speak as well as what to say, and the patience to resist the temptation for an immediate and equal reaction -- unless wisdom requires it.
Sin is impulsive and faith teaches self-control. We show forth our mortal natures worst in our impulsive behavior and words and we show forth our faith in our control of tongue and heart and mind. The world often mistakes impulsiveness for decisiveness and self-control for weakness -- just the opposite of how faith sees these.
This is one area in which I find myself wanting. I wish I had the wisdom and patience to act more carefully and to know with confidence whether to react or not, reply or not, speak or not. I learned this from my children more late than early and still I speak like a predictable parent when I should listen. But I am amazed when you encounter those individuals who possess this wisdom and have learned this patience. In the church, we need this wisdom and patience even more.
The wisdom of Kenny Rogers is not just a song... You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em...Know when to walk away and know when to run... that the secret to survive is
Knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep...