If you blame the gorilla
you’re part of the problem
If you blame the parents
you’re part of the problem
If you blame the child
you’re part of the problem.
If you blame the zookeepers
you’re part of the problem.

If you blame
a former first lady,
a senator,
or real estate developer
you’re part of the problem.

If you blame
the refugees
the immigrants
single young mothers
struggling to get by
you’re part of the problem.

If you blame
the victim
the system
the lawyers
or press
you’re part of the problem

If you blame yourself
but do nothing
to address the wrongs
you’re still part of the problem.

We are all part of the problem.
Too often
we don’t love
our neighbor as ourselves
if the neighbor seems
or simply
different from ourselves.

We find
those parts
of ourselves
we don’t like
in others
and blame them
of seeking to repair
what we don’t like
about ourselves.

A Reflection on Mary Magdalene

I’ve been thinking a lot
Mary Magdalene
ever since
stumbling across
George Herbert’s poem
of the same name.

As a straight white cis male
in the established church
I have the privilege
to not worry
the concerns of her sisters.

When I go to the bathroom
that matches
my gender identity
and gender expression
no one questions
my decision.

When I go out for drinks
I don’t have to worry
about someone
roofying my drink
or being found
behind a dumpster
by a swimmer.

I don’t have to worry
about getting paid
seventy percent
of what my coworkers make
or about a glass ceiling
limiting my career.

Yet there is all the more need
for me and my brothers
to wash our Savior’s feet
with our tears.

Ours is not the sin of commission,
through any fault of the victim.
Ours is the sin of omission,
of benefiting from injustice
and saying nothing
doing nothing
to correct
the wrong.

These Bones

These bones
are the young black men
killed by excessive force.

These bones
are the refugees
washed ashore
fleeing war.

These bones
are the students
and movie goers
of mass shootings
in America.

These bones
are the homeless
freezing to death
the transgendered
beaten to death
God’s children
who have not been shown
God’s love.

The bones
are the marginalized.

Can these bones live?
Prophesy to these bones.

Creating, Redeeming, and Sustaining S2S Communications - #eform16 @shamikalashawn @padrealberto @sspellers

Yesterday, during brief breaks from my work in social media at a Federally Qualified Health Center in Connecticut, I found moments to step into the social media stream flowing out of the eFormation conference at Virginia Theological Seminary.

I had thought about going to this conference. It seems right up my alley as a social media professional seeking to proclaim God’s love in new ways. I thought of the great Missional Voices conference I had attended a month or two ago at VTS. But the price of the conference was too much for me, and I’ve often been disappointed with social media conferences.

I understand why people charge for things. We need to make our ministries sustainable. So, I thought about what sustains me. I understand the role of money in our society, in needing to pay for food and housing, but when I think about what really sustains us, the Sustainer, and that “all good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above”, I rethought what sustainable ministries really means. I sometimes think that the gift economy and paying it forward are some of the best expressions of grace we see today, expressions we see outside of the traditional church environment.

I watched part of the beginning worship. It started with the valley of dry bones from Ezekiel. This is a story that has really grown on me over the past few years.

Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’

The service started off with a bunch of people lying around the base of the altar. When I first saw it, I didn’t think of dry bones, I thought of a ‘die-in’. Is the church learning from the Black Lives Matters movement, I wondered to myself? Is this a statement about refugees washing up on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea?

I saw what looked like Stephanie Spellers trying to get others to join her in prophesying to these dry bones. Her enthusiasm for bringing others into God’s work is what resonates for me. We were invited think about prophesying to dry bones in the 21st century. Shamika Goddard tweeted, “I don't always prophesy, but when I do I prefer to use Twitter.” I joined in with “Tweet, Rap, Freestyle, Free Verse, Free the oppressed, Declare Jubilee Show God's Love”

There were some good comments tweeted about flipped classrooms and audio story telling.

Yet some of it felt a bit too much like a social media marketing class. Creating a Church Social Media Plan: How do you get your message through in a media that is already over saturated with distractions? As I thought of the Sustainer, I also thought of the Creator. What are we creating?

In crafting media plans, you need to be aware of your audience. Is your communications Business to Business (B2B)? Business to Consumer (B2C)? Too often, it feels like people talking about church social media are talking about business to consumer communications. I think we need to be in the business of sinner to sinner and saint to saint communications (S2S). We need to weep with ‘Our Lady Mother of Ferguson and All Killed by Guns’. We need our communications, whichever medium is being used, to be redeeming.

Are our social media plans about getting butts in pews on Sunday morning, making sure that our metric of Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) is supported by new metrics of Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers? Personally, I dislike the ASA metric. Sunday morning is important to me. The buildings I worship in are important, yet as Shamika Goddard tweeted, I suspect quoting Father Albert Cutie, “Ppl are afraid for their church bldgs but they need to remember that the church started in the streets.”

We are created in the image of God. We need to reflect that image in our social media, not as part of a marketing plan, but as talking sinner to sinner and saint to saint, in seeking our voices to be creating, redeeming, and sustaining.

Random Facebook stuff

Over the past few days, I’ve added comments to a few things on Facebook and other sites that I want to share here.

There were a couple comments to the column, Faith Matters: Our history is stained with the truth of racism. They were both not supportive, so I felt it was important to add this comment:

Thank you for your wise and thoughtful words. You have placed the discussion about our shared histories in the proper context. How do we see every person around us as created by God, “fully human, fully deserving of a life lived with the same possibility for freedom, health and well-being as the life of anyone else”, whether they be the descendants of slaves, the descendants of slave owners, descendants of serfs, members of the Black Lives Matters movement, or someone flying a Confederate flag from the back of their pickup truck. How do our words show God’s love to all people?

A few people posted an image from Nihilist Memes that reads “Every Corpse on Everest was once an Extremely motivated Person”. I responded with a quote from Thus Spake Zarathustra:
“"thou hast made danger thy calling; therein there is nothing contemptible" -

Another friend posted a link to an article, Just One Day Without T####’s Name. The article had the name of the presidential candidate that I have redacted. If we’re not going use that name, let’s stop using it now. I responded,

Not talking about someone known for calling others losers or clowns is a start, but it really isn't enough. Instead,we need to replace it with discussions about important issues: How we feed the hungry, house the homeless, care for the strangers among us,, how we show God's love to all people, those who are called losers by politicians and even those politicians and their supporters who call others losers.

This is an important theme for me right now. Let’s post poems. Let’s post about issues, loving our neighbors, welcoming immigrants, celebrating Ramadan, speaking out against a culture of rape.

I did get a little political in a comment where I posted

To paraphrase a current Presidential candidate, Stanford University is not sending us their best; Criminals, Drug Dealers And Rapists are on their swim team and going to parties.

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