New Word, Same Old World

The New Oxford American Dictionary has announced it’s 2009 word of the Year: unfriend (HT cNet).

Surely this is clear testimony to the role Facebook has played in our collective lives recently.  Facebook now claims over 300 million members.

I think I’ve only unfriended one person.  I am not particularly strict on friending people.  I’ve got at least a couple of Facebook friends to whom I mistakenly sent friend requests because I thought they were someone else.  No hard; no foul.

But then there’s this one person, who shall remain nameless (partly because I can’t remember the name) who sent me a request that I accepted.  I started to regularly receive invitations from this person to events which amounted to opportunities for me to buy something this person was selling.

This “former friend,” the only person I’ve ever unfriended on Facebook, reminded me of the time, early in my first year of pastoral ministry, when I received my first call to come over and visit a church member.

On my drive over I was rejoicing at the opportunity to do pastoral care.  I prayed for wisdom and discernment.  I also gave thanks for having been asked into someone’s personal life after having been their pasotr so briefly.

I was, in fact, invited over to be asked if I was sure I had enough (and the right kind of) life insurance.

If you want to sell me something, please be up front about it.  Don’t fake a relationship with me only to try and get my business (or my money).

This request stands whether you are on Facebook or not.

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