Thinning The Herd In Our Social Endeavors


#1

I wanted to start this thread because I recently drew a line in the sand on my facebook page, and I wonder if others here have done the same. Sadly, I spent many of my younger years finding my joys in drugs and alcohol, and things even far worse. Many people who used to be part of my past are still friends with me on facebook, even though I don’t literally hang out with any of them anymore. Not to long ago, it came to my attention why many of these people are part of my past, and thats exactly where I need to keep them. One so called friend of mine was recently making fun out of Catholics and the so called “strange rituals” that they practice during Lent. Another so called friend of mine had a picture of Pope John Paul II posted as his profile picture with words that were mocking him.

A line was publicly drawn in the sand today, and within 24 hours I will be thinning the herd on my facebook page. The last straw for me was when another of my so called friends posted a music video on his facebook page called “What If God Smoked Pot?”

I seek the kingdom of God now and I yearn for a detachment from worldly things. I’m not claiming to be a saint, but I’m also not going to go on facebook and pretend to be something I’m not anymore. The old me is slowly dieing within me, and I can only thank God for that. I have to admit that the friends I feel closest to now are total strangers whom Iv’e never met, but are like minded Catholics and my brothers & sisters in Christ. I have made friends on facebook with people here, as well as many friends from another Catholic website called 4Marks which recently closed, and these are the people that I feel closest to.

I don’t feel that there is a good way to balance this. I also don’t think by just blocking them, I’m doing any good. I need to stand up for what I believe in and let people know that if they act this way I have no use for them.

I will still pray for these people, but I feel that I need to leave them behind me and move forward. How do you all deal with this sort of thing?

PS: I will leave you all with a couple of quotes from some saints who have inspired me to start this thread and inspired me to do what I’m doing.

When I say “the world” I mean the corrupt and disordered life led in the world, the damnable spirit that reigns over the world, the perverse sentiments and inclinations which men of the world follow, and the pernicious laws and maxims by which they govern their behavior. Christ looks upon the world as the object of His hatred and His curse, and as something he plans and desires to burn in the day of His wrath.

Jean Eudes

Have no intercourse with the people in the world. Little by little you will get a taste for their habits, get so drawn into conversation with them that you will no longer be able out of politeness to refrain from applauding their discourse, however pernicious it may be, and it will lead you away into unfaithfulness.

Jean Baptiste De La Salle


#2

Surely those friends are the exact ones you need to reach out to? Aren't they the ones who most need your example?


#3

I cleaned FB house about a year ago after sil made some comments in a passive aggressive way. I didn't want t o make it seem like I was just deleting her so I proceeded to delete every FB friend that hadn't posted in at least a month. My list went from 250 +/- to 80. I still have some FB friends who went to Catholic school with me and are only Catholic when it is convenient (like when they want a social justice quote from a priest or saint). But I remember that it's been said to use things like FB to evangelize, so I don't delete them but ask questions, point out some hypocracy, correct errors and debate (though for lent I've been avoiding that). If they cause you to sin in thought or action, it's better to unfriend them (like I did with sil - we get along much better now), if not, evangelize


#4

Facebook!!! Ugh!

I don’t understand it and I don’t know how to control the things that are now coming to me by my “friends”. They are posting things on my wall. These things are crass conversations and comments that I don’t want to know about. One friend is sending me my horoscope.(I don’t want that stuff on my wall!) Another sent a smutty joke. These people are people in my past as well. I am very sad to know that this is what has become of my Catholic school buddies and old neighbors.
The other communication I get is from my younger relatives. It is crude and rude to say the least. They feel free to use bad language using symbols like @** and tell dirty stories.

Plus I really don’t want everyone knowing my business, so I have little or nothing to say myself.

I really would like to communcate (it could be great evangalization tool) with these people but not like this.


#5

[quote="FightingFat, post:2, topic:232890"]
Surely those friends are the exact ones you need to reach out to? Aren't they the ones who most need your example?

[/quote]

Yeah, I thought that way for a long time, but my opinion on that has changed. God loves me even though I can be a sinful idiot, but He doesn't love the sins that are killing me. I think if you look through Sacred Scripture, you can see many times where Jesus rebuked people and moved on. It doesn't mean that He loved them any less, it just seemed that with their lack of humility, they were like stubborn children that needed to be left alone. Iv'e publicly drawn a line in the sand on my facebook page and let everyone know whats bothering me, and I also gave notice without mentioning any names, that if they didn't see me any more, they now know why. I'm not stating that I am any better than any of these people, it's just things that Iv'e decided I'm not going to tolerate anymore. I feel that I'm either with God or against Him, and I don't think there is a place in God's heart for a fence sitter. By tolerating things like this, I don't feel like I'm helping anyone.


#6

I’m glad to know that I’m not alone. :slight_smile:


#7

I think your first quote said it all “Facebook UGHH!!!” :slight_smile:


#8

Deleting 200+ friends from my facebook was one of the greatest things I ever did. I've also got plenty of Catholic related facebook apps so every time I'm on I see something inspiring -- much more inspiring than drunken pictures, idiotic marilyn monroe quotes (who really had an awful life philosophy), and meaningless conversation, which I used to see regularly.


#9

[quote="Fatima_Vision, post:5, topic:232890"]
Yeah, I thought that way for a long time, but my opinion on that has changed. God loves me even though I can be a sinful idiot, but He doesn't love the sins that are killing me. I think if you look through Sacred Scripture, you can see many times where Jesus rebuked people and moved on. It doesn't mean that He loved them any less, it just seemed that with their lack of humility, they were like stubborn children that needed to be left alone. Iv'e publicly drawn a line in the sand on my facebook page and let everyone know whats bothering me, and I also gave notice without mentioning any names, that if they didn't see me any more, they now know why. I'm not stating that I am any better than any of these people, it's just things that Iv'e decided I'm not going to tolerate anymore. I feel that I'm either with God or against Him, and I don't think there is a place in God's heart for a fence sitter. By tolerating things like this, I don't feel like I'm helping anyone.

[/quote]

Shake the dust off eh?

It's strange because I had a similar experience yesterday/ today. I generally use my FB page to post Catholic stuff on. Quite a few people in my local community have thanked me for this, explaining that through what I post they feel connected to Catholic issues and the wider Catholic world. I have a large number of non-Catholic friends and always feel happy in engaging them in conversation. However last night a "friend", not just an internet friend, but someone I actually know, and have known for a long while, decided to post something about the Baptist trail of blood on a link to Pope Benedict's recent comments on human suffering. I'd posted this (as well as a few other things) in order to help the faithful cope with the questions often provoked by disasters such as the Japanese earthquake.

Anyway, it really hurt my feelings, I couldn't see the point of what he'd posted, but he is a belligerent so and so when he wants to be. I asked him why he was doing it and he replied with expletives. I thought about engaging in a discussion with him. I could easily refute his points, but decided to sleep on it and say some prayers asking for guidance about what to do. In the end I just deleted his comments. It's amazing how distressed I got about it though. I certainly wouldn't attack a friends beliefs like that. If I disagreed, I would approach the debate politely and in the most erudite manner I could muster with my limited intelligence!


#10

LOL, I stand in awe of you folks. I have like, 12 friends… :smiley:


#11

I have an unpleasant past myself and dont use my maiden name on FB. Luckily all the people I am friends with are either childhood bestfriends or current friends who are for the most part wholesome. Some people like to get as many friends as possible but I am kinda choosy. Dont think you have done anything wrong. As far as setting an example I find some areas of my life need to be a safe haven where I surround myself with spiritually motivated people, and get the comradarie I need. In my expierience in some settings a large group of sick people will bring me down before I will bring then up.


#12

[quote="petitfleur, post:11, topic:232890"]
I have an unpleasant past myself and dont use my maiden name on FB. Luckily all the people I am friends with are either childhood bestfriends or current friends who are for the most part wholesome. Some people like to get as many friends as possible but I am kinda choosy. Dont think you have done anything wrong. As far as setting an example I find some areas of my life need to be a safe haven where I surround myself with spiritually motivated people, and get the comradarie I need. In my expierience in some settings a large group of sick people will bring me down before I will bring then up.

[/quote]

Well said.


#13

FV, I get ya. My situation is a bit different. I simply have a diverse group of friends. But I recently got "flamed" or whatever it was - see this thread for more info -

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=540051

and due to that I decided that since Lent was coming up I'd go silent on FB for the duration and then decide among several options. One might even be to delete my account.

But in your situation I'm thinking of one of the options I came up with and I'll just share it with you. I think that on FB people don't always behave as well as they would to your face. I'm thinking of lovingly confronting some of these people with a simple message. The points in this simple message would be:

  1. You're my friend. I love you (Christian agape love sense of the word).
  2. Our beliefs are different. (in your case, because you have changed lifestyles)
  3. We need to remember that if we do have a healthy friendship IRL, we should try to preserve that and not let FB tempt us to be "mouthy" and snarky with each other even when our beliefs do differ.
  4. If we can't "agree to disagree" even IRL, then maybe we just don't have that much in common and I wish you well, have a nice life, I'll pray for you, etc.
  5. If we remain friends IRL and on FB, and I choose to post things on FB about my beliefs and you comment on them, I realize that's a chance I take.
  6. I would wish that you would, however, stick to commenting on the issues, and refrain from name-calling and personal attack if you disagree with the things I share.
  7. If you don't follow #4 I'll probably remove you from my friend list on FB. That doesn't mean we're not still friends IRL, unless it bothers you that much that I "unfriend" you on FB. It just means "we need to talk" and reaffirm our commitment to our friendship, or part on peaceable terms if possible.

Hope some of this might be helpful. You see, we might be able to plant a seed of evangelization with some of these folks. Maybe not all. And maybe the results might not be evident right away. But I think sometimes it's good to step back and say "Whoa! Do you really mean that? How would you like it if the tables were turned and someone made comments that offended you?" Maybe some people, even though still caught up in sinful ways, have enough class or intelligence that being called on their behavior might make them think twice about it.

God bless you and congratulations on finding a spiritually and otherwise more healthy lifestyle. :clapping: It takes guts to do what you're doing. :thumbsup:


#14

Many years ago, I told a college friend or two, that I was against a grievous sin, sex before marriage. And that that is the way it would be from now on, take it or leave it. Just an announcement. So, I agree with doing something similar on Facebook, I guess! Catholics think they can handle every good, intelligent misfit Christian who has problems with sins. And we can't always do this, without being dragged away from Catholicism into a wishy washy, I guess, nominal Catholicism. So if you are strong enough, and, you don't think it is a waste of time, stay with them. These friends do finally see the light. One, who's mother committed suicide, and who's father married a Catholic, found another Catholic friend, and went to a Catholic college, she had said. So, recontacting people is interesting, after ditching them! If you were going along, maybe they want someone with less sympathy, and more backbone, as a friend!

Okay, you are talking about herd behavior, which I know less about. The "herd" wanted good jobs, success, love, fitting in.

Catholics, who love everyone, get involved with the wrong crowd, and it is okay to say, no, I cannot go anymore with these activities. We have to listen to the chipping away of faith, of nightmares they claim to have about Catholicism, or complaints about the hierarchy in the forms familiar. Still, our friends meet expectations, what little is left, right? There is just too little, isn't there, left I mean.

I've also taken a moral theology course, since then, but many years ago, besides going to confession, etc., but, I remarked to them that I wish that I had turned every drug using or selling person in. There was at least one person who was shocked.

If a person needs to apologize to someone that they mislead in the past, that seems the right thing to do. In my case, it seems as if the only people hurt were my own family. I have not apologized to them personally for things that they do not know about. But, I live a servant life.

The first one in the family, boy and girl in a large family, leads the others down the road to sin, IMO. Who was the first one who gave up their faith, the first to run off, the first to look at smut, the first to cuss, the first to cause trouble with the folks, etc. Families on Facebook are trouble too. They may expect acceptness of all behaviors.

How do you stay good, you make up your mind to. It is a tough life. We should never fall, really. We should NEVER fall. Tell that to your kids.


#15

I try to keep my list of fb friends to around 50. A good portion of those people are never online and don't post much. A few times each year I go through the list. It's easy to delete people I didn't know very well to begin with, but it does take me awhile to cut ties with people I *used *to know well. Usually I'll send them a catch up message, and if it's not really reciprocated, I'll delete them.

Also, I keep my friends limited to people I'm actually friends with. If I wouldn't want to hang out with them, they're not seeing my business. Nice and simple. And along with that is the fact that I'm super picky about who my friends are to begin with. The friends I have that have vastly different views are respectful about the differences - sure, they'll post news articles or whatnot, but if I comment against it all hell won't break loose.

Besides, my husband is much bigger on the debating front with people he knows than I am. He's got twice as many people on his list, many of whom he hasn't talked to in years, but he's also disabled wall posting. The only way people can post is if it's in reply to something he's said. You might want to consider disabling posting altogether if it's that big a problem - most people probably won't go through the extra effort to actually send you a message about it.


#16

Just curious, don't let me derail the discussion but has anyone read the recent TIME Magazine Person of the Year article about Mark Zuckerberg or seen the "Social Network" movie? Both?

I started to read the article in a waiting room; got about 2/3 of the way through it. Haven't seen the movie. The article claims the movie portrays him differently than he really is.

Be that all as it may, it was kind of interesting to get a glimpse into the mind of this fellow and why he thinks FB is really a good thing. I'm old enough to remember the pre-Internet age and the TIME article suggests that in the early days of the Internet, privacy was the thing and now transparency is the thing, something to that effect.

Me, I'm beginning to question whether I really want quite so much transparency . . . :bigyikes:


#17

I must be that one really lucky guy on Facebook whose friends are total idiots (for the most part). I have a very diverse group of friends, from childhood friends, to coworkers, friends of friends, etc. By and large, my friends on there aren't vulgar (at least not overly so). Very seldom do I see any inappropriate pictures (I've seen a few, but it's been well over a year), and only a handful ever post anything I have to delete, and that's pretty seldom.

I do have one friend who tends to do more of this than the rest. He's had a lot of big struggles in his life and is angry at..well, most things, the Catholic Church being a big one. Deep down he's always been a good guy, though, and he's reacted very positively to a lot of things I've posted, so I'm hoping I have at least a small influence on him. He's a friend from childhood and I'd feel like I was abandoning him if I deleted him. I have gotten rid of a few people who have posted similar content, though.

All in all, I'm very thankful for the good group of friends I have on there. I'll look at my wife's account or posts that some people make on some of my friends' pages and I get pretty appalled at their behavior. I do have a small group of friends who get worked up over certain things and like to complain a lot, but instead of going along with their behavior I try to be as positive as I can on there in hopes that it will rub off on some of them.


#18

Gordon, just a thought, maybe you could visit www.catholicscomehome.org and see if there is some help there for whatever issue your friend has that is driving a wedge between him and the Church. I’ll pray for you both!


#19

[quote="3DOCTORS, post:18, topic:232890"]
Gordon, just a thought, maybe you could visit www.catholicscomehome.org and see if there is some help there for whatever issue your friend has that is driving a wedge between him and the Church. I'll pray for you both!

[/quote]

Thanks, I'll check that out. He seems to have taken quite a big fall, faith-wise, and is agnostic at best at this point. His parents were always regular church-goers, if not entirely active. He's had a rough life, though, and casts the blame for it in a lot of directions. I think the Church is a big target for him simply because it's a big, easy target. It certainly didn't cause any of the handful of things he blames it for. He harbors massive grudges against several people from our school and church from when we were younger but if I were to tell that to any of the ones I'm still in touch with, they'd be surprised and likely find it laughable since the things that have eaten at him for all these years are minor to far less than insignificant. I'll admit that he's one of the unluckiest people I know and seems to hit every pothole life throws anywhere remotely near his path, but he tends to dwell on each and every one of them far more than he notices any of the good in his life. I do my best to defuse some of his more negative ramblings on Facebook with varying degrees of success, and sometimes manage to have some fun, lighthearted exchanges with him that really reflect the person he was 20+ years ago. To be honest, I probably would have given up on him quite a while ago if not for those times that his positive side comes through, but we've been friends for so long I'd rather deal with deleting the negative stuff and still keep in touch with him rather than abandon him altogether.


#20

[quote="Sailor_Kenshin, post:10, topic:232890"]
LOL, I stand in awe of you folks. I have like, 12 friends.... :D

[/quote]

Now I don't feel so bad with my 46 friends....lol!:D


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