My Post Is Up @powerintheblog: Facebook Not A Happy Medium After Recent Tragedies – 10 Tips For More Productive Conversations (Todd Littleton)

If the events of last week did not stir some emotion deep within you, then maybe you should Google #AltonSterling, #PhilandoCastile or Five Police Officers Killed in Dallas to find out what happened. Should it be news that failed to touch you, it might be better to move on and read something else. 

I imagine some pastors scrapped what they planned for their sermons this past Sunday. Many likely re-worked what had been prepared long in advance to take account of the deaths in multiple cities over three consecutive days. I will go ahead and say that in my perspective any congregation that did not at least take time to pray for those affected, even our Country, needs to re-think what it means to understand the times.

Most of the Time I Share

When it comes to Facebook I generally share articles or other posts that make me go, “Hmmmmm.” My family will immediately get that reference. The girls grew up watching movies with me and when struck by something compelling I would, “Hmmmm.” If my Moleskine were handy I would write, even in the dark.

Maybe it is the snap judgments made about posts where something thinks out loud on any social media channel. David Fitch does a great job throwing either quotes or musings of his own for provocation. Me, I am more of a verbal processor. Let’s talk about it. Those of you who know what I mean understand that sometimes you have to hear what it is you are thinking to see just how you feel about it. Or, maybe the bodily action of speaking helps catalyze multiple thoughts as you work them over in your head. That is me.

I envy those who easily sit down and hammer those posts and pieces out. For me, it is more natural to talk it out.

Sometimes sharing is felt by others as not caring. That is a thoughtful, challenging piece to me may be offensive to another. The immediate result is to draw the conclusion that I agree down the line with every. single. word.

Not so. But once information is taken in the initial rupture of emotions often leaves us drawing conclusions we may or may not ever work through the neocortex, the location in the brain looking for a rational response to information.

Intimidated But Grateful

My training is in religion and history (B.A.) and theology and ministry (M.Div/D.Min). Aside from the required courses in college and seminary I did not take too much an interest in philosophy. Somewhere I picked up the idea that theology and philosophy did not make good companions for pastoral thinking. Boy was I wrong.

Thankfully my early childhood wiring came from being the son of an electrical engineer. The natural bent was to think about how things work. Taking apart transistor radios or working with on of those 65-in-1 electronic sets where you learn to wire a telegraph and tap out Morse Code or wire up the necessary components to make a switch turn on a light.

As I grew older I would have conversations with my Dad. We would talk about his work and though I did not always understand, I took it in often learning some bigger words than fit an engineer’s discourse, not necessarily a high school student considering a career in architecture. Rarely if ever did I think I knew more than my Dad, even as an adolescent.

I am grateful for the way Dad talked with me about his work. It was intimidating to try to understand. However, it forced me to work at understanding what I did not.

Maybe it was this social experience, this family of origin, that has always left me looking for something beneath the hood. Quick answers, simple answers, do not always attract me. Over time I have learned that though shorthand may be helpful, it can clearly leave interpretation thin.

Blame It On . . .

Maybe there is no one to blame. Somewhere along the way I began to explore what lies beneath the theological framework I was given. Reading others led me down the proverbial rabbit hole. I am still there, quite comfortably so. There are many I could point to that helped me learn that theological rigor required interaction with multiple areas of interest.

Several years ago I heard Carl Raschke at an event. I picked up a couple of books. Over time I have read he and others. Eventually I learned Carl spends time in Oklahoma. Late last week he messaged me to see if I would expand on a post that represents one of the rare times where I ventured onto Facebook with a few thoughts of my own. In its short form it was getting down some of the things I observed through various interactions and readings on Facebook in the aftermath of the week of deaths.

The post it up over at the PoliticalTheology.com’s blog. I like the edited title, Facebook Not A Happy Medium After Recent Tragedies – 10 Tips For More Productive Conversations. Here is one of the tips,

2. Keyboards/Cell Phones are easy to hide behind.

If settling into our corners represents a defensive posture, hiding behind keyboards proves an offensive position. Without threat of the Real, or maybe one might argue it is the Real, people pick off those with whom they disagree without benefit of a human connection. No emoji adequately represents tone or inflection.  Unwittingly, participants practice de-humanization in the form of dpersonalization, often without understanding the situation is an assault on the self.

Click over and read the post. Maybe you have other tips. It could be you would like to share a conversation about one of the tips and other implications you see.

Thank you Carl for the invitation. Hope to see you in August.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.