Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Sanctifying Facebook

The BBC reports on a 'sin free Facebook' (a title given by the Beeb, not by the site itself) set up in Brazil. Bad language and porn are banned, and 'Like' has become 'Amen'.

Spend any time on Facebook and you can see the attraction. Like the rest of human society, and the internet, it's a mixed bag, to put it kindly. If you don't want to be exposed to violence, sexual content etc. then it's the online equivalent of avoiding most TV channels after 9pm.

But I doubt I'll be joining when the English version appears. Why?
1. It looks a bit too insular. 'Facegloria' and 'Amen' will all tick boxes with certain churchy types, but will be completely lost on anyone who's not in the know. If the intent is to model a different sort of online community that focuses on what is good, true, honest, etc. then at least don't create a language barrier to those who aren't Christians. There may be hordes of people who'd love a FB alternative that isn't going to expose them or their children to distasteful stuff, but cloaking it in 'Kingdom language' will ensure that they never sign up. One of the intentions of Facegloria is to spread Gods word - so make it easy to hear.

2. If it ends up siphoning Christians away from Facebook into their own sanctified little world, thats a problem too. The early church met in the open air, in a place where everyone could see and hear them. We do nobody any favours by putting ourselves behind thick walls, whether made of medieval stone or computer code. Salt and light have to be mixed with food and darkness to do their job.

For many Christians, Facebook is actually a place where we live out our faith: mediating in arguments rather than escalating them, encouraging people rather than whining, putting out content which promotes truth, justice, love, generosity, respect etc. Bailing out on it actually shows a lack of confidence in God, who's capable of redeeming just about anything.


  1. I think Facebook had a dark beginning. It's a strange concept. Comments can be crude, hurtful and downright nasty. We've come a long way from the carrier pigeon.