A rant and a call to action:
On Monday, two tornadoes hit the tiny Nebraska town of Pilger, destroying much of the town and killing two people.
While the pictures of the twin tornadoes are strangely beautiful, the storm chaser video of the storms is horrifying. The destruction was quick and brutal.
Monday night, a friend shared the image below on Facebook.
I found this to be one the dumbest things I’ve seen in a long time. Not the idea of sending prayers to those impacted by the tornadoes – I am very much in favor of that*
*Of course, I’m more in favor of sending aid in the form of money, donations, or man hours, but I won’t discount the impact of prayer.
What left a bad taste in my mouth was the “A Share Is A Prayer”* part. I think that is stupid.
*I wish Facebook had been around when I was a kid. I could have used something like this on those Sunday mornings when I didn’t want to go to the early service at church:
Mom: “David!!! Let’s go! We’re going to be late for church.”
Dad: “C’mon. NOW.”
Me: “I don’t need to go today. I totally shared like five different posts yesterday. I shared for the storm victims, that kid with the tumor, the lady who lost her parakeet, the soldier in Afghanistan, and that other kid with the cancer – he’s like 1,200 Likes away from being cured, you know – so I don’t need to go to church today.”
Dad: “I’ve got something you’ll be able to share” <readies spanking hand>.
A “Share” does not equal a prayer. A Share equals the least amount of resistance to show that you care, without actually having to do (or spend) anything.
While some will argue that clicking Share or Like, changing your profile picture, or using some special hashtag can raise awareness and even help set an agenda for what the local and nation media covers, the cynic in me disagrees.
If you want to raise awareness, share something that provides information (such as this link). If you want to help out, make a donation of time, money, or materials. If you want to make a difference, use social media to challenge your friends to match your donation.
And if you want to pray, by all means do so. But you don’t need to partake in the Facebook version of Hashtag Activism to ask God for comfort and healing.
Because a share does not equal prayer.
Prayer equals a prayer.