Every Friday, I post a link to a blog post written by one of my fellow bloggers at Patheos, a web portal devoted to religion and spirituality. I encourage my blog readers to click through to read these posts, comment, and if you like what you read, follow these bloggers as well.
On Patheos’s Emergent Village communal blog, Jana Riess (who also happens to be my book editor at Westminster John Knox) wrote this week about how Facebook can comfort those grieving the death of a friend or family member. Jana has found that visiting the Facebook page of a friend who died has helped her connect with others grieving the same person, and learn more about who he was. She points out the irony in the Facebook policy that cites privacy reasons as justification for shutting down pages when they discover the page owner has died, given all of the other ways that Facebook exploits and disregards users’ privacy.
I hope Facebook changes its official policy and realizes that it has an opportunity here — not just a business opportunity, but the chance to be part of a great cloud of witnesses, a community of the living and the dead. We don’t want to merely leave flowers on the graves of our loved ones. We want them here with us, in our love and grief and loss. We want to tell them we love them, in the company of others who loved them too.