A couple weeks ago I decided to shut down, for the most part, my internet presence. Prior to the proverbial “disconnect,” I was running a weekly podcast, actively interacting on Facebook and Twitter, engaging on blogs and Slack groups, and I was in the process of redeveloping my YouTube channel. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I pulled the plug. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube (mostly), podcast, personal blog, book website, and personal website were all shut down.
Why? Why Not?
I have been active online for over a decade. I have posted sermon audio and video, written countless blog posts and articles, engaged on just about every major social media platform with less than encouraging results. I have gone through cycles of total engagement to minimalist approaches. I have tried everything from tossing social media and focusing solely on my blog, to going all-in on multiple social media platforms.
None of this has ever really produced any real change in the areas where I had hoped change would come. In fact, it has always seemed to harden those who I had hoped would be most affected by the message. This continues to be the most troubling aspect of engaging online for me. It is not that unbelievers get upset at the material I’ve produced, but that professing Christians do. In the hopes of persuading them, they often get more, not less, grounded in their position.
I see this not only in them, but in myself. As hard as I have tried to listen and engage those I disagree with, I do not see any movement in them—or myself. While others may be wondering “Why disconnect?” I simply ask, “Why not?”
Straws and Camel’s Backs
Some may be wondering, “What was the straw that broke the camel’s back?” I’m not sure I can nail it down to a single straw, but there were a couple of things. First, I was putting a lot of time in to podcasting and research for blogging. I was (and am) so busy I was finding myself treating it more like a business than a love for writing or podcasting.
Second, there was the strange love affair evangelicals decided to have with Donald Trump. Understand, I have pretty thick skin. I’ve been extremely outspoken against President-Elect Trump. I spent countless hours encouraging folks to vote Third Party. It wasn’t the fact that “The Donald” won that got to me. It was the sincere personal messages I received from people trying to convince me that their vote for him was justified, and my voice was counter-productive, that really bothered me. When Christians are standing against other Christians in defense of a guy like Donald J. Trump, something is very wrong.
If this is what evangelical Christianity is, then I’m a long way off from it. As a Reformed leaning individual, this has always been the case to some degree. Still, this election cycle cemented it much harder than I had previously realized. Also, if all the energy and effort I put into writing and podcasting only solidified those closest to me, why am I doing this?
Third, has been the constant reaction from what I call the “love crowd” to things they deem “not nice.” If there is anything that is hypocritical about modern Christianity it’s that people are “not nice” to people who are “not nice.” I have constantly tried to point this out to no avail. It infests just about every arena of Christianity from the ultra-liberal to the ultra-conservative. All this “not nice” talk, regardless of the arena it appears in, is just an effort to silence one’s opposition by making them feel “not nice” enough. To me, it is the ugliest defender of lies in existence today. It masquerades as an angel of light, but it is the furthest thing from biblical Christianity. Again, I have combated this at every turn only to see it get worse, not better.
Frankly, I’m not sure. Is it okay to say nothing?
Well, not nothing.
What I mean is, nothing (or not very much) online. I am working to get more connected with my local church. I’m sure in time I will be involved more there. I’m also working to get my home to be more biblically centered and motivated. Maybe, rather than investing all this time on podcasts, blogs, and Youtube channels, the body of Christ would do well to simply focus on their families and local churches.
Then again, who am I to say what the church should do? After all, I am #Uncredible.