Today is ‘National UnFriend Day’

"A friend loves at all times."

Proverbs 17:17 (ESV, NASB, NIV)

Happy November 17th everybody!  Did you know that today is National UnFriend Day or "NUD"?  If you're not on Facebook, then you probably have no idea what the term 'unfriend' means. 

Those with Facebook accounts have a cadre of friends that can sometimes number into the hundreds or even thousands.  In order to become someone's Facebook friend, you must submit a 'friend request', which can accepted, rejected, or ignored.  In some cases Facebook users are friends with people whom they have never met or even heard of. 

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel is stymied by how many people are on Facebook, and he sees it as a complete waste of time.  However, for those who are hooked, he came up with a national holiday last year that encourages Facebook users to whittle down their friends to a manageable number.  In case you missed it, this clip shows Kimmel announcing the National UnFriend Day.

Here is a scenario that illustrates the importance of this national holiday.  Let's say you are a member of CrossWay Community Church in Charlotte, and your pastor proclaimed the following at a recent 'family meeting':  (link)

"From our biblical study, which we have presented to you tonight, and our prayerful perspective, we believe, sadly, that Brent clearly fits the definition of a man who is causing divisions and because of his refusal to cease has the potential to cause even further division and therefore must be marked as divisive.

Having nothing more to do with him, or avoiding him, would include not discussing these things with him personally, reading any of his materials on blogs or Facebook. That means if you have to defriend him to avoid the temptation, do that, or following the story on anti-Sovereign Grace Ministries blogs.

So I want to be clear. Not discussing this with him personally. Not reading any of his materials on blogs or Facebook or following the story on the anti-Sovereign Grace Ministries blogs."

At this meeting CrossWay's pastor, Mickey Connolly, accused Brent Detwiler of causing divisions and admonished that he (Brent) must be "marked as divisive".  How does a CrossWay member do this?  Besides shunning Brent, Connolly warned church members not to read anything posted online that Detwiler has written, including his postings on Facebook if it causes them to be tempted.  As an aside, some in the blogosphere have made a mountain out of a molehill regarding the little word "if" in this statement:  "That means if you have to defriend him to avoid the temptation, do that…"

Sorry, Mickey, it's 'unfriend', not 'defriend'.  You've gotta get your lingo right if you're gonna talk about Facebook intelligently, especially with the younger generation.  Speaking of knowing the right lingo, our TWW readers will be glad to know that Dee gave me a fantastic birthday present to keep me informed about how the younger set communicates through texting (and Facebook).  It's a little reference guide called Texting Dictionary of Acronyms with over one thousand acronyms and symbols.  Here are some of my favorites. 

FF  ……….   Friends Forever

GTG  …….  Got To Go

CULA  …..  See You Later Alligator

Of course, some of these acronyms are code language, such as:

PIR  ………  Parent In Room

PLOS  …..  Parent Looking Over Shoulder

TAW  …….  Teachers Are Watching

Those of you who don't like this new form of communication will really appreciate this one:

IHA  ………  I Hate Acronyms

If you want to keep up with your kids, I highly recommend this TDOA (Texting Dictionary of Acronyms).  They'll be surprised that you know their language.

Now let's get back to what Mickey Connolly said — "That means if you have to defriend him to avoid the temptation, do that…"  I sincerely hope that Facebook users who are members of CrossWay know that anyone with a Facebook account can access Brent Detwiler's list of Facebook friends, not just those who have been friended by him.  I am not a friend of Detwiler (yet), and I looked through ALL of his Facebook friends yesterday.  The CrossWay pastors and SGM leaders can do the same if they are on Facebook.  Should you be worried about your leaders finding out you are Brent's Facebook buddy, perhaps you could use today as as excuse to sever your ties with Brent and anyone else who could be labeled as divisive.  National UnFriend Day comes just once a year — use it to your advantage so you will stay in good graces with those who are in authority over you.  You know, those who are standing in the very stead of God…. 

Remember, this admonition is coming from an SGM pastor who has mastered the art of sin-sniffing and who gave this warning:  "If you cannot trust your pastors, if you cannot obey your pastors and what we are asking you to do biblically then you need to find another church because we cannot function without your trust." 

This technique of unfriending on Facebook has had a triggering effect on Dee and me.  You see, several years ago a pastor in our area who was friendly with the leadership of CrossWay unfriended some of the teenagers in his church.  The end result was that these kids felt terribly rejected.  Since social media appears to be here to stay, it would behoove church leaders to be careful with their online etiquette — doing the WRONG thing could have eternal consequences.

Being unfriended on Facebook is something I have experienced as well.  When I began doing my research on the Calvinistas several years ago and became vocal about my criticisms of the movement, I was unfriended on Facebook by a pastor's wife whom I had provided much love and encouragement during an extremely difficult time in her life.  How do you know you've been unfriended on Facebook?  Well, you no longer receive status updates and wonder if they have terminated their account.  Then you look through your list of Facebook friends and discover that they have unfriended you.  Keep in mind that this happened BEFORE the National UnFriend Day was established.  C'est la vie…  Yes, a true friend loves at all times.  PTL, Dee has always been such a friend to me.

We leave you with a lighthearted look at National UnFriend Day


Lydia's Corner:   Ezra 8:21-9:15   1 Corinthians 5:1-13    Psalm 31:1-8    Proverbs 21:1-2


Today is ‘National UnFriend Day’ — 20 Comments

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    Better than messing with Facebook, go to Google+ where you put people in ‘circles’ and you can control who has access to what you post …

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    Thanks, Bob! I mostly got on Facebook to keep up with my daughters. It has certainly changed how we communicate with each other.

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    Eagle –

    Your Prov. 17:17 is more realistic to be sure. I imagine that is why God gives us His alternative to our “reality” and then sends Jesus to show us, in the flesh, what a “friend” should look like.

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    Personally, I’ve been unfriended more than friended. sigh

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    WOW, Seneca, I have never heard of a person with a negative friend count!!!

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    I’m sorry. I wouldn’t unfriend you.

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    Hey, I actually like you even if I don’t always agree. I’ll friend you if you want!

    Haven’t had much time to weigh in here at all as I have a family member with some significant health issues.

    I am glad the whole “if” statement got cleared up over at Refuge…it made much more sense grammatically for it to be there.

    I definitely think the pastors at Crossway are being heavy handed. I know the issues within SGM are complex, and of course Crossway has the right to feel that Brent is being divisive. But I think the course of action is to err on the side of grace, and to let members think for themselves.

    Anyways, this isn’t what I wanted to say about “unfriending”. Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear a Christian woman speaker who has a wonderful reputation and helps head a Christian ministry that has helped countless people. She was speaking to our women’s group at church.

    One of the things she said in her talk was that we need to weed out the friends in our lives who drag us down and cause us negative emotions. She said to eliminate them and surround ourselves with positive friendships. Now, I understand she is probably surrounded by people with problems all day due to the nature of her ministry, so maybe in her personal life she does need to stay away from negative people to refresh herself so she can deal with what she does for her job. But I personally think overall that telling people to “unfriend” people in real life (not just Facebook!) was not a Christian attitude. God brings hurting people into our lives. I think we should be their friend to encourage them. Maybe there are situations that call for staying away from someone, but for the most part if we have needy friends I think we continue to be their friend.

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    OT: I noticed the Charlie Brown cartoon in this post. It was also on this day in 1952 that Lucy first held the football for Charlie Brown. Thus began 59 years of frustration!

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    Hm…. I thought of this before Jimmy Kimmel. Ha! I call it Spring cleaning, although it can happen in the Fall, Summer or Winter… But I go through my facebook like every four months or so and take people off. When I was going to the RBD church, I had all these people on my FB. I slowly wittled that down because it had gone over 100 people. Then there were a few stragglers left, whom some of them I liked as people, but yet, that whole “Doing things but avoiding relationship” (thanks, Numo and Stuff Christian Culture Likes), they had to go. Now, I have like 1 person left from that group that will probably get kicked off in a month or so. I dont see the point.

    I have 33 FB friends right now and I like it that my “house” is clean, fresh and inviting. 🙂

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    Oh and might I add, out of my 33 FB friends, about 10 of them are people who aren’t blood related. I’ve gotten to a point where I realized in the first place that it’s simply not everyone’s business to know what I think–even if what I think is benign. It’s still none of their business. I also dont want people to know where I am and what I’m doing, and who I spend time with. Becfause…it’s none of their business. FB, for me, is to keep up with people with whom I have an actual relationship with to see their pictures and comical thoughts. But we, in no way, substitute that for real relationship. I have kicked people off who just want to read what I think, yet they see me in person and have less than 2 words to say. Do that and you will DEFINITELY get kicked out of my life, even my virtual one.

    If we dont relate other than FB and we are friends, I might even still take you off because it will save our friendship if we do–it makes you and forces you to make time for others and be a tangible source of love, support and affection in their lives.

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    NLR –

    I follow with you completely on the whole “friend” issue. Really, how many people can one truely be “friends” with? How many people was Jesus actually friends with during his earthly time? I do have to concede, though, that FB is used in different ways by different groups of people. Businesses use FB for different purposes, while some individuals it as a poplularity contest, and others use it to keep up with close friends and family. So, we all do get to use it as we see fit. It is wise, especially with the younger folks, to help them see the difference between the 100s of friends they might have on FB and the one or two who would be at their door in their time of need or joy 🙂

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    I mostly use FB to look at cute animal pictures. 🙂

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    Thanks for this post. I got a real chuckle out of watching the cartoon. I grew up watching the Charlie Brown specials. How did they manage to appeal to young and old alike – good thinking and writing I suppose. We don’t see that much these days.

    On another note – the whole “if” and SGM issue, sheesh. Below is what I wrote on the Refuge site:

    “Thank you, Jim, for your humble example. I know you wouldn’t call yourself humble but, in admitting pride and asking for forgiveness, that is exactly what you are. Thanks for living it!

    “BTW, I totally agree with Melinda above – the IF doesn’t change the essence of his (SGM pastor) message.

    “Also, I find it interesting that you got so much feedback from the Crossway members and others about this error of one little, itty-bitty word (though you were quite willing to fix it all, and no one from Crossway should have been reading here – right?), in light of the MAJOR ISSUES WITHIN SGM that NO ONE (except SGM elite) is supposed to discuss, disect or give any thought about unless otherwise directed by their sovereign(?) pastors.”

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    I agree with you. No one can have that many friends. I do enjoy keeping up with my two daughters on FB. I especially enjoy seeing their photos.

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    The commentary over the word “if” was interesting. Thanks for being an encouragement to Jim.

    I grew up watching Charlie Brown, too. I thought the clip was well done.

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    Since this thread has some of it’s theme located in technology, ie. being connected 24/7 and all that, it would seem that we’ve run aground on Huxley’s brave new world instead of the Orwellian dictatorship so many feared 50 or 60 yrs. ago.

    I’m no Luddite, but it seems to me anyway that technology has become an end in itself rather than the great emancipator that was promised, sort of a techno-tyranny if anybody else shares my sentiment.

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    Ah, the potential blows to the ego one avoids by simply not being on facebook 🙂


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    Dee – bunnies and guinea pigs, mostly, though I do follow Beep the Chicken’s page.

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    But how would I have met you?!!