Friday randomness: Facebook, Do you blog?, Missional clothing, Christianity’s juvenilization

Facebook fare

I had another “I hate Facebook” conversation this week. It was with a friend who had seen a post that he couldn’t resist reacting to. That seems to be Facebook’s fare: reactionary posting. Before he cooled down, he had fired off what he thought was a thoughtful response, but it only served as gasoline on a fire. He wound up sending a personal message to one of the people in the conversation, apologizing for the heat rather than light that his response generated.

For those of you who may find yourself drawn into debate, argument and heated exchanges too often on social media, I’ve got one word for you. Stop. If it’s happened more than once, it’s once too many times. Consider pulling the plug on the social media that fuels your emotional reactions. It’s not healthy for you or your relationships, and I’ve yet to hear about someone being convinced of the infallibility of your position through a Facebook exchange.

People’s minds aren’t changed on Facebook debates. They’re shrunken.

“If you hate Facebook so much, why haven’t you deleted your account?”

I know, I know. Here’s a few reasons:

  1. Strategy. It’s a place of influence. I’m hesitant to withdraw from a sphere that I can speak into. God still hits straight licks with crooked sticks, in other words.
  2. Relationships. I am in touch with people on Facebook that I wouldn’t be here on my blog or on other social mediums.
  3. Reach. Facebook is an immense tool for promotion. I couldn’t have self-published Super Center Savior without the availability of Facebook.

Tremble, Mark Zuckerburg. Be very fearful. My finger is hovering over the delete account button.

Missional clothing

Doug Paul wrote about his transition from Richmond, Virginia to Pawleys Island, South Carolina and how it affected his wardrobe. It wasn’t just that he began to wear beach stuff. He had to change his image in order to best dress missionally. His brief post is important because it reminds us that the way we dress can increase our influence or diminish it.

The way you dress actually matters to the people you are actively trying to engage with… the way we dress can create openness or barriers to the people we are trying to engage with. As Paul says, “To the Greek I became a Greek. To the Jew I became a Jew.”

Do you blog?

If you’ve followed me here on Notes from the Trail, you know that I’ve shifted my digital content to refocus on my blog in 2013. I’ve quit posting so much on other social mediums and tried to drive traffic through and to this site.

If you blog, I’d love for you to leave a comment below with the URL of your blog so I can keep up with you there. I hope you’ll also be inspired to create your own content that is thoughtful, enjoyable, simple and real. Avoid the react, share and blare cycle of the inter webs that has atrophied our brains and hearts.

The Juvenilization of American Christianity

Last summer, Christianity Today featured a piece by Thomas Bergler, professor of ministry and missions at Huntington University. Essentially, his premise is that American Christianity has been dumbed down over the past 50 years. The primary reason is that churches knew they needed to reach the younger generations, and after the successful youth ministries of the 1950s and 1960s began to see youth stay in the church, churches had to change how they ministered in order to keep them there. It affected how churches teach, sing, connect with community and think.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 1.00.04 PMJuvenilization tends to create a self-centered, emotionally driven, and intellectually empty faith… Today many Americans of all ages not only accept a Christianized version of adolescent narcissism, they often celebrate it as authentic spirituality. God, faith, and the church all exist to help me with my problems. Religious institutions are bad; only my personal relationship with Jesus matters. If we believe that a mature faith involves more than good feelings, vague beliefs, and living however we want, we must conclude that juvenilization has revitalized American Christianity at the cost of leaving many individuals mired in spiritual immaturity. (italics mine)

Some of Berger’s conclusions about how to help juvenilized Christianity grow up include:

  • “Build an intergenerational way of life that fosters spiritual maturity.”
    I think he would say that churches that seek to appeal to a young demographic must not seek to do so to the exclusion of an older demographic. In the past 30 years, there have been too many church casualties as a result of the “worship wars” which only served to alienate older generations.
  • “Ditch the false belief that cultural forms are neutral.”
    What we sing and wear, the mediums we use – they all must be evaluated theologically and not embraced pragmatically.

Churches full of people who are building each other up toward spiritual maturity are not only the best antidote to the juvenilization of American Christianity, but also a powerful countercultural witness in a juvenilized society.

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On this day...

6 comments

  1. Josh deleted his Facebook a couple of weeks ago for the very reasons you talk about in this post. So if you don’t see him, now you know why 🙂
    1. Jeff says:
      How’s his experience without a face been?
  2. Aaron says:
    I still have a blog. I just don’t write on it as often as I could (or possibly should).

    http://www.carpdime.com
    Aaron´s last blog post ..Question of the Week: Impact

    1. Jeff says:
      You want to write a guest entry on my blog?
  3. anna says:
    Good to hear your thoughts on facebook. I came off it for a while after seeing various slanderous posts from Christians. The thing that saddened me most was that we seem to forget that people outside “the church” are READING ALL our comments, thoughts, status updates, even if it’s only Christians engaging in the dialogue. I came off facebook in August thinking it was just for a short break but haven’t yet felt “right” about going back on, although I think I will again at some point. I blog, and so I felt like I’d lost some of my “platform” but decided that it was healthier to come off it and trust that if God wanted people to read my words there would be other ways He’d make that happen (which has happened) I do use Twitter because I don’t feel there’s quite the same level of emotional angst as there is on Facebook!
    anna´s last blog post ..8 ways to stay sane when your husband goes away and leaves you with three tinies
    1. Jeff says:
      Anna, thanks for leaving your comment. I’ve been experimenting all year with different ways of changing my digital footprint and using it instead of letting it use me.

      I’ve really turned back to my blog as my primary method of how I create digital content. It’s generated much better community and more pleasant interaction.

      Checked out your blog and will keep up with your family’s ministry in the UK to see what you’re learning.

      How’d you find mine?

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