Tag: social media

Prayer Mentoring: Facebook

facebook_iconFor God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. ~Phil. 1:8-11

The super cool thing about facebook and twitter and Google+ (for the 2 people out there that use it) is prayer. Not in terms of seeing prayer requests but in terms of remembering.

Tip #1 pray through your friends
Use you “friends” list as a prayer list. Pray for you you can and pick up where you left off. Imagine what Paul’s prayer life would be like had facebook been around then? If you haven’t connect with someone in awhile or you know that they’re going through a hard time send them a private message that you’re praying for them.

Tip #2 don’t gossip
Facebook is another avenue for gossip and being a busy body. Don’t gossip. Instead, treating facebook as a reminder to pray for people you know in some way keeps a vertical perspective on our horizontal relationships.

Tip #3 pray right away
If a person puts a prayer request done pray right away and then say prayed. Often we say we’ll pray and then forget to. Pray right away. As others post it’ll remind you to pray again if God leads you too. Don’t wait. Just pray.

Tip#4 facebook isn’t real, face to face is
Nothing can replace REAL human contact. Sometimes rather than post a message, pick up the phone, talk and set a time to meet face to face. Facebook isn’t a replacement for community and praying in person. A helpful tool, yes, but not a replacement.

Remember God
A weird thing about facebook is it gives a small glimpse into the life of God. Imagine being bombarded with everything! Remember God is judge and you’re not. Said another way: God is God and you’re not. That said, if all the joys, annoyances, etc blow you mind sometimes, it’s nothing compared to what God goes through. And, he still hears and cares for us.

We’re starting back up….

Back in September I began the process of deciding where to take my blog. I haven’t written much since then because to post to just post something doesn’t make sense to me. While consistency is king for blogging, posting to just post doesn’t make sense. I invested time in reading about blogging and other pastors who blog or tweet. Here are some conclusions.

Blogging is legitimate
I listen carefully to older saints, and they make a strong point on younger people in ministry writing about ministry. Some go as far as to say younger people shouldn’t. I obviously disagree with that. Here is why, we need one another. I think a wise person is able to weigh what a person says. Sometimes I find older people forget the rawness and energy of starting out jus as younger forget to look and listen from the mistakes of older saints. I view blogging as a community exercise. We need many voices.

Blogging needs to avoid hot issues
One peace of advice given is to not blog about hot topics if you’re working through them in your church. This is a big issue I looked at as to blog or not blog. I like to blog about what I am passionate about. I also recognize there is a church audience that can read this blog. This is amplified by my liking to discuss new ideas. Obviously there are things I need to avoid and the question is can I blog and avoid them. To quote my son: I think I can. (For the grammar police, peace was chosen specifically.)

Blogging is writing
I like to write. I enjoy it. Pretty much that is why I started blogging. I’m not so concerned with building an audience as I am in enjoying the writing and refining ideas. There is much to right about, such as developing ideas I had to cut from a sermon, book reviews, or things God is teaching me.

The bottom line:
I’ll try to blog about 2-3 times a week. It will continue on the line of life and ministry.

Manic Monday: My Social Media rules of thumbs

How do I engage in social media? My rule of thumb is be discerning and intentional. Everyone engages differently, and that is a cool aspect of it. Here are some to the conventions I follow:

Social media is public no matter how closely I guard privacy settings. Facebook is most personal, twitter is in-between leaning towards my vocation, this blog is vocational.

I re-whatever based primarily on ministry interests or for things to consider. A re-whatever does not mean I agree or disagree with something. Discernment should always be exercised.

I do not re-whatever on hallmark comments (emotional and often well stated comments). This doesn’t mean I disagree with them, but I’m content with being a part of the 97% that don’t. One exception- I do on occasion re-whatever comments that make fun of hallmark comment’s thirst for re-whatever-ing the comment.

I’m more inclined to re-whatever things that do not contain the nefarious 3% guilt trip. Justsayin.

I talk tons about my kids because of their grandparents. Grandparents and family are part of my audience. And, let’s face it, as much as they love my wife and I, they want to hear about the grand kids, and that’s totally ok.

I am very cautious about negative comments. I do post them on occasion as it’s part of being real. Life isn’t Disneyland. Even these I try to put in a humorous tone. Praise in public, criticize in private is a great rule of thumb to follow.

I prefer to be a-political. While one may guess or otherwise already know my political leanings, the Gospel is most important to me. I chose to not have politics as part of my public discourse.

I think social media is give and take, Contribute and engage with others. I like that. I do not think it replaces human interaction, but it does help in one key aspect: it allows human interaction to focus on what can only happen in person, making the sharing of coffee that much better.

The bottom line is to be discerning in how you engage in whatever you engage in.

(especially on Monday)

Civil Discourse, Conflict and Social Media

Civil discourse does not mean the lack of confrontation, and social media brings a new avenue it. Quite a few social media stints caught my attention. The most recent was discussion about a book coming out by Pastor Rob Bell. He is not the point of this post, but the discussion did instigate this post.

Social media is public discourse
While some may disagree with this, it is true: Social media is a public face. One reality we are facing is many people do not know how to engage well in public discourse. The quip “Politics will be getting very interesting in the next 20 years because of social media” carries my point well. A good rule of thumb on social media is this: What do I want my public face to look like?

Conflict can bring clarity or collision
You cannot avoid conflict, and that is true within social media as well. Disagreements exist and there are times when public disagreement is proper and times when such is not. At the founding of our country there was vehement debate on our constitution. The book “The Federalist Papers” resulted from the collections of articles from the debate. It is wise to engage in conflict with the goal of clarity. Such is prudent, helpful and benefits all. Engaging in conflict to win or gain one’s own rights is often foolish and brings collision.

Civil discourse can be spirited
Civil discourse focuses on courtesy and politeness regardless of emotion. Civil discourse does not mean one is dull or trite. One can be quite spirited in their discourse and be polite as well. Third person is often used to support objectivity. It lacks poignancy or cheer of first or second person and is quite dry. Given our culture’s tendency towards rash speech, a little dryness may be in order, or we can chose to be polite in our discussions. Be polite. Be gracious. If you cannot, do not engage in public discourse.

The social media variable
The variable that social media brings to civil discourse, especially on conflict, is speed. This is known as trending or going viral. The problem with going viral is people often do not ‘listen’(read) and speak past each other. Discussion quickly turns to raw emotion and a mess ensues. Regarding discourse, often in the form of reposting articles, keep this in mind:

A posted article or a retweet without comment can mean many things from agreement to disagreement, from seriously!? to interesting. A reposting of something with comment also means many things from gained context, topic, or one’s view. If an article goes viral it doesn’t mean people agree with that post. Sometimes it can mean shock, anger, humor, etc. When something goes viral its best to listen more carefully and exercise far more discernment.

Christianity and social media
We should not be afraid of disagreement or conflict. Christianity is damaged more by trying to look and be perfect than being real. Silliness in public discourse comes when civility is dropped. We are family and we will disagree. Part of disagreement is resolution. In the meantime there may be fear as how the conflict will end is unknown. Such fear should not cause us to avoid conflict, even if it goes public. It is part of being authentic.

Remember that the heroes in the Bible were not perfect and their flaws are quite public. We preach about them, discuss them and even debate them. Our lives, just as those in Scripture, are open books. Social media makes this a greater reality. But, acting like there is nothing wrong is just another form of hypocrisy. Grace, wisdom and discernment should govern our public discourse. At the same time we shouldn’t be afraid when our debates become public. It’s part of ‘iron sharpening iron.’ The Gospel moved forward despite the very public mistakes of our heroes in the faith.

The bottom line:
Be civil in public discourse, especially in times of conflict. Remember that social media moves rapidly. In all things we should exercise grace, wisdom and discernment. If you cannot do that, say nothing ‘for even a fool is considered wise when he is silent.’

For Christians, do not be afraid when conflict goes public. The growth and promotion of the Gospel rests in God. We will make mistakes, but those mistakes are covered by the cross. Remember, the same man who shamed the cause of Christ also became the focus of a beautiful story of reconciliation, he gave the first sermon of the Church, was publicly rebuked, and died a hero. His name is Peter.

Social media: Pensées au sujet des medias sociaux

Thoughts about social media

The last few years I jumped into the social media frenzy: learning, participating, engaging, listening and observing. I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my thoughts. After all, we’re all human…

Social Media is a cure of LIAR’s
LIAR stands for Low Information to Action Ratio… The dilemma many deal with is having too much information. This eventually trains people to ignore large volumes of solid thought. In a real sense our information driven culture trained us to ignore Sunday mornings or other “data dumps.” This leads to us knowing lots, but acting little. Social media is an ironic cure.

Social media helps in two venues:

  1. It breaks large chunks to doable small chunks. The best example observed: Rick Warren’s tweets.
  2. It builds a passive accountability. Social media gives opportunity to soak, digest and respond to information given. It allows community to live truth out together in real-time.

Social media is the Borg at birth
Star Trek created the Borg as an allegory for over invasive technology. If you read up on this sci-fi nemesis, you’ll find remarkable parallels. While the real-time connection to community is a help, it is also a vice. The Borg, even while right next to each other, have a blank stare and only connect through the hive (network). Kind of like talking to your friends by texting when they are right in front of you. This hurts.

Social media hurts in two venues:

  1. Artificial communication often replaces organic real-time conversation. The text, Facebook, tweet replaces the sit down conversation over coffee. Nothing can replace human interaction. Environments, touch, smells, etc are equally important to the human experience and communication. These dimension cannot be carried by technology.
  2. Always on can lead to allows off. The ability to focus and develop the depth needed for many things can be diminished with social media. While processing one can lose the product. This is more than just getting work done, it is also a matter of deepening relationships; the key one being with God. Humans need down time and periods of quiet reflection. Always on breeds the expectation for always available. We’re not God. Let Him be the always on always available guy.

Social media is the new old
I hear often that social media is a revolutionary not evolutionary thing. I disagree. Social media demonstrates something that has always been true: People want to be known, their fallenness unknown and both openly revealed. Any engagement with humans leads to this interplay. While the technology, feel and look may be new, human nature and the proverb…I mean torch runner… I mean bumper telegram…sigh… are still around.

The old renewed:

  1. Human depravity and redemption is active in social media because we can not escape our depravity and need of the Spirit. We can’t stop being human.
  2. Humanity always craves simple and brief tidbits of communication.

The bottom line
While social media is in vogue and seemingly new, it reveals that which is true of all ages. It has strengths it has weaknesses and it will be used for both. I do not advocate balance & wisdom. I do not advocate passionate usage & complete openness. I advocate remembering we are human: fallen and in need of redemption. We cannot escape that and anything “revolutionary” will point out that we’re a mess and God loves us anyway. C’est la vie.

Why Not Wednesday?

This is my redux into blogging. Writing helps sharpen and clarify ideas, generate discussion, and help expand one’s thinking. I find blogging to be a great forum because ideas can be fairly processed, and still “raw” or in their infancy.  What I enjoy about blogging is you enjoy the real-time struggle of ideas, or a person’s reflection on them. After being away for a while, I thought it was time to jump back in.

Why Blog?
I love books, classes and workshops (oh my). However, the ideas are often much more polished and removed. This is a good thing. Polished presentations are not an enemy. What I find is great works later generate into workshops which then generate books and then generate into classrooms. They are far removed from the start of their “success” or venture, often by years. Who wouldn’t like to be a fly on the wall during early discussions of great works? Blogging allows some insight into this.

The Idea
I read a quote that many great ideas were lost because they were not written down. Or, perhaps failed and did not have the resources or discussion needed to make them great. The other side of great works is they just pursued something and it happened. Success is based on two things: God and community (1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4). The advantage now of social media is the expansion of leveraging community.  I am not saying I have great ideas, or even good ones for that matter. Many have heard the cliche the journey is more important then the destination. That’s the intent of this blog. It’s my journey for better or worse.

Why Not?
“Why Not Wednesdays’ deals with creativity and off the wall ideas. It’s the drawing board, or better said the napkin. The ideas may not work, barely work, or are just out there. They can be as little as a game idea, or as big as a new methodology. Living out what we believe should encourage us to take risks, fail often, and be pleasantly surprised when God crabs a hold of something and lets it work. That is another aspect of ‘Why Not Wednesday;’ If it aint broke, break it!

The bottom line:
I’m blogging to sharpen my ideas and writing ability. I will be discussing things I’m passionate about: learning, dreams, and living out what I believe. I thought it would be appropriate to start posting on Wednesday, as that is the day I’ll deal with the dreaming and creativity aspect of life and ministry.