Worlds Collide: Faith, Federal Affairs, Friends and Facebook

tumblr_inline_mqu6qisIek1qz4rgpLately, social media, politics and my writing have been colliding. They actually always collide, but I don’t usually discuss this collision publicly. I decided to lay out why I write what I write, and how the outlets I use are intentional on my part. It’s not science and you might disagree. That’s fine. This is simply what works for me. You may disagree that it does work for me. That’s okay too. I love the fact that you (and I) have the freedom to unfollow, stop reading, unfriend and otherwise avoid that which clouds our minds.  And yet I read a lot of things I do not agree with. I watch movies I might find wrong in their facts, morality or social impact. I want to grow, and cutting off those who don’t agree with me hinders that growth. But there are limits even to that. So here is my listing of what I do, why I do it, and why you should consider unfollowing me:

1. Everything is filtered through the lens of my faith. My faith is the most important thing in my life. Everything I write and do is filtered through this. That does not mean I am always successful in using this filter, but that’s my goal. Because faith is the most important thing in my life (yes, more important than my husband or my children), I make conscious choices that are right for me. That means not doing certain things people often do.

For instance, I do not belong to a political party and I typically do not discuss politics. I have never belonged to a political party (disclosure: except for a short time when I registered in Pennsylvania as “independent” only to learn that this was, at that time, an actual party name. God only knows what I affiliated myself with for those few weeks). Even before faith was a word I even used, I have never felt particularly aligned to any party.  I do vote, and I do discuss political issues with my husband and children, but that’s it. My political thought is not so innovative or earth-shattering that the world is worse off for a lack of writing on this topic.

If I ever feel called to join a political party, you will likely not know about it. Politics clouds people’s ability to see other issues, in my opinion. I will not weaken whatever platform I have to talk about faith because someone might not agree with my party affiliation.

2. My choice of social media platforms is intentional. I use Facebook for social reasons and I try (even if I sometimes fail) to use this medium to mirror my commitment to my faith. Because I use it for such reasons, I also feel free to friend and unfriend people accordingly. I definitely have very dear friends who do not share my faith (indeed, most of them, perhaps) but because they can be respectful and enlighten me, I love having them as my friends.

However, if you are disrespectful (of other ordinary blokes as well as public figures), especially if you call yourself a Christian, then rest assured, I’m done. While I love respectful debate, disrespectful debate is not useful. You should feel comfortable holding me to your standards, even if they differ from mine, as well. I will never be offended when I am unfriended (I’m also a poet available for birthdays and bar mitzvahs).

On the other hand, I use Twitter for work as well as for faith. I would say that because my work is faith-based, you are going to get more Jesus when you follow me on Twitter, as well as topics that relate to my job (immigration legal services and empowering local churches to serve the vulnerable). I also cover a lot of leadership stuff on Twitter because it dovetails with my work and I’m a leadership junkie. On Twitter, you will see what I do at work, and to the degree that implicates your politics, then you might not like it. So, again, feel free to follow/unfollow as you see fit.

3. Because of all of this, my life is messy. Yes, life is messy. I’m a former agnostic, revert-Catholic who spent a long time as a wanna-be Jew currently working in an evangelical protestant development NGO with lots of gay and atheist friends. It’s. Messy. It was messy for (sorry, get ready) Jesus. It is messy for me too, even if I will always handle myself with less aplomb and grace than Jesus himself.

And yet I feel like I’m where I should be, in the messiness of life and issues and people. I’m sure I’m the messiest of all my friends and co-workers. I struggle daily with issues that seem opposed to each other. To me, the most cowardly thing we can do is walk away from the messes.

We have to walk into the messes. Thanks for walking with me in my mess. But if you’re done with me, that’s fine. Just hit unfollow.

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