I recently read what was presented as an African proverb:
When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.
(I’ve also seen it as “it is the grass that suffers”; the idea is the same)
Like most proverbs, this can be applied a number of different ways. Where I’ve tried to take it to heart is to remember that so often when I go to battle, somebody (or something) suffers. There is collateral damage.
So I’m trying to do better at choosing my battles. Is this Facebook argument worth the cost? Am I willing to damage friendships, reduce ministry effectiveness, expend valuable time over that political argument or that doctrinal discussion? Is that change at church important enough to cause others to leave our congregation?
Sometimes, of course, the answer is yes. Many times, however, I have to admit that even if I “win” the argument, I won’t accomplish much of anything that is positive. And the grass gets trampled.
I may have to print that one out and keep it above my computer.
I posted on Facebook the other day, discouraging my friends from sharing their political posts. Someone asked me what the difference was between me sharing religious thoughts and others sharing political posts. In the discussion, I and others pointed out that Facebook discussions almost never sway people to leave their previously held views. I don’t try to convert people to Jesus via Facebook posts. I don’t expect people to switch from one party’s candidate to the other because of political posts on Facebook.
Fact is, people mainly read what they already agree with. Facebook’s algorithm’s encourage this; when you hit LIKE, they show you more posts that are similar to what you have endorsed.
But I’m willing to be corrected. There has to be some value in public discussion of issues, be they religious or political. What do you think? How can Facebook (and other social media) be used to persuade and change? Is it possible? Or are social networks only good for reinforcing previously held views?
I’ve been asked to give a class on the use of social media in missions. I’ve got lots of ideas, more than I would have time to share in one class period. However, I’m slowly learning that my cyber-friends are much wiser than I. So I’m appealing to you. Help me out with some thoughts on this topic. To make it easier, let’s keep it broad. Rather than focusing merely on missions, let’s think about non-profits in general and religious groups in particular.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on things like…
- What are some non-profits that do an especially good job with social media?
- Who are some individuals who excel in the use of social media?
- How have you seen Facebook used effectively by religious groups or individuals?
- How have you seen Twitter used effectively by religious groups or individuals?
- How have you seen blogs used effectively by religious groups or individuals?
- What about some of the other social media, like Google+, LinkedIn, etc.? How do you see them being used well?
- What are some “best practices” that would span all social media?
Is that enough to get some thoughts rolling? Can you see how I’m not worried about having enough to talk about?
Thanks for any input you can give.
So the other day I posted the following on Twitter: “Everyone who complains about immigrants not knowing English should have to use Bibles printed in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew.” Then Paula H. made the tragic mistake of quoting me on Facebook, sparking a lively discussion about the topic. Well, I guess the liveliest part of the discussion happened when people tried to decipher that cryptic tweet.
So let me try and unpack it a bit. I’d hoped to get some insights into why people would complain about help being offered to those who don’t speak English as their first language. Unfortunately, nobody stepped up to the plate (at least not yet). I’m not surprised when non-Christians join such groups, but I can’t conceive of why Christians would do so.
My only guess is that it’s done out of a lack of understanding. Let me offer some basic points:
- Most immigrants would really like to know English. There are some who have no desire to learn, but that’s definitely a small minority. Therefore, well-meaning phrases like “Learn the language!” don’t do as much good as you think they might.
- Even those who have a fairly good command of English still need their native language for critical situations. Add to that the difficulty of holding a phone conversation in your second language (no visual cues) and the difficulty that we all have in navigating phone menus.
- It would be good for all Christians to have some proficiency in the original languages, but most people will never go to the trouble to do so. One reason they don’t learn those languages is the ready availability of translations.
- Some argue that if we didn’t offer translations to those who speak English as a second language, they would make more of an effort to learn. By that argument, we should do the same with our Bibles, taking away the “crutch” of translations to make people learn.
Of course, being able to read the Bible isn’t nearly as important as being able to talk to your insurance company. Right?
I put something on Twitter last week in response to something I keep seeing on Facebook. (My, how modern of me! Next I’ll be sending e-mail) What I have seen too many times is friends of mine joining a group called “I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PRESS 1 TO HEAR A MESSAGE IN ENGLISH… WE ARE IN AMERICA, LEARN THE LANGUAGE.”
There are quite a number of similar groups. So, before I get myself in trouble with a number of my friends, could somebody help me out… what is so terrible about having to press a button to choose your language? Why are so many people upset about this? I can definitely see being upset about voicemail systems; who doesn’t hate those?There are lots of aspects of that whole process that are highly annoying. Why focus on that one step?
What really gets to me is that most of these people who I know that are joining these groups are Christians. Can you figure out a reason why Christians would be joining in this?
Here’s your chance to clue in the clueless. What am I missing in all of this?