True Confessions: My First week on Facebook. Part I.

My First week on Facebook

I have a confession to make. Last week I went on Facebook and twitter

My closest friends know I stayed away on purpose and wondered why I finally gave in to the “dark side.”

The first person to write on my FB wall knew this and said, “take the ring off Frodo before it is too late!”

I resisted Facebook for a whole bunch of reasons.

After a career that was mostly national and international in scope, I became convicted about the importance of local.

The turning point was a conversation with David McFadzean, co-creator, writer and producer of Home Improvement, in which he said something like this.

“Dick you and I both know the media does certain things very well. It entertains, provokes, informs, but it can’t transform a life.” “In my experience,” he said, “transformation happens live, local, grassroots in community.” He added, “In my experience transformation happens in the local church.”

This conversation captured my uneasiness with my career in syndicated radio where as a disembodied personality I communicated to a mass audience of people most of whom I never met in person. I got into radio because it was a place where I could facilitate a conversation about ideas and express my own in the process ~ I had zero interest in celebrity and the superficial connections that it fosters.

To a certain extent the same impersonal relationship is true of authors and the readers of their books. I’ve had four books published in the past 10 years. Too Christian, Too Pagan (Zondervan), Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters, The Culturally Savvy Christian, and last month, About You, Fully Human. Fully Alive.

Books are a great way to organize and systematically express your ideas, and I actually enjoy quite a bit of correspondence with my readers, and I’ve even met many of them, but it isn’t the same as face-to-face relationships with people you will be with again and again.

In light of all this, I made a conscious decision away from another nationally syndicated show and towards live audience events which I then podcast at The Kindlings website. These podcasts combine local, face-to-face interactions with people who I get to meet and know with global distribution.

Also, with British actor Nigel Goodwin and my crazy Halo friend Marty O’Donnell, I began a relational series of Kindlings Hearth events: intimate, by-invitation retreats (max of ten professionals, all of whom are thoughtful creatives for whom God is of central importance.) We now have over 100 alum with whom we’ve spent intensive time in conversation, over meals and good wine.

We then added KindlingsFest, a summer arts festival, which allows Hearth alum and podcast listeners to meet each other.

But I took another piece of what McFadzean said seriously. I graduated from seminary 36 years ago and after a post-seminary stint in a local church, never worked in a church for the next 33 years. Like many followers of Jesus I have had a love-hate relationship with the local church for a bunch of obvious reasons.

So our boldest and riskiest move was to a small island where I joined the pastoral staff of a thriving interdenominational, intergenerational local church on a very diverse and small island in a community that that mixes self-educated to highly educated, rich and working poor, artists and blue-collar folks in a church with over 40 denominations represented (Orcas Island Community Church).

All these life changes mean deeper relationships with fewer people and more time with in-person friends. My ongoing contact with my personal friends, listeners and readers nationally and internationally has been via email and I’ve had difficulty keeping up with it.

So I resisted Facebook and Twitter (and even texting and doing email on my iPhone) because I felt myself more drawn to local personal relationships and already had more national and global relationships than I could possibly nurture. Why add more?

Furthermore, I’ve seen so many people get addicted to social networking to the detriment of relationships with people actually in the room or vicinity that I didn’t want to take the chance that new media would, in the words of Marshall McLuhan, “work me over completely.”

So why did I finally give in?

Part I tells a bit about the resistance. In Part II I’ll tell you about my change of heart. I welcome your comments.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

PS 2.

Order one of Dick’s books from amazon: Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters
The Culturally Savvy Christian: A Manifesto for Deepening Faith and Enriching Popular Culture in an Age of Christianity-Lite

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    Posted in Staublog in October 12, 2010 by | No Comments »

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