Friday, September 23, 2016

261. Dear Al

Dear Al,

I had an interesting thought yesterday. What if Jesus were on Twitter? Would we “follow” him? Would we retweet parables, or share pictures of the loaves and fishes? For some reason, I highly doubt it. (I’m guessing this is not an original though. There are probably people who have already taken on this project. I haven’t gone searching for them on social media though.)

I’ve been especially drained by social media these last few weeks. It started with the whole Hillary illness thing (which now seems like a million years ago, when it was just last week.) I realized that I didn’t need to see the 140-character opinions of people who weren’t medical professionals. I also didn’t need to see people’s opinions on those people’s opinions. I just didn’t need that in my life.

That exhaustion continued. Especially with the events of this past week in Tulsa and North Carolina. I’m doing my best to stay informed of what’s going on. I’ll read a few articles to stay informed, but I don’t want to go on Twitter. And while the heartfelt posts of my liberal friends may be earnest and well-meaning, I’ve realized that they don’t do much for the “national conversation” we’re supposed to be having on race. I don’t mean to question their intentions and I don’t mean to silence any voices, but are our Facebook posts really adding anything worthwhile? As our friend Joe told me once, “Maybe we’re not supposed to say anything.” Maybe we’re just supposed to listen, pray, and then figure out what to do.

I’ve come back to this essay by Andrew Sullivan multiple times this week. It’s about how the digital distractions in our lives can really affect us. I’d highly recommend it. What is this constant stream of information really doing to us? Being constantly begged by our digital devices to come back leaves us without valuable space for reflection. That’s one thing I’ve enjoyed about church; I turn my phone off and don’t worry about it.

In one of those quiet times, I thought about what I can really do to affect my own little patch of space. I can’t do much about Charlotte. I don’t mean to sound callous, but my voice doesn’t add much, and I don’t have the extra resources to help. In my job, I’ve been lucky that I can maybe help move the needle a little bit on issues of race and policing. It’s not something that involves marching in the street, but it’s a small, hopefully positive addition.

I thought about your little school on the southside of Chicago. I thought about all the good things you’re doing and all the lives you are inspiring. I thought about your kids feel during these all too often flare ups.

To go back to my first paragraph. I don’t think Jesus would be on Twitter. To be more precise, I don’t think Jesus would be listened to if he tweeted parables. That’s why it’s good to step back and listen in other places.

Be well,


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