What is Real?

Since Elon Musk took over Twitter, I have seen everything from celebration to angst to humor to hate in response. I send these thoughts out on Twitter, but beyond that, my familiarity with the platform is limited. When it first came out, I said that I thought it was the dumbest form of communication ever created, and I stand by that belief. Sure, there are some good aspects of it, and I enjoy reading some really smart contributors. But it isn’t real. It’s just one more way for too many people to abuse and degrade others. And if you are fretting over who is or isn’t being allowed back on by the new owner, you might need a life.

The internet is a curse and a blessing. I like it because it allowed people of faith to continue to stay connected during the pandemic. It is also filled with places where trolls can hide under virtual bridges and snatch innocent and unaware Billy Goats crossing said bridge. I have used it a lot for ministry and will continue to do so as long as it is helpful. And the internet is real – sort of. It is just a tool; one more way to communicate; one more way to reach out to one another when we are apart. It isn’t life. To ignore it is to lose touch with most of the world. To embrace it as true reality is to replace real relationships with superficial chatter.

What is real? The family involved in a terrible car accident just outside our church doors. Their one-year-old died, and the rest of them are in serious condition. Real is the five innocent people who died at the hands of another gun-toting hate-filled American at Club Q. Real is the massacre yesterday in Virginia in a Walmart where seven people are dead so far. Real is you and me and most Americans getting ready to sit around a table together and give thanks. Real is that baby who needs lifesaving surgery that just a few years ago wasn’t possible. Your love of family, friends, and God are real. The decisions we make to help or hurt others are real too.

That coward who doesn’t like your political perspective and says so online? Not real. Some pundits’ opinion about why John Fetterman wears a sweatshirt? Nope. Who wins the World Cup soccer/futbol tournament? It matters to the players and fans, sure, but in the long run, not all that important. And while entertainment matters at the moment, little of it will stand the test of time. What is real to each one of us is unique, no doubt, so you may disagree with me all you want. In the end, though, when I face my final days and have to answer to God, my hope is that most of my life was spent on what was real. I hope that happens for you too.

Prayer – Help us, God of reality, to choose well in our lives. To make good decisions that contribute to the common good. To be real. Amen.

Today’s art is “Become Rich in What Matters to God” by Jen Norton.