Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Schooling...

I have heard it said that "the net imitates life." So, with that in mind, I feel the need to share with you something that has been on my heart for quite some time. I have the need to address some issues that present themselves on the web in the form of social media. Now, I am a big social media fan; I blog (duh), FACEBOOK, and I even Tweet...I also have a Google+ account and my world of tech is getting full. However, what I have understood is that the social conventions we apply to real life cross over to the web, especially on sites like FACEBOOK and Twitter and blogs.

Just think, you are sitting behind a screen with nobody looking over your shoulder as you read this. You can be tempted to waive any common courtesy and personal discretion because you think you are anonymous. I find it interesting that people feel protected behind avatars and aliases, privacy controls and the alleged small viewership of their online affairs, but the fact is that we really don't know who reads about us, has researched us or saved online mementos of us to their mental or computer hard drives. I have to admit that managing our online reputation and online relationships require a level of self consciousness and some tact. There is no "net police" to ensure we deliver our social graces, but that is why we need to be reminded of "netiquette" or "Web Etiquette." The gauging questions for all online activities should be: "would I do this in a face to face relationship and is the essence of the conversation fit for everyone to see?"

I have said it before and I will say it again, "I think that people self disclose too much on FACEBOOK and social media in general." What I have found in the lives of people (maybe even you) is that many people have started to avoid difficult conversations by simply sending an email, an update or a tweet. Generally speaking, sensitive conversations should occur face to face. If you are a believer that Matthew 18:15 is a verse that you MUST live by. Let me refresh this for you! "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over." This is where many believers #fail...actually #epicfail! Instead of setting time aside to meet with people face to face we throw our 'stuff" out on the web with no discretion (to which I would say that many people are cowards!) #justsaying

Listen, face to face conversation limit the possibility of misunderstandings and allow for the nuances of facial expression and inflection. It's personal and it is biblical. If the individual or individuals are open to having a face to face meeting, a third space such as a coffee shop will diminish feelings of awkwardness. Phone conversations are second best, but still a good alternative.

Publicizing a private conversation on a wall post, in case it isn't obvious, is open to all to see. FACEBOOK wall posts are completely public to all your friends (unless you tweak your privacy settings). So, I come back to my original point that private matters should be handled privately and if at all possible, face to face.

Think about it, you're leaving your digital signature on the Internet right now...ON MY BLOG. I have your IP address, I know when you come in and go out; I know what page you have come in on and what page you left; I know how long you have been on this blog and I know when you come back; I know if you commented or not, even if you think you are anonymous. I know! (but actually I don't care) With all that in mind, think about the consequences of our engagement on any social site. Racial slurs, criticisms without warrant and blatant abuse! These don't fly in real life, and they really have no place in the social media simply because you feel that you are anonymous on these sites.

We need to consider how our comments would be perceived before we actually post them and think about logic above emotion at all times. Above all, think about maintaining a certain level of professionalism since people can use whatever you make "permanent" on these sites against you. Before you hit "post" realize that this will be a permanent reflection of your identity and that it may never be erased. It may even be used against you. This even applies to those who play FACEBOOK games during office hours. I have heard it said "My boss is not one of my friends." That may be true but our world has been made so small because of social media that you have no idea who is connect to who and how. I am amazed how many people have lost their jobs because of a momentary lapse of judgment and posted or played a mindless game on FACEBOOK during office hours.

Try not to carry out private conversation with another person on a FACEBOOK wall or Twitter. Those excluded from the conversation are left to read through the back and forth dialogue as either unwilling or overly interested bystanders (Creepers). By skimming through someone's wall post, you can easily find out where people are working, who they are seeing, where they have traveled and where they currently reside. There are available privacy setting for restricting who views your wall....then use them, not just to protect your own privacy but also the privacy of others, but then there are ways to get around that as well...many of your friends have their settings wide open!

Remember that social media communities are real relationships, real conversations, and as such they should be treated like they are real. It is not about me, myself and I mentality. It is about the collective, the community and the common good. Every post we write needs to be purposeful, on topic and well thought out, otherwise you are wasting people's time on screening and filtering. We have all seen trivial posting on FACEBOOK, Twitter and some blogs, about the banal daily activities that people engage in. If you are a movie star, being followed by a fan-struck populace, maybe they all want to know when you brush your teeth, but for everyday people, this is just overcrowding the web with information clutter. If you must share your daily travails with intimate friends, then create a private group of those closest to you, or use the social network's email service to connect directly to them and them alone.

On another note, I am convinced that many people abuse application invites and consistently invite friends to participate in "vampire, mafia or farm"games that most don't really care about. We call this SPAM! A word to the wise, if your friends are interested they will likely join without your encouragement. If they don't accept the first time, then don't send the group request again! Ask people to join via an email, wall post or direct message...

There is no place for narcissism in social media. Another SPAMMY thing to do is to use your social network for self-promos (ie: daily status updates on your next sales event- or whatever). If that is the only reason you use social media, you will find that people will lose interest in what you are doing. If you, however, "salt and pepper" your account with other interesting tidbits and correspondence then people are more apt to follow you! BTW people get tired quickly of posts that are always negative and how hard your life is... #justsaying Try being positive and #lookonthebrightside of life. Also, posting on how a business is rude or money robbing, maybe one that represents "unwashed vermin" reflects a lack of professionalism and integrity on you as well.

I share these with you because I am concerned that many folks, especially believers are defaulting to hiding behind a screen and not interacting with people the way that GOD intended.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday Morning Mind Dump

Encountering GOD and his healing work in our lives is a process, it takes time. However, many people still carry and hide their pain and have not properly address the deep emotional and spiritual wounds in their lives and they haven’t shared those wounds with those who are the closest to them.

So, I ask what are you carrying today? What is your pain? What is so deeply embedded in your heart that hinders you from moving forward in your life with the relationship closest to you?

Lately there have been some high profile weddings in the media, so this got me thinking…

Why do relationships break down? Selfishness We are ALL selfish people! AND…when we view our relationships as an opportunity to get all of our needs met rather than as an opportunity to serve someone it will always go bad.

When we date, we usually make extreme sacrifices for one another…but for some reason people think when marriage happens the sacrifice stops, when in actuality it needs to increase. I’ve NEVER seen a marriage go bad when both of the people in the marriage were focused on sacrificing themselves for the purpose of serving the other person. What is it that you need to give up for your marriage to go to the next level?

Marriage seems hard…because…it is hard!!! AND…many marriages fall apart because things are not easy…and rather through fighting FOR the marriage couples allow the stress to cause them to fight IN their marriage.

If there is stress in your marriage…you are normal, especially when you add the pressures of schedules, expectations, kids, job, finances and day to day life. Too many couples allow stress to separate them when it should actually solidify them and bring them together.

If your marriage needs help…ASK!!! If I’m sick and simply deny it and refuse to go to the doctor…what was a small issue can wind up turning into an issue that could kill me. If there is a problem in your marriage THE BEST thing you can do is confess the issue and ask for help! Doing so doesn’t mean you are weak…it means you are godly!!! (James 5:16)

Many marriages have been destroyed because pride dominated the couple…and a simple issue that is easily correctable with the godly wisdom of others is allowed to go unattended…and it always destroys. Marriage CAN work…and it DOES work when we are determined to do it God’s way.


Monday, August 08, 2011

You Can Make a Difference!

The Soul Sanctuary Golf Tournament was established to raise funds and open doors of opportunity by providing funding for shelter and education to less fortunate children on the island of Java, Indonesia. Soul Sanctuary accomplishes these objectives by working together with our partner, All Hands Held which was established solely for the above mentioned goals. All Hands Held is in the memory of two amazing young women who lost their lives in a flash flood (January 22/2003) on the island of Java, Indonesia.

These two women were each volunteering for one year period to work with and help the children of Indonesia. Their names are Alana Fife and Hannah Showaker, and their example of selflessness and commitment to these children is the standard by which we measure our success.

All Hands Held was created by far too many people's efforts to mention them all here and has partnered with Soul Sanctuary from the time the Church was established. The foundation has grown each of it's seven years of existence, by building on small successes and having a strong and committed foundation of people (100% volunteers).

All Hands Held has several well established programs which are described as follows...

- The Satya Wacana University Scholarship program. The goal of this program is to provide a total of 21 full four year Scholarships (one for each year of Alana Fife's life) to deserving students who otherwise would be unable to have the opportunity for a post secondary education. Currently there are three young adults enrolled, one in the faculty of law, one in the school of music, and one in computer programming and one pending.

- The Hannah Showaker Memorial Bursary Program. This program currently provides for two bursaries of $1000 USD (at Satya Wacana University) per year and is awarded to gifted students who are unable to continue their education due to the lack of financial resources. Currently one of these students has a 4.0 average and is already accepted into the Satya Wacana University Scholarship program for next year.

- The Satya Wacana Computer Program. Each year computers are purchased and loaned to students in the two above programs to give them the tools they need to succeed.

- The Wisma Kasih (orphanage) Educational Sponsorship Program. Each year All Hands Held will pay the tuition, transportation and lunch for up to 65 students at the orphanage. In Indonesia families have to pay a monthly tuition for elementary, and Jr and Sr High school or the children do not attend.

- In the past we have donated up to $15,000 USD to the Wisma Kasih building fund. The new orphanage opened up in January 2007 and the facility is beautiful. This year we had two members from Soul Sanctuary go and inspect the premises and they have come back with glowing reports in regards to the conditions and management of the facility. The building was partially funded by an All Hands Held/ Soul Sanctuary joint effort.

- The Wisma Kasih Library and computer learning centre. This new library opened in May 2008 and is a resource to enable the children of the orphanage to grow and succeed. The computer centre has 4 new computers complete with high speed internet.

We are asking YOU to get involved in any or all of the following ways:

1. You can SPONSOR a hole $100 $300 $500

2. Contribute a merchandise prize for the tournament, which will be recognized at the dinner.

3. You can enter your own foursome/couple/single and join us for a relaxing, fun and enjoyable day to show your support. Entry fees are $100 per person which includes a charitable donation receipt and a fantastic supper.

4. DON'T Like golf? FANTASTIC....come for the dinner and be a part of the bidding! There is room for all! Bring a friend and come and make a difference!

Further inquires can be made by contacting tournament organizers at soulgolf@gmail.com. More information can be found at the Soul Golf Tournament website at http://soulgolf.pbwiki.com

Most people have no just how far their donation to this cause goes. You are literally changing lives!