I hope you like your facebook profile
Because even if you close that account, it will always be there.
Or so says this article that draws attention to the Terms of Service (TOS) agreement that Facebook has updated recently. Any voices crying out in opposition to this like the change of facebook's look? Probably not. Has anyone ever read it? Probably just the guy who wrote this article.
It still floors me that those who have grown up with the internet are completely caught off guard when an employer, friend, or parent happens across that page and finds colorful words, lewd photos, or better yet, a profession of all things "secret" like sexual orientation or who you are dating.
What I see in this is much more than the legal ramifications of whether that picture is really yours anymore (you know, the cool one that shows you making out with that girl you swore you never touched) or whether I can sue Facebook for ruining my marriage. Instead, I see implications for who decides who you are and how much control you have over that perception.
Biblically, you really can't nail down God. To name something is to kinda claim ownership or to help define something. To name God is to have ownership of God. The tricky Jewish habit of refering to God's elements (hand of God, angel of God, finger of God) or using an unpronouncable name when refering to our creator is oh so relevant in this day and age. Yhwh seems smarter and smarter. The Jewish idea of never putting God's name on paper because the paper is perishable further illustrates the reverence for our inability to control who God is. God will sometimes nail us down. In fact, we know God knows who we are because he calls us by name. Sometimes, the change that God brings upon us means we no longer can be called the same thing, so we are given a new name (Saul/Paul). How cool is that?
As Methodists, I really love the fact that we try so hard to just let people be themselves. Sure, we want to all be Christians, but in a way we are not as concerned about naming YOU as we are naming ourselves. Well, most of us anyway. At least, right now, our church does have those who would love to tell you who you are.
But our inate freedom to define ourselves (and our own reality) is one reason I believe so strongly in a God who loves us. Truth is, no company can own your soul. No one person can decide for you what your future holds. And I know God loves us because,
No God would manipulate you into being someone else, without your permission.
I don't think becoming a Christian is like signing a TOS agreement that takes away your freedom of choice. I believe becoming a Christian, if anything, negates all the other TOS agreements you've made and helps you make your own.
Take control of your identity - and be careful what you post on the internet.
HT to Allison at Mental Floss