A fascinating and insightful submission from the fascinating and insightful Hawley Schneider:
This article popped up in my gmail the other day, about a young bank intern named Kevin Colvin, who got busted by his boss for lying about a family emergency in order to miss work. He took advantage of his co-workers’ compassion in order to attend a Halloween party. And it worked. That is, until the photos of him in his fairy costume showed up on Facebook the next day (see left). His boss saw the photos, and Kevin was caught, obviously and publicly.
I think we often get away with “smaller” sins without even realizing ourselves that we commit them – not to mention hiding others and gradually moving on to more “advanced” wrongdoing. For example, the other day I bought a few items of clothing and left the store. The alarm went off, but they waved me on… It wasn’t until later that I realized there was a pair of pants in the bunch that was not on my receipt. I had stolen without even realizing it.
Sin is such a part of our human nature that we cannot live without seeing evidence of it around us. The author of this article seems to put herself on the same level as Colvin, saying “Who among us has never called in sick to attend an awesome kegger? Colvin’s biggest fail[ure], it seems, was allowing himself to get busted.” She acknowledges that in the end, we are all silly humans. She quotes the humorously named Shirky, who says, “colleges and job recruiters are going to figure out that if they disqualify applicants ‘for having an adolescence,’ they’re seriously limiting their talent pool.” In other words, we’re all in the same boat.
So here are the top three major concepts as I see them:
1. Privacy: A good hacker could access your email, perhaps even steal your identity, and spam people from your facebook/myspace/email. Just try google-ing your own name and see what you could learn about yourself. I fluctuate between loving Facebook for the ability to connect with friends near and far, old and new –and hating it, for the narcissistic elements, comparative and judgmental attributes, and well, the whole “knowing everybody’s beeswax” deal. How do we make sense of passages like Thessalonians 4:11 in our modern age of “crackberries” and bluetooths?!
2. “Non-Christian-ese”: People understand Facebook. Okay, so maybe not Grandma Jean but certainly Facebook has become familiar to most, being referenced frequently in the media and filling plenty of email inboxes… The story functions as a great illustration that ultimately, you and I are no better than the next guy. What it comes down to is who gets caught (and has the evidence plastered all over the internet!). I’d dare to say that the author has a deeper understanding of the need for Grace and the universality of sin than many of us. She certainly seems to argue for a Theology of Grace over a Theology of Glory in those first few paragraphs, doesn’t she?
3. Punishment: How do we address thoughtless, selfish, and irresponsible behavior? The author’s stance seems to shift later in the article when she suggests that punishment might somehow rid us of this foolishness. But can we really ever get rid of our sinful nature? If so, how? Romans 3:23 springs to mind…
A final quote: “Some of us manage to draw the connection between the social dangers of doing stupid stunts in real life and having it documented on the Internet — for eternity. Meanwhile, if someone developed a device that released a mildly poisonous spider every time you went to upload an embarrassing an image, a lot more kids would get in a lot less trouble. Well, after those first few died off, anyway.”
Would they really get into less trouble? Or would we all die off? Perhaps that’s the real story behind Spiderman’s strength…