I like thinking about engaging in FB conversations and/or debates more than I actually enjoy the act of engaging. To some, this may feel a foreign concept while to others all too familiar!
Many times, I set my hands to type an obviously witty and brilliant response only to retract it because I realize that if I post that then I’ll have to comment to their comment on my comment and so on! Also, my replies don’t usually turn out as witty and brilliant as I’d like to think they do!
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t FB well, and I definitely don’t Tweet with any kind of proficiency! I find Twitter to be an interesting medium and great for connecting me to a wide array of media sources, which I love. However, it’s intimidating to me, because I constantly feel the threat of being misunderstood. Obviously, and by my own admission, there exists a contingency of fear in that last statement. With that admission, though, is also a recognition that it takes more than 140 characters for most of us to accurately represent our thoughts.
For example, not too long ago I shared an article by John Pavlovitz, a popular blogger and speaker, who frequently writes things that slant toward political opinions that I don’t particularly agree with. However, this specific article caught my attention by its title: The Kind of Christian I Refuse to Be. I found this article poignant and saying things that I often say myself, so I shared. I didn’t think the article was all that controversial, but much to my surprise it produced a backlash of comments from people I don’t even know, except for sharing mutual friends on FB. I was accused of multiple things, one of which was that I needed to be “helped.” Now, I will be the first to admit that I’m constantly in need of help, but not in the way that I perceived this particular person meant. I was being called ignorant because I shared an article by a person that they had some major disagreements with. The context of the article itself, and the context of my personal beliefs didn’t seem to be taken into consideration when their comments to me were made.
This is what I mean by the misunderstandings that often take place on social media. I could have spent a lot of time attempting to explain myself to them, but the reality is that I don’t have time throughout the course of my day to have large-scale social media conversations, nor do I have the energy!
Now, to ease your concerns, I’m not leaving social media on one of those “I’m so misunderstood” rampages. That would be an odd thing for me to pull on you, especially since the fact that you’re reading this article in the first place is likely because it appeared on your FB or Twitter feed! Rather than exit the midst of the white noise of social media, I would like to use it to invite you into a new project. A revolution of sorts!
It’s a personal journey that I’ve chosen to go on, and it’s one of intentional community building. I’m seeking to make my life center, not around those I only know through social media, but rather around those that are closest to me. To seek dialogue, discussion, and even debate over a cup of coffee or a meal with a neighbor.
It’s there that I’d prefer to engage you. It’s there I’d prefer to know you and be known by you. I don’t want social media to classify us into faceless, loveless blurbs of internet opinion. I’m not against sharing my opinion in such a public forum, but I hope you can see the value in sharing our lives AND opinions with each other in person. It’s something our culture desperately needs, and it only takes a few brave souls to put their lives in a vulnerable place to allow true, meaningful connection with another human being.
It’s in the communion of sharing a meal or conversation that we will find the connection that social media claims to provide but doesn’t deliver. This particular revolution, as I’ve chosen to call it, doesn’t look like fighting against something (social media), but rather working towards building long-lasting and fruitful relationships. I want friends who truly know me, which would include the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of my life.
I know that’s a scary thought! It’s risky! We need courage, to take the sort of love risk that would allow us to trust when perhaps we’ve been hurt deeply by previous relationships. It takes resolve to stay the course in a relationship that requires forgiveness to continue having an existence at all. These acts of bravery aren’t lost on me. Not at all! They are all too familiar.
This prayer of peace by Saint Francis of Assisi sums up my heart on the matter:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
This prayer is best lived out in an active community of people who are seeking to know each other beyond our current social norms. You know, the surface relationships that exist in every corner of culture. Without risking our hearts we would have no injury to need pardon for, we would have no hatred to sow love into. While this may seem attractive at first, it is truly a lonely way to live. Some might say it’s no way to live at all.
This is the true heartbeat of Uncommon Legacy, rather it’s our podcast, our blogs, or any other media that we produce. It’s our passion to connect people to story. Rather it’s our guests’ stories or our own personal story. We hope that the conversations we have will inspire conversation in your own communities and that they can serve as a catalyst for us to understand one another before we seek to be understood, and to love one another before we seek to be loved.