Sacred Moments and Social Media: A Lament of Sorts

If you will indulge me as I proceed to date myself with the details of this post. Also, I understand this post may land on some of you in a sort of cantankerous way. I picture myself akin to the old cartoon movie The Sword and the Stone’s owl named Archimedes who seems annoyed by the slightest bit of newness.

Surely, I am not that bad right?

If you search YouTube and enter any of the following you will find scores of videos with millions of views: proposals, promposals, wedding dance. Even more you will see Instagram pictures, Facebook posts and Twitter hashtags broadcasting these moments infinitely across the globe for anyone and everyone to see.

This is not a bad thing I guess just different than my experience. I think many of those things are expected as people hire photographers and incorporate cinematographers to capture engagement moments or wedding experiences or whatever. Again, not necessarily a bad thing it just is different than my experience.

My very subjective question is this: Where does one draw the line on what he or she should share or should not?

I mean (a Millennial way to start every sentence btw), there isn’t much objective data when it comes to what you should share and what you shouldn’t.[1] I have four kids and I often wrestle with what I should post on social media and what I shouldn’t so I usually err on the side of not posting.

I am derailing a bit..

Sacred moments. Now I am back.

I am not sure how one defines a sacred moment but I am thinking about those moments in our lives where the space between heaven and earth are a bit thin. I believe in the concept of “thin places” and I love how one author defines it:

Whatever the circumstance, which can be as unique as one person is to another, one thing is common: a thin place is a term used for millennia to describe a place in time where the space between heaven and earth grows thin and the Sacred and the secular seem to meet. The term comes from the mystical world of Celtic spirituality and the Celtic Christians, who were deeply connected to the natural world and considered every aspect of life to be infused with the presence of the Divine, even (or perhaps, especially) the ordinary elements of everyday life. While historically the ancient Celts viewed thin places to be locations or days of the year where the veil between the world and the spiritual realm diminished and they could encounter those who had gone before them, today thin places are more commonly considered places in which there is an undeniable connection to the Sacred.[2]

These moments, in my limited experience, happen in a few ways:

  1. When we get away to find the divine.
  2. When we stumble upon the divine.
  3. When the divine shows up in circumstances that naturally lend itself to being sacred (births, weddings and the like).

My point is that even with the best graphics, audio and staging the sacredness of the moment is only experienced and not captured. I have pictures of when all four of my kids came into the world but all of those photos do not open a window into what I felt at that moment.

I can’t even describe it.

Or when I took a detour after a youth ministry conference and went to the sight of the Columbine and Aurora massacres and took pictures but the thin places were more than an Instagram filter.

This is why I struggle at sharing sacred moments. Part of it is jealousy at some of the things you creative people come up with, but most of it stems from knowing that each of those moments are opportunities those who experience them need to treasure.

There’s this office building in Springfield, Tennessee that used to serve as doctor’s offices for the old hospital. In 2014 I had a small office there that a gentleman let me use for the new industry I was in at the time. It was a challenging gig and I  struggled personally from leaving a ministry position after ten years and I spent many days in that room (literally) on my knees praying to/for God.

A couple years after that (and a couple jobs removed) I went back to the office space as I had a day off from the current job I was in and I sat in the lobby for a while.

The smells were the same…

The sounds were the same…

I peered at my old office door, now owned by a construction group and, once again, I felt God and I was grateful.

So what?

Maybe we need to better discern which moments to share and which moments to keep to ourselves.

Better yet, maybe this is a reminder to pay attention to the moment and not how we can share it.

Maybe we need better eyes to see instead of scrolling through things so quickly. The thing about YouTube and a proposal is you can watch one, then another, then another ad nauseam.

Grace and peace.

 

_______________________

[1] I understand things like nudity and things that project violence and hatred should not be posted.

[2] https://www.asacredjourney.net/thin-places/

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