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Getting back to the blog

LL Cool J once said, “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” Tony Kornheiser once wrote a book entitled, “I’m Back for More Cash.” Both Michael Jordan and Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard announced returns by simply saying, “I’m back.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m back from neglecting my little corner of the Internet for far too long now. There’s been a couple of things that have motivated me to start writing on here a little more often now. First, I still feel like I have some things to say. Other than my classroom on the end of a hall, I don’t have a pulpit anymore to say things that I feel need to be said. I’ve been reading some of my old sermons lately and I still feel that urge to preach while I minister to my eighth graders while teaching them about American and North Carolina history. Second, I’m fed up with my online existence being controlled behind a walled garden of voices shouting into the void. About a month ago, I deactivated Facebook in order to still keep my sanity. All I did was get angry or depressed every time I opened the app. Also, I don’t want anything I say or write to be controlled by a corporation or to disappear at any moment.

I’ve heard many people over the years about how it’s better to have your own space, so I feel the need to cultivate mine here. So while I’ll still hang out on Twitter because it’s my preferred social media of choice, most of the time you will find me here, because I don’t want to be chained to a corporation for my digital identity anymore. This time, I plan to stick to it.

It seems lately when I browse through Facebook, a friend of mine posts something politically polarizing that just makes me shake my head. I’ve tried to stay away from political posts, considering that my friends vary all across the political (and theological spectrum). I did make a post that I didn’t intend to be political, but because it involved an incident in the political world, the discussion went off the rails in a hurry and I was left with regret for posting it.

That said, when I see all these politically-charged posts, it makes me consider leaving Facebook. The thought only lasts a few minutes until I remember that I’ve done and do quite a bit of pastoral care via Facebook. So now, when the politically-charged posts begin to be too much, I just click the button to close the browser window. Setting limits and not posting can be the best thing to do. As coach Herm Edwards once said, “Don’t press send.”

Despite the well-known challenges, it is self-defeating for pastors in particular to declare their moral superiority to everyone else and walk away from social media. We may not like the present reality of how people communicate, but it is the present reality. When we opt out, we remove our voices from the conversation and fail to be informed about what others are doing and saying.

A new study from New York University and Stanford University has reported that people who deactivated their Facebook accounts for a month felt less politically polarized but were demonstrably less informed.

Source: Why ministers shouldn’t walk away from social media