A clergy friend of mine discovered to her dismay one recent Sunday morning, after her Facebook Live sermon was over, that she had inadvertently pressed a button on her phone that gave her a “googly eyes” mask during the entire service. I have had times that Facebook showed me preaching lying down. Some of these issues can be fixed after the fact. I don’t know if the googly eyes can be removed. Sometimes you just have to laugh.
Carol laughs at me sometimes while I am preparing to do one of these Facebook Live sermons. I can get caught up on the “production” part, worrying about the lighting, the camera angle, the background, should I stand or sit. Now I have to worry about googly eyes too! I loved a recent Facebook post by another pastor who repeated at least a dozen times “I am a pastor, not a producer…”
This concern about how people see us in social media is another way of expressing the “on stage/backstage” metaphor that we mentioned earlier this week (see my post entitled “Inside and Out,” April 16, 2020). There is a difference between the way we are seen and the way we see ourselves.
Sometimes, we want to come across as more athletic, handsome, intelligent, witty, or even religious than we perceive ourselves to be. Sometimes we simply want to attract attention, or to avoid getting lost in the noise around us. We want to put ourselves in the best light so we can be heard.
I don’t think this is all bad. There is something to be said for wanting to be seen when you are “at your best.” But at some point, when the “you” that is seen no longer resembles the “you” that is inside, we risk losing track of who we really are.
The spiritual journey invites us to become aware of who we really are—to see ourselves as God sees us. We are invited to take off our masks—whether googly eyes or otherwise—so we can begin to live authentically.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24).
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