Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Snarkiness of Christianity

Wednesday, March 13, 2013, was certainly a day for the history books. After the siting of the white smoke rising out of the Sistine Chapel's chimney, social media sites, newsfeeds and blogs were all abuzz about the election of the Catholic Church’s new pontiff, Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis I, the pontiff of firsts. CNN's webpage reports that Pope Francis is
  • the first non-European pope of the modern era
  • the first Latin American pope
  • the first Jesuit
  • the first to take the name of Francis

As a former Catholic, I was delighted for my Catholic and Latin American friends, as it was such an exciting moment in history and the beginning of a new era for them! However, I was not so delighted, Christian and non-denominational gal that I am, over the many comments made by folks in response to the question posed on various news sites and social media pages after the announcement:

‘What do you think about the election of the new pope?

I’m certain those who posted this question expected a plethora of responses ranging from hopeful and ecstatic to doubtful and indifferent .

But I’m guessing that the folks who maintain the social media page of a particular Christian organization NEVER expected the many, many negative and damaging comments made by....gulp...fellow Christians.

GASP!! The heck you say?

Yes, my friends. The snarkiness of Christianity came out in a big, ugly way on the Facebook page of  'I Am Second'. The folks at I Am Second describe themselves, as it states in the picture above, as ‘a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others.’  They place much of their emphasis on humility, encouraging people to serve God by serving others FIRST, while humbly relegating themselves to second place.  That's some great stuff there, because that's what Jesus did. 

I’m not faulting those over at I Am Second for posting that question. I’m sure it was asked with good intentions and in all sincerity, as many of its page members are from the Catholic faith, as well as other faith denominations.  No doubt they may have expected some negativity and indifference here and there. But I truly don’t think they expected the onslaught of finger-pointing, name-calling and mockery that followed. 

Before I began writing out this post, I surfed over to their Facebook page and found that the post in question had been removed. I can’t say that I blame them and I actually applaud them for doing so. I must admit, I was appalled and saddened by the over-the-top mean-spiritedness and arrogance of people’s words and attitudes towards those within the Catholic faith.  So many spoke of the pope and Catholics with the same sneering contempt that one reserves for speaking of crack addicts, child molesters and Adolph Hitler. 

It was a prime example of Christians behaving badly.

And that prompted me to wonder what someone brand new to the Christian faith would have thought after reading such arrogant, sarcastic, self-righteous and hurtful comments.

Or how about someone who is seeking a relationship with Christ; or someone who has never felt the need or a desire for God but who perhaps stumbled upon I Am Second’s Facebook page or was encouraged by someone to check it out? What do you suppose they would have thought about those comments and, more importantly, about the Christians who posted them?

And what do you suppose….Jesus thought about them?

I’ll get to that and finish up in my next post. Stay tuned.

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