Thinking Out Loud

April 19, 2021

Some Social Media Tension Could Be Lessened

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 12:06 pm

During the last few months I’ve watched two very longtime relationships erode; people with whom we’ve enjoyed close fellowship since we moved to our small town over 30 years ago.

Not everyone sees everything the same way. I get that. And I enjoy good and healthy debate, provided the basic premises of debate are followed, one of which is logical argument. If the reasons given for a particular position are worthy of consideration — even if I disagree — I’m willing to entertain the conversation.

I’m also willing to listen to someone if they have a portfolio of concerns, but often someone is like a one-issue candidate; the guy running for mayor but really only cares about expanding the baseball diamond in the park, and when asked about road construction or taxes is simply unable to articulate the issues.

But sometimes that’s more subtle. The issues seem varied, but the common theme is preaching to their social media audience. I suppose there is the unlikely chance they might convert someone to their positions, but it’s rarely seen. Often they think the strength of their viewpoint is going to be measured by the volume of their online posts.

I really want to send this to my friend. But I still value the friendship more than anything. However, if I did, it would look like…

Dear ________;

I see you’re once again posting about the _____________ issue. I see it differently, but I also see the frequency of these posts to be concerning.

Your friends and relatives know where you stand. And you know they don’t necessarily agree with you on this subject. Personally, I would think a reminder maybe once every 2-3 months would be sufficient. Not every other day. Especially when a few of them are stretching to make a point.

On a personal level, I do wonder how many people or organizations you are subscribed to that provides you with the vast number of sources from which you gather the various content items. I think about the time this must involve, time that could be spend taking a walk in the fresh air, or doing something different. Your best friend on social media is the button that says, “Log Out,” and you might want to consider using it more often.

I also worry because this rather huge number of social media sources you follow is creating a giant echo chamber which prevents you from hearing from the other side. If we surround ourselves with people who agree with us on everything, we never experience growth.

Last week I had an insight that helped me to see this differently. I’m wondering how much of this is just done for the (predictable) reactions you get. Being deliberately provocative. Poking the bear. Raising peoples’ blood pressure. Being a troublemaker.

I’m reminded of the boy sitting at the back of the middle school classroom making fart noises because it makes the boys laugh and it makes the girls yell at him to knock it off. Either way he gets a reaction. He gets attention.

I am convinced you’re on the wrong side of history on this subject, but neither of us will be around to see the outcome. We can only estimate based on current trends and statistics. But I wouldn’t want to be known as the _____________ guy. Especially if my position could be construed as simply based on my personal preferences.

I’m not going to block you. Not yet. I still consider you a friend. It is amazing though how out of what I always thoughts were common roots we shared we have diverged along very different paths. We need to strengthen the things that remain instead of working toward division.

Your friend,

Paul.

 

August 19, 2019

10 Things The World Misses About Reality

We do this thing periodically where we find a longer Twitter thread I think is worth sharing more widely — especially if the person doesn’t blog — and put them together on a single page. Today it’s one of my favorite teachers, John Mark Comer. We actually listened to two of his recent sermons this weekend from Bridgetown Church.

by John Mark Comer

10 things the secular view of the world (via pretty much every media stream, social media feed, etc.) completely misses about reality:

1. The reality of God as Creator and Sustainer of creation.

2. The goodness of life with him in his world.

3. Honor and gratitude toward God and all his image bearers (Christian or not) who have passed down, however imperfectly, that goodness, in whatever arena of life we so enjoy it.

4. A robust, honest appraisal of human sinfulness and our need to be saved.

5. An intelligent, clear-headed view of the satan as the evil behind so many of the social and systemic evils of the world, animating them by his dark energy; whose primary means of ruin is in the realm of ideas, more specifically, via lies, or deception.

6. An appreciative, but limited view of the role of government, economics, and other external solutions to the above problems of sin and the satan. (i.e., politics matters, but can’t “fix” the root problems of the human condition, only mitigate against them.)

7. Apprenticeship to Jesus as the first and primary way our soul and society is set right (justified, saved, healed).

8. Faith that God is at work in the events of the world, calmly working for good over against the evil caused by sin and the satan.

9. Hope that Jesus will return to finish heaven’s invasion of earth in the kingdom of God. That one day, “all will be well.”

10. Love as the supreme good; defined not as desire, sensual pleasure, or tolerance, but a compassionate commitment to delight in the soul of another, and to will their good, ahead of your own (agape), based on the example set down by Jesus.

What if we were to live with that vision of reality as our true north?


Image: ChurchLeaders.com

January 12, 2013

The Go Deep Link List

The Go Deep List Lynx

The Go Deep List Lynx

It’s like the regular link list but for people who want something they can really chew on.

  • If you read the Wednesday list here, you saw a brief reference this week to Becky.  Becky is a fictional prototype of the ideal listener to Christian radio who, according to Sean Palmer, is more than just a media marketer’s target, but she is also setting the agenda for the modern church.  And then there’s this damning statement:

    Every element in a church worship service; each program or each new area of ministry has to pass the Becky-test. This means milk toast, predictable, and less engaging worship experiences. The depths and riches of Christian experience go ignored because Becky has no framework to understand them and Christian sub-culture is happy to allow her her illusions of faith provided those illusions are accompanied by her patronage.

    No wonder the article is called Killing Becky.

  • Although youth ministry guru Mark Oestreicher — I’m getting to where I can type his name right on the first take — wrote this with youth ministry in mind, it has much broader implications for church ministry as a whole. Mark had me from the first paragraph:

    I see the Kingdom of God in less black-and-white frames these days. To say it’s a full gray-scale doesn’t even do it justice. The Kingdom of God deserves a color palette so broad, deep and rich that we don’t have names for all the nuance and variation.

    And also

    In the U.S. church, we want so desperately to be independent mavericks, a Christianized version of the Marlboro Man, riding through the landscape of culture, needing no one, emulating no one. But if we look carefully at the American church in the last 40 years or so, we’re really not all that original. Most of the time we are acquiesce-ers, copiers. We copy culture, and convince ourselves we birthed it.

    The article is actually the first in a series. The main link here is to Presence in Youth Ministry Part One, but there’s also a part two and a part three.

  • And then there’s this one, which connects to the graphic below. Basically the idea is that rock hard empirical evidence can only take you so far, and beyond that, whether you choose Atheism or Theism, it involves a major step of faith.

    …the relationship between strength of belief and theism/atheism could be visualized as independent variables in a bivariate function, and that doing so might shed some light on my own perspective.

    And this insight

    …Although it is not a linear relationship, I would say the inclination of the individual to proselytize–that is, to attempt to win others to camps that occupy the same region on the curve–increases proportionally with the level of certainty.

    While he uses words like ‘bivariate’ this is a very concise article that is quite easy to follow, and has implications for your next conversation with someone who you’ve seen as having an opposing worldview, but who you now know shares more in common with you than you thought.  Check out Dan Martin’s The Belief Matrix.

The Belief Matrix

May 15, 2010

The Best Aspects of Christian Blogging

Filed under: blogging — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:29 pm
The Best of Christian Blogging

I think real Christian blogging is being transparent. It’s sharing our lives with others. It’s relating to the struggle that some find themselves in. It’s celebrating what God is doing through local churches. It’s dreaming about what churches could be doing. It’s spreading the word about a new Christian book or CD or DVD. It’s encouraging one another. It’s confessing our faults. It’s keeping great quotations and stories alive on the internet. It’s laughing together. It’s praying for someone in the online community who is facing a great need.

It’s about helping, informing, inspiring. And all of it aligning with Scripture; God’s word that must be carefully studied; must be correctly interpreted; must account for the past, present and future; must be defended from time to time; and must leave us somewhat ‘apart’ or truly ‘different’ from the world if we live out its teachings.


From a comment I posted months ago at Beauty of the Bible

October 1, 2009

Can a Christian Watch Oprah?

Filed under: issues, Religion — Tags: , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:34 pm

O magazineNo, actually I am being serious.   I’m just wondering how long it takes — past the special guests and the new care giveaways — before Oprah’s worldview starts to infect her viewers.

And with this question I’m not talking about viewers in general, I’m talking about otherwise discerning Christians.   Or maybe not so discerning.

Oprah’s worldview is shaped by a number of factors, not the least of which is the books she reads, a few of which become the books she recommends.   And without fail, all of these books are titles and authors that many Christian leaders find somewhat disturbing.   (And no, The Shack was never an Oprah book club selection.)

So whaddya think?   How long before Oprah’s spirituality and philosophy becomes yours?  But remember when you comment that this blogger has never actually watched more than about five minutes of the program.

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