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My only reason for using it more often these days is that some of my best friends (and some acquaintances whose thoughts I like reading about) now use it as their primary online presence, like a mix of IM and blog. :(
On the sidebar on the main page, there should be a header called "friends". Click on "more" next to it. This will take you to a section where you can make and use lists. You can then put friends whose updates you always want to see on a list, then check it directly to see only their posts. You can also add people to the "acquaintances" list, which keeps them from showing up in your newsfeed as much. I assume that popular posts like "two weeks to live" announcements would still show up.
I hope this helps, and I'm sorry if it doesn't. Navigating FB is always so rough, especially if you don't have somewhere else online to keep up with your friends.
If they're being inappropriate or offensive to you: that sucks, and I don't know if there's much you can do other than firmly state that you don't believe in it and that while you respect their beliefs, you'd rather that they didn't try to tell what you do based on them.
If they're hurting themselves based on their belief: that also sucks. The first helpful thing you can do is drop the idea that you have to "fix" your colleague. Then you can try to offer them support with whatever it is they're struggling with, and maybe gently ask them questions.
If they're doing neither of the above: sometimes people just have beliefs that you (and I) don't have. It's ok. Life is a rich tapestry. Nod politely, change the subject as soon as you can, and let it go.
I like the idea of offering to take the younger kids out for gardening and activities they might like to give the parents some space to rest and to give the kids a break from all the stress.
The worst part is that I assumed it was a new roommate and talked to old one about this (they were from the same country and there was a language barrier, so I asked if he could discuss this with the new roommate). I even resorted to leaving post-it notes like "please keep the sink clean" because we were never home at the same time and I was at a loss for what else to do.
When I finally broke down and moved out, I found out that the new roommate was moving out too for exactly the same reasons. I even overheard him breaking out crying to the landlord, even. It was basically the old roommate all along.
(He'd been mildly gross and annoying from the start but I never expected that he'd be THIS gross and terrible.)