luke-hackney:

Isolation of one, isolation of many
Luke Hackney

luke-hackney:

Isolation of one, isolation of many
Luke Hackney

joburcityhipster:

#architecture #architexture #sunrise #urban #city #johannesburg  (at The Constitutional Court of South Africa)

joburcityhipster:

#architecture #architexture #sunrise #urban #city #johannesburg (at The Constitutional Court of South Africa)

What our culture calls #blessed, I call a burden. My Sunday @GracePointSA sermon.

My Sunday @GracePointSA sermon. Climbing the tower and your most important step…

The video that preceded this Sunday’s sermon, “A Role to Play”

Of Superfriends and “dating” the church - my Sunday sermon from @GracePointSA. #gpBody

These Are My Children: Disposing of “they”

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Heartbreaking photographs abound.

The internet has brought us countless riveting images from around the world. We see protesters fighting for freedom. We see terrorists taking lives. We see devastation as nature reclaims her own and we see despair as humanity struggles to cope.

We see images like the one above. I don’t know how it makes you feel. I don’t know what thoughts come to mind as you look at it. Probably something along the lines of “that is so sad” or “that just shouldn’t be”.

We feel a twinge of something in our souls for a minute and then snap into reality and lament that they have to live that way. They are hungry. They are thirsty.  They are dying.

And until we live in a world we have disposed of “they”, they always will be.

One of the great blessings of spending part of my life in Africa is the way God shaped my perspective and removed my ability to look at photos like this one with impersonal detachment. It is also a great burden. Those girls…that photo…it is intensely personal.

And yet…we all choose to keep a safe emotional distance, just out of reach of responsibility.

That cannot remain.

We must not say “they”.

They are hungry? No, our children are starving.

They are thirsty? No, our children are desperate for clean water.

We must claim these lives. They are ours. Those ARE my children, roughly the same ages as my own two daughters. By a simple trick of geography, those girls were born into famine and my girls were born into abundance. But both sets of girls have equal value. The weight of their souls is identical. The love of the Father for them, the image from which they were cast, is no different.

I wept when I saw this photo. Those are my girls.Those are my precious babies, struggling to make another day. Those are my princesses, a continent away.

My older, Bella Areah (named for an African woman of incredible strength and compassion), is always looking out for her younger sister. She sneaks treats to her sister and shares even when selfishness would be far easier. And that younger daughter of mine, Brixton Elaine (named for a Johannesburg ghetto that is so dark and yet so ready for a new light), is fiercely independent and yet innately trusts her big sister. She follows in her footsteps with confidence, knowing that the path has been laid and is safe in the moment.

Those are my children. Those are our children. We must claim them. And we must make change to see them thrive.

I honestly don’t know what that means exactly. I don’t have the solution to end famine or cure disease. I do know, however, that it is not something that “they” are burdened with. It is ours as well.

We are in it together. As soon as we dispose of “they”.

Unfollow: How You Follow Too Many People On Twitter and What To Do About It.

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You follow too many people on Twitter.

It’s true.

Unless you are unabashedly part of #TeamFollowBack (desperate much?) or a business or organization that is simply looking for numbers to provide credibility, you follow too many people on Twitter.

If focus is the art of elimination, what noise do you need to eliminate from your Twitter feed so you can pay proper attention to the things that actually add value to your life?

Look at it the same way we look at cable TV. At some point, almost everyone has wished for “a la carte” cable options. You know, the opportunity to pay only for the 6 or 7 channels you actually watch, without being saddled with (and forced to pay for) CSPAN-2, the Outdoor Life Network, and the Menopause Network. You value a few channels. The rest just distract you.

Twitter is a la carte social media. Choose the people, organizations, and feeds that are interesting and relevant to you. And discard the rest. Without guilt. Focus. Eliminate.

Twitter is the last social media meritocracy. Each person on Twitter has a unique presence and tweets about specific things. I am a pastor who tweets primarily about church issues, soccer, Jesus, urbanity and South Africa. If none of those things interest you and you don’t personally interact with me, why would you follow me? I would be a guaranteed source of unwelcome or uninteresting noise in your Twitter stream. Click unfollow. I won’t hold it against you.

Consider some of the types of folks you probably follow needlessly.

The Redundant Tweeters: If you follow three people that all follow the NBA assiduously, you have the option of axing two of them. Pick the least interesting, least informative user and unfollow. Allow the best of the bunch to do the heavy lifting and know that you won’t be missing anything. If you follow two people who are always dropping leadership quotations into your feed and you’ve never met one of them, your decision is easy.

The Inactive Tweeters: Your old friend from high school, a co-worker, or a prospective client tweets once a month (usually including an Instagram picture of their dog, latte, or both) - feel free to let them go. If they need you, they can always tweet you with an “@-mention”. Take the opportunity to open that spot on your list for someone who is going to add to the conversation.

The Over-Tweeters: You know this person. They’ve decided that they will live-tweet every Sri-Lankan cricket match or Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game even though the official accounts for those organizations would do that already and you’d be following them if you cared. Unfollow. They are really interesting in real life but their social media is dedicated to a bizarre fan-love of Project Runway, the Jonas Brothers, or never-ending gifs from seminal 90s tv shows.  People have to earn the right to clutter up your brain space - unfollowing isn’t a judgment on the person but a conscious choice to free up a few brain cells to see what really matters to you.

The Aggravators: I hear all the time from people about how much they hate busy political seasons on Facebook. They complain about constant bickering and passive-aggressive sniping. I smile and suggest they try Twitter. Why? Because you can unfollow people who are simply pot-stirrers in your world. You can follow one or two accounts to get the information you want (no matter the side your on) or you can unfollow anyone dedicated to making sure the free world knows that their political opinions are superior. You have enough stress in your life. Twitter shouldn’t be a place where you find more. So if politics bother you, unfollow. If constant “look how cute my kids are” posts bother you, unfollow. Unfollow!

Irrelevant Tweeters: If you automatically zoom past certain tweets when you see a specific avatar, if you haven’t clicked someone’s tweeted links in months, or if you don’t remember why you followed someone in the first place - Unfollow! If they become relevant again, they’ll pop back on your radar. If not, then they’ll survive the unfollow.

The main twitter lesson is that it isn’t personal.

I follow a Spurs fan who spends the playoffs every year flooding Twitter feeds with information and opinions on the NBA. Every year, multiple people (his real-life friends) unfollow him until the playoffs are over. Nothing personal. They just don’t care to take on the basketball deluge.

I know people who give “trial follows”, short periods of following to see whether a new person fits in their feed. After a week or two, they know and they either move on with a new voice in their life or they unfollow and walk away. On occasion, I see people then re-follow after a personal meeting, a change in job, or relocation. Sometimes relevance is simply a factor of circumstance.

Social media can be an incredible tool, an invaluable source of information and relational connectivity. The value is eroded, however, when we can’t cut through the clutter to get to the good stuff.

So, if focus is the art of elimination…