Artist: Jubly-Umph

“It’s good to do uncomfortable things. It’s weight training for life.” –Anne Lamott

It seemed like a good idea. 12 weeks before the presidential election I thought I would post little encouraging videos every Tuesday to see if they might encourage dialogue about how we could make this season more healing, less wounding. That didn’t happen. I was quickly introduced into the wild, wide-open world of social media.

Usually, I post to my relatively small circle of friends – pictures of family, life events, and once I posted a picture of an extraordinarily rare meal I actually cooked myself. These posts in my adventure into a wider world of social media were public. I created a “business” site and allowed Facebook to circulate my posts for a small fee. I learned Facebook can reject my content; and they did – about subjects from addiction to the election. So I registered to be a “political operative,” giving Facebook the right to identify that I was the author of the material and paid for the post. Me? A political operative? I can hear my adult children laughing.

Here was my thought: it would be worth it to give a piece of my soul to Mark Zuckerberg to get a chance to promote my new book – Belonging: Finding the Way Back to One Another; to plant seeds of kindness; and to talk about good news in a world way too full of bad.

I was not prepared for the comments. Although Facebook told me 1000’s watched the videos, I’m not sure how many watched to engage with my content. Many wanted to post their own content – about our president, our former vice president, each other, and me. Let’s just say I’ve never heard so much “potty” language since my children were toddlers. (Just maybe that says something about the mindset we’ve accepted for grown men and women in the tumult of these times.)

Art by HollowTreeVentures

I have two more weeks to go to fulfill my commitment (to myself) for this weekly Tuesdays Together project. I’m really not offended by the responses I’ve received. Many have been kind, supportive, and encouraging. But I am sad. We are living in a world marked by distance, division, and disconnection. Experiencing this world in a new dimension (for me), made me ponder:

What stories are you willing to walk into? Whether it be on Facebook, in a small group, or at the grocery store? What makes the Gospel good news is who it pursues not who it excludes. This project has made me ask again: Am I willing to stop debating other people’s perspectives (and potty pictures) and, as Brene Brown writes, “show up, be seen, and love without an agenda”? (from Belonging: Finding the Way Back to One Another) I’ve always been challenged by the words of Donald Miller, “Real love stories don’t have dictators. Love is an ever-changing, complicated, choose-your-own adventure narrative that offers the world but guarantees nothing.”

Several months ago my friend, Nick Richtsmeier, and I were talking about the high cost of being right, and I expressed my fear of being known and seen – especially on social media. I despaired, “What about all those trolls hiding between our posts – ready to fight, show off, diminish us?” Nick quietly spoke profound truth. He said, “What if I’ve become one of the trolls?” Wow. If we want to be “liked,” our side to be winning, we can easily use our words as weapons. The good news is the opposite is true. This is why before we engage in any kind of conversation, we need to ask: “What am I really looking for?” As I learned in my Tuesdays Together adventure, we do not live in times when we can impulsively post our perspectives and not count the cost.

Art by

As I’ve pondered this experiment of engaging more fully on social media about potentially controversial subjects (What isn’t these days? Even pumpkin spice lattes are cause for debate!), I’ve been reminded of the good news I really do want to flavor all of my conversations with, because:

If Jesus will go to the end of the world and hang on a cross to get one self-absorbed, fear-filled, people-pleasing woman who can be petty and easily perturbed (that’s me) – he will go to anyone, anywhere – even on Facebook. You see I am really the image-bearer of God – loved before the foundation of the world, brought into a deeper story of beloved belonging and allowed to invite others into that story as well (from Belonging: Finding the Way Back to One Another).

Where is this strange season we are in taking you? The Kingdom of God is for democrats, republicans, trolls, toddlers, oddballs, outcasts, liars, addicts, fools and the totally uncool – willing to “show up, be seen, and love without an agenda” – because we are hungry for More.

Will you join me in these next weeks – come what may – in answering the call of our Storyteller God: “Go. Invite everyone. Whisper or shout, Welcome. There’s bread and wine. Come sit and eat with us and talk. ‘This isn’t a kingdom for the worthy; it’s a kingdom for the hungry.'”(Rachel Held Evans)