21 February 2009

Terms and Conditions

My favorite social network recently came under attack because it changed the terms and conditions for membership on their site. Even the women on THE VIEW chimed in. From what I understand ('cause I have to admit, I didn't read the terms - the old ones or the new ones - I know, HORRIBLE to admit for someone who works in the legal profession), one of the issues that caused the biggest uproar was the statement that any and all content you posted on the site as a user became the property of Facebook to do as it would - even if and after you closed your account with the website. I can understand the concern, but didn't really understand all the whoopla. I mean, you post stuff on the site and ANYONE (who has access to your site) can run with it - do whatever they want with it. C'mon now, admit it. You've seen the "ugly" picture of your ex's new girl/boyfriend or spouse, printed it out, and marked it up for target practice...or is that just me?* ;-)

I'm just saying, you put your personal business "out there" and in my opinion, you implicitly give "permission" for people (and Facebook) to do whatever they will with information. Prayerfully, the people who call themselves your friends will be scrupulous and not use your photos, notes, comments, etc. for evil or harm, but as in everything in life, you have to use common sense, good judgment and then pray for the best.

But for a week, I've been stewing over this and comparing it to other "terms and conditions" that I don't really think about or maybe even ignore. For example, when I signed on to be a Christian, there are "terms and conditions" inherent with being a follower of Christ. But how many times to I really sit down and think about those baptismal vows I took (ok, I took them three times, you'd think they would stuck by now, huh?)? I mean, one of the vows (for the Adventist Church) is to refrain from caffeine and other poisons (since my body is "the temple of the Lord") and yet, I have a gift card to Starbucks that is renewed every month because a sista needs her weekly dose of "tall toffee nut latte in a grande cup with whipped cream to the top." (Yes, I'm one of THOSE people!) Do I think drinking my latte twice a week (more if its a particularly bad week) is going to keep me out of heaven? Not hardly, but it was a "term" that I agreed to when I professed my faith and joined my church. There are probably much more serious terms and conditions that I am violating: like, not treating people with kindness, or gossiping, or lying, or lusting after (you insert whatever name here you wish) in my heart.

Even with my breaking of the "contract", God still loves me and probably just shakes His head at me when I mess up one mo' time again, sighs and gives me yet another chance to get it right. What a wonderful and merciful God I (try to) serve. I really am going to try to do better about keeping the "terms and conditions" of His contract, because in the scheme of things - that is the ONLY contract that really matters anyway.

Be blessed.

*DISCLAIMER: Just for the record: No pictures of any ex or their significant others have been harmed since I joined Facebook. That's my story, I'm sticking with it.

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