It has been quite a while since I have written, and I miss it dearly.
Simply put, writers have to write, and when not writing there is a little space inside that is not getting the release it needs; thoughts bottling up and pressure steadily building and pushing against the walls of the mind, and this eventually starts to become a bit of a problem for not just the writer, but also for those around the writer.
So this morning I grabbed a strong cup of coffee and am sitting down to write once again. And it's nice. Happiness is fingertips gliding across a keyboard just ahead of the flow of thoughts.
Over these last few weeks the mix of an evolving ministry schedule, the start of little league baseball season, and the start of homeschool season has kept me furiously busy (which happens from time to time), but it has also given me some time to reflect.
As of this morning our nation is again (still) divided. We divide ourselves over politics, over candidates, over sports teams, over kneeling at football games, over favorite colors, over favorite foods, and over just about anything. It seems we find a certain degree of personality and uniqueness in embracing those things that separate us from others, and these traits get magnified over and above those things that may truly unite us.
I have seen a pattern deepening this divide, and a possible solution.
Just like I need that outlet of writing, so do many of you, which is why we spend so much time sharing our thoughts on social media.
However, we tend to express our divisions and circle our wagons on social media more than we ever would in real life. I have written about this before, and I can't think of many face to face encounters in which I find myself arguing about politics, Colin Kaepernick, Harambe the gorilla or any other issue to the point that my utter disdain for a person's viewpoints leave me walking away angry and bitter towards that person.
This kind of thing only happens on social media. Face to face, it is rare. Face to face, we don't regularly 'hide' or 'unfriend' people, and we don't follow them around and troll them waiting to hear a differing opinion we can pile on and argue about. No one does this, unless you're a crazed stalker, but let's not be stalkers. That's not healthy stuff.
To take it a step further, when I consider that my only social interaction with people I may not have seen in person for ten years (or in some cases people I have never even met in person) is to argue hot button topics online, I becomes clear that I am wasting the ability to interact with that person. If I were able to see that person face to face and buy them a coffee, I probably would not argue with them about Trump's hair or Hillary's pneumonia. If we did discuss those topics, it would be calm and reasoned. But I would likely find more personal things to discuss, like families, work, hopes, dreams, faith and such. I would ask how I could pray with them, and then I likely would pray with them. I would avoid debating the high-emotion national news topics we aren't going to agree on and instead focus on the myriad things we do agree on. Instead to working so hard to win them over to my distinct viewpoint, I would try to simply win them over. The rest falls in place, and that has worked out okay for centuries. No one on earth (that I'm aware of) has committed their life to a meaningful relationship with Christ because some random guy on twitter was trashing Colin Kaepernick.
When I argue sports in person, I do it with a smile, knowing that it is not the end of the world if a person cheers on the Aggies while I cheer the Longhorns (I live in Texas). But on social media, those debates can get awful heated. When we respond hatefully to 140 character pronouncements from someone we've never met on the bigger issues of race and justice, things can only get worse. I have come to realize that if I'm not intentional about my relationships, the way I interact over Facebook can start to look significantly different than the way I interact over coffee. I can quickly morph into two distinct people, and that's not a good thing.
So after a bit of reflection I am making a conscience decision to embrace the coffee version of me. Reading about injustice on social media certainly causes emotions to boil up inside of us, and we feel the need to say something- anything! But when we speak, is it constructive and beneficial or just more noise? Before I click that "post" button, I want my words to measure up to Psalm 19:14, "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer". If my words don't measure up to something that is God-honoring, they don't need to be posted online for the world to read and respond to.
The solution to social media rage may be to simply slow down a bit, unplug our face from the screen, plug into prayer, have a few more real life conversations face-to-face over coffee and a few less face-to-screen over facebook.
As a writer and musician, Jason Soroski strives to communicate in a way that is insightful, meaningful, relevant, and mindful of the small things that we may otherwise overlook in our everyday lives. He effectively taps into his experiences as a worship pastor, classroom teacher, husband, and homeschooling father of five to relate poignant stories from real-life experiences. Jason holds an M.Ed. from Missouri Baptist University, has been featured in various print and web publications, and currently resides in Houston, TX. Read more from Jason at his blog The Way I See It.
Publication date: September 26, 2016
Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com