Tag Archives: twitter

Alternativity in the era of Trump, Kid Rock and Charlottesville

Deactivating creates some alternativityMy Twitter account is dead. It was compromised somehow and I started following a growing collection of interesting, and unknown people. I did the first steps of repair – changed my name and password. When that did not work, I discovered other repairs to try. Instead of trying them, I hit the “deactivate” button. You probably have done similar things by now that provide a strange sense of liberation from the web.  I will miss my connections with the Congo and the Middle East; we’ll see if they lure me back. But I won’t miss fame-seekers, marketers and hackers.

I have twinned my Twitter experience with last week’s exploration of alternatives to COBRA health insurance. Gwen retired from her job, so our health insurance was deactivated. We could no longer ignore what had been hidden in the gobbledygook of her pay stub. I plunged into the indignities of the AHCA website for the first time. I was hit, again, with the realization that the one percent has, indeed, managed to extract an extraordinary entry fee for the privilege of using their medical system.


Image result for kid rock for senate
Wants to be alternative

My twin experiences end up being a parable for this new era in which we live: the hopefully brief era of Trump/McConnell, Bannon/Kid Rock, the era of survival of the fittest effectively applied to the state-run economy, the era of scarcity among the wealthy and lack of community among the inextricably connected. I fled to prayer this morning when I woke up to it all. We are up against a lot.

False scarcity

Big communicators, like the Koch Brothers, convince people that there is not enough to go around, so you have to fight hard for what you get and protect it. Their evil message trickles into everything, as if we were not sinful enough to think it anyway. People are scared of losing their jobs, their homes, their future retirement money, so they give whatever it takes to stay afloat.

Fear mongering

Now it is threats against North Korea and Venezuela that the mouth-in-chief is piling up in the airwaves — and his approval rating actually goes up! Perhaps his followers in Charlottesville will succeed in creating the same kind of atmosphere that propelled Nazis into power! People are scared of violence, of losing security, so they cut off from people and demand protection.

Colossal foolishness

It remains hard for me to believe, for some reason, that the one percent is really wicked enough to follow the gospel of maximum profit for minimum expenditure as if it were salvation. As Weber famously explained it, the “spirit of capitalism” has profit as its end, profit as a duty, and cultivates industry, frugality, punctuality and honesty as the means to that end. Most Americans, especially Protestants, are completely conformed to this foolishness.

Christopher Carter’s complaints about it all made the rounds of my Facebook friends:

A car plows into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters to the white nationalists marching in Charlottesville. This is evil. And in the midst of it all, our administration (president and speaker of the house) release statements that say nothing of substance in order to declare that they said “something” to those who chant their names at these rallies.

I am not surprised by the racism of white people as I encounter it all too often. I am, however, hurt, and continue to be fueled by a righteous anger by the fact that 58% of Protestants and 52% of Catholics voted for a President whose life and politics are antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus.

We are in the throws of a theological crisis. Similar to times past when white Christians theologically accommodated slavery, then Jim and Jane Crow and lynching, and then segregation. Too many Christians mistake the individualist freedom of the State with the freedom we find in Christ. For these Christians, the State and the freedom (i.e. entitlement) they find in the racialized oppressive practices of our country, has become their idol. We must call this idol worship what it actually is, heresy. Unless your faith is rooted in the state, bathed in whiteness, and dried on the backs of the poor and people of color, it is incompatible to be a person of faith and support a president who does not speak out against this violence and who’s name is chanted by white nationalists.

What do we do?

We are trying to do it every day, no matter who hacks us or what it costs.

The Bible verse that sums up the proper response for me today should be much more widely applied than it is:

God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:24-7

The answer comes from being the Body of Christ, not just a reaction or a resistance, but an alternative reality.

The body of Christ is alternativity


Scarcity is met with mutuality and generosity in the body of Christ. We will have to do better than to think about it. But we are trying.


Fear-mongering is met with trust in what God puts together, not in what the invisible hand creates. We’ll need to integrate our faith into the actions of our daily life more. But we are trying.


Foolishness is met with truth telling, just like Paul boldly states the new reality Jesus is making. We’ll have to listen to the Spirit directly and in one another and test it out, not just flee, resist and resent. But we are trying.


Alternativity is the word we use to sum it all up. We are trying to live in it. Deactivating Twitter is my act of defiance as much as self-preservation. Tackling the health care debacle is about perseverance as much as survival. Writing this little post, complaining about our terrible experiences, griping about Charlottesville, denouncing Trump, quoting Paul, insisting that there are better ways and that we are living them right now is how I keep myself on track. And I hope it has helped you, too. We have an alternative reality to build with Jesus, and it can’t wait for things to get better.

A Little Tweet of a Defense of Twitter

Not too long ago, one of the staff decided we needed to be on Twitter, as Circle of Hope, to talk to Tweeters. About 20 million Americans access Twitter about once a month. A lot of them are in the age group we like to influence. A lot of them influence the age group we like to influence.

So the staff got excited about this initiative and put the word out on the Dialogue List. We are @CircleofHopeNet. They even put a tweety on the announcement! They didn’t mean it to be a major use of their time; just more fun ways to get the word out.

Not too long afterward a person wrote in to the Dialogue List and said, “This is sad.” Not too long after that another person wrote in and said, “Unsubscribe!” We had a micro-protest about Twitter! No doubt there are many other people who would have protested or unsubscribed had they checked their email!

I would like to make a gentle defense of Twitter-using. In the interest of full disclosure, I am @rodofcircle. I use it mainly for fun. The fact that I wrote this blog will also be made known to my few “followers.”

My main defense is this: Twitter is a tool. You don’t have to be a tool of Twitter. It is like
anything else.

Using a tool implies that you are making something. In this case Twitter could be building some community with people who use Twitter.

Not using Twitter is fine. Just because the staff is communicating that way doesn’t mean we have all succumbed to virtuality or that Joshua will be on a jumbotron next week at the PM. If you know of someone who is addicted to Twitter and not making relationships face-to-face, please do what you can do to help them. But not using Twitter out of some prejudice or knee-jerk reaction to anything faddish seems kind of ungenerous, maybe even fearful.

One the other hand, just going along with every social-networking thing the world produces isn’t necessarily action, either. Being tossed by every whim of technology could corrupt your soul. We are being assaulted on every side by some new invasion of our humanity by communication devices. Resisting is important.

I am not sure the Apostle Paul would have used Twitter; but it wouldn’t surprise me if he loved it. When Paul is working on how believers relate to the world, he has a lot to say (just do a little search of “world” in the internet Bible program). To the Corinthians he said, “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.“ He finds it kind of obvious that we would lose our purpose if we left the world, somehow. He’s all about the mission.

I suppose the Twitter-objectors might be judging the Twitter-users of the church and deciding not to associate with such immoral people. I doubt it. (But I am checking.) I  suspect they are more concerned that we are becoming like the foolish people of the world, sucked into our devices and calling it relating. If that is their point, I think they have a good point. I think Paul’s point is that we don’t need to leave the world before our time. We’ll be associating until the time for associating is up. I think I am agreeing with Paul when I say that we don’t need to be “of” the world, but we do need to transform it. If God can be a baby and end up a slave to the world, I can hold my nose and use Twitter to communicate with the Twitterians.

Actually, I think Twitter is kind of fun. But I don’t recommend it to people who don’t want to use it to communicate for some eternal purpose. I don’t really do much, consciously at least, that doesn’t have some connection to Jesus, so Twitter is just one more thing. If you aren’t able to use it for mission, reject what you like. If I am trying to make an eternal difference, just pray for me if you think I am using questionable means. For me, Twitter is just another chance to give some news, be vulnerable, share a small touch of love or joy. It is like a tweet, but it is still music.