Q: I have received a friend request from Jesus on FaceBook. What should I do?

This is a serious question I have also been considering. I can’t tell you yes or no, but I can give you some thoughts which I have been struggling with lately. Perhaps you will find these helpful.

Do you have any friends who are attempting to radically change the culture so much so that this friend would be at risk of jail time. I don’t. The only person I know who is concerned about being deported is the cab driver Ali. Jesus has been running from the law since he was an infant.

Generally, I tend to follow the rules and so do my friends. I conform to social norms, pick up after my dog, shop for enough food to feed my family and try not to spread germs. Jesus tried to change the rules!

I feel uncomfortable passing a homeless woman on the street and Jesus runs right toward her. I see the shopping cart that she pushes and Jesus immediately posts a selfie of the two of them. The caption is, “I tell you that this poor widow put in more than all the others. For the others offered their gifts from what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, gave all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)

To be truthful, I probably would not like what that caption would mean about my lifestyle. It would be easier or safer to scroll to someone else’s link to the YouTube video of the cat on catnip than face the meager amount of money I put in the collection basket each week. And what if the basket comes around again? I crumple up my ATM receipt and movie ticket stub and grab the hymnal so I can act like I didn’t see the usher in time to deposit fifty cents.

What does it mean to like a friend? Jesus would never say, “Can’t we all just get along?” No, that would be too simple. Jesus would say something disturbing like, “Go! I am sending you like lambs among wolves.” Luke 10:3-4.

Are you kidding me? I want to watch sit coms with my friends in my temperature controlled living room and eat potato chips on my microfiber couch. I don’t want to become some community organizer gathering signatures protesting abortion and going on some walk for life. What if the other people on my list servs found out? I don’t want anything bounced back to me. How humiliating! I want to stay safe in my little social bubble and not challenge the injustices of the world.

During flu season, I like to bring hand sanitizer to mass to use after the sign of peace. I agree with bishops who allow their diocese to suspend the sign of peace to prevent the spread of the flu during the winter months. Can you imagine the health care professional watching Jesus touching the leper without gloves? I suspect the Attorney General would launch some kind of investigation into this supposed cure for blindness with spit and mud. That stunt would likely make it into Urband Legends and be dismissed as a hoax. I would not LOL if my friends found out that I actually believed Jesus.

I am trying not to be petty, but I think what would annoy me the most about Jesus would be how he talks like my parents did when I was a teenager. I would tell my parents about a problem or question I had. They would launch into a story which had nothing to do with my question. How many times did Jesus, when asked a direct question, respond with some off the wall comment about camels, needles, vines and branches or a dad waiting for a runaway son who partied too much? I dont’ want to admit it, but I would probably roll my eyes, shrug my shoulders and blow him off.

What does it really mean to follow Christ on twitter? Did God really mean it when God said through Matthew, Mark and John, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased. Listen to him.” Am I truly listening to Jesus, or am I too consumed with down loading free music on my iPod?

Although I may not like Jesus on FaceBook, I wouldn’t be one of those haters who would leave nasty anonymous comments on Jesus’ blog posts but I know some people who would really go off on him. And what would Jesus’ response be to the haters? What would he tweet to his followers? “Shake the dust from your feet and move on.” Matthew 10:14, Mark 6:11, Luke 9:5.

Really? I don’t know what the apostles would say, but my comment would be, “Wait a minute Jesus. If your blog posts are so important, why aren’t you posting a rebutle? Come on now, Jesus, at least put up a frown face to the haters. Something anyway!

Would Jesus endorse me on LinkedIn? Would we share connections in common? What if Jesus is first degree connected to gang members, drug addicts, prostitutes or that smelly creepy guy who talks to himself on the city bus? Am I connected to those people or do I have my earbuds in watching live trading of my stocks on my smart phone? If Jesus has those connections, does that mean I have to invite “those people” into my network? Would he endorse me for the way I treat my family? Would he love me for my awards and my accomplishments or would he want me to be humble and give glory to God for my talents? Would he approve of the places I have worked? Could I honestly say at the end of my job descriptions, “I was here to do God’s work.”

All of this being said, I do think that Jesus has some friends on FaceBook….and we would be well advised to remember what happened to others who have friended Jesus. His BFF, Rocky, was crucified upside down. I think waxing my eyebrows and my ab exercises are painful; there is no need to be slowly toasted over a grill like St. Lawrence or drown like St. Florian, patron Saint of Firefighters.  I have no desire to be skinned alive like St. Bartholomew just for the title, “Patron Saint of tanners.” Of course not everyone who friends Jesus succumbs to such a dramatic ending.

Think of those lazy day laborers who only work 1/2 day and yet get paid for a whole day. Who are those bums cheating the system anyway? And how would I feel if Jesus texted me,

“btw, one of those day laborers is a widow with three children. She worked the graveyard shift, took her children to school and then came here to her second job. Another laborer had three hours of chemotherapy before he arrived at work. He cannot work an entire day because of the dizziness and nausea.”

 

 

Uh oh…I would rather empty my junk folder on my lap top drinking my latte in my cubicle than read the rest of the text about the working poor who live in their car.

I would rather change the subject to those muckety mucks in the news who embezzled all of that money. I bet they are happy to hear Jesus’ podcast about love, mercy and forgiveness. Can you believe those people? So what if I haven’t been to confession since just before Easter? You can hardly compare  cheating on my taxes  to what those muckety mucks did. Of course they will accept Jesus’ friend request just like the Roman tax collector Zacheaus.

Toss out the sweet songs we learned as children, “Jesus loves me this I know” or “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” This domicile, kind, loving version of Jesus makes him sound like a puppy. I see him more as an untrainable guard dog who barks a lot. I am more of the annoyed neighbor who doesn’t know why the dog is barking at nothing. I am sure that Jesus would accept all friend requests, and he would never ever ignore or block anyone.

To be brutally honest, I am not sure I would friend Jesus on FaceBook. This is not to say I wouldn’t love the Lord. I do love the Lord. I think it is too easy to say that because I know he loves me more than I love myself. To like him means to risk hackers, viruses, computer crashes and being unfriended by others. But if I ignore him or block him online or in my heart, that seems a lot like Peter’s denial.

I don’t know if I would like him. Would you?

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