Over the long President’s Day weekend, we drove to Vermont to visit Nora’s “second mother” (a nurturing presence in her life since childhood). Naturally, I took my bike:
On Sunday, we went to her small Baptist church.
It was a solid service and message, but I wasn’t very enthused when the pastor emphasized what power and reach each of us has in our hands. “Just think, Facebook has more users than the population of any country in the world,” she said.
I’ve never seen anyone saved on Facebook. Rather, it’s more of a forum for reinforcing preconceived notions with like-minded folks, and yelling past those who think differently. And for sharing cute dog pics. 🙂
For Christmas, I received “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World“.
Normally, I avoid reading about climate change because it’s a downer topic with no easy solution. The environment is a classic ‘Tragedy of the Commons‘ scenario, where individuals have little to no incentive to conserve a scarce public resource.
But the book’s author – Katharine Hayhoe – takes a more optimistic approach.
Part of it is her identity – she’s a Canadian Christian living in Texas. She knows that conservation is good stewardship of what God has entrusted to humans. It hits the Venn bullseye of loving God and loving your neighbor.
Part of it is her approach. She learned early on that data and facts don’t drive change. Science is easily disputed and ignored.
Instead, it’s about having “small conversations” and finding “shared values.” In other words, talk to people you know in ways that matter to them. To your birder friend, talk about the disappearance of species. To your snowboarding friend, talk about fewer opportunities to shred natural snow. And so on.
The same is true in helping people learn about Jesus. It doesn’t happen through posting eternal damnation memes on social media, or proselytizing with a megaphone on a street corner.
It happens in loving relationships where you know someone well and can speak to their individual needs.
Funny enough, it’s the same thing that worked before smartphones – or any type of phones – ever existed.