The E-villes of Smartphones and Social Media


Is it just me or does it bug anyone else when people share memes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or Pinterest (or some other social media site) that say things like “This used to be social networking.” and then show a bunch of people sitting outside chatting around a campfire or having dinner together or hanging out drinking coffee? Ironically they are likely sharing these using the *gasp* that necessary evil…the smart phone. [cue foreboding music]

Last time I checked Facebook, people still go camping, sit around the fire pit on their patio with friends and talk, still go out to eat (actually probably more than before social media was invented) and I don’t know about you but every time I go to Starbucks there is always a line and the place is chock full of real live people having real live conversations. In fact, I personally know lots of people (one of them named me) that use social media to arrange to meet people for said, coffee, dinner or hang out time. Most of the people I know are going to concerts, traveling, meeting for a beer, going to the movies or participating in the Tough Mudder with other real live people. Know how I know? I usually see pictures, a check in or a call for more people to join the team…where? On said (anti)social media. (see what I did there?)

I mean who among us has missed the Louis C.K. anti smartphone diatribe on the Conan O’Brien show? If you haven’t seen it you can watch it here.

It is all about how smart phones are toxic, “especially for kids”. (we must save the children!) To hear him tell it, smartphones have a life of their own and cause people to do evil things. First, Louis believes that smart phones are making kids less empathetic. For my money, kids are exactly the same as I remember them when I was growing up. I have two kids (who both own phones – in the interest of full disclosure) and they are both kind and funny and have actual friends that they do actual things with. Louis makes the point that it is easier for kids to say mean things online where they can’t see the other kid’s face and maybe that is true. But here is the thing…mean kids are mean kids and they don’t just say mean things online. It is not as though, if smartphones and the internet didn’t exist these kids would have been kind, handholding, Kumbaya singing peaceniks. I don’t know about you, but I grew up in the 70s and 80s before everyone had a smart phone and most of the people I talk to who are my age or older were bullied by someone at some point. Does social media make it easier to be mean on a bigger scale? You bet. Is this the phone’s fault or even Facebook’s fault? Not by a long shot.

Next Louis argues that phones have taken away our ability to just sit still and be ourselves. Only if you let them. Listen, I love my iPhone, my iPad and my laptop. I am also a big fan of the social media. But my phone does not tell me who I am, it merely reflects who I am. If you are a selfish narcissistic ass, social media will probably showcase that.  If you are a politically active person, it will probably show that, etc., ad nauseum. I think sometimes we dislike social media because it can reveal a side of ourselves we prefer not to admit we have. It is sort of like being a parent. Sometimes when I am getting on to one of my kids about a flaw I perceive in something they have done or neglected to do, I have an “aha” moment where I realize the reason why I find that particular behavior vexing is because I see it in myself, too. And in that moment I blame my kid for all my inadequacies. Um, NO! Why? Because my shortcomings are not my kid’s issue. They are mine. Just as my neuroses are not because of social media, they are just reflected in it.

Louis also says we use our phones to combat the feeling that we are alone, to distract us from our sadness so that we don’t feel it in the same way. He talks about sadness being poetic, he says we are lucky to live sad moments, that we should stand in the way of them and let them hit us like a truck. Then he says something any person who has ever been truly sad knows is bullshit…”When you let yourself feel sad, your body has like antibodies, it has happiness that comes rushing in to meet the sadness. So I was grateful to feel sad and then I met it with true profound happiness.” All, ladies and gentlemen, because he didn’t pick up his cell phone when he started feeling sad listening to Jungleland.  While it is true we should not laugh in the face of what sorrow brings, have any of you actually been able to overcome profound sadness by hopping on Facebook for 5 minutes or tweeting? Probably not. I know I haven’t. But what social media has done for me in times of sadness is actually to show me I am not alone. It has allowed others to reach out to me. It has helped me feel connected. I personally think that is a good thing.

Does social media have the ability to hurt people? Sure, as much as any other way we as humans have devised to communicate.

Lastly, Louis asserts that because of phones we never feel completely sad or completely happy, “you just feel kind of satisfied with your products and then you die”. I have news for Louis C.K.: People have looked for ways to numb themselves to their pain for as long as there have been people and pain. Do some people use their phones to numb out? Sure. Does that make phones evil? Personally, I don’t think so.

I have seen this interview on Conan posted over and over…ON SOCIAL MEDIA. I see the memes about how much better life was and how much more connected we were before social media…ON SOCIAL MEDIA. And of course, I see statuses that say things about how social media makes them angry, or cynical or depressed…ON SOCIAL MEDIA.  May I humbly suggest to us all that perhaps the smartphones and the social media sites are not the problem; perhaps the way we are relating to them is.

First Ever Interview: Living in Chronic Pain with the Whiskey Preacher

“Every time I look for God amid sorrow, I always find Jesus at the cross, in death and resurrection. This is our God. Not a distant judge, nor a sadist. But a God who weeps. A God who suffers not only for us but with us. Nowhere is the presence of God more salient than on the cross. Therefore, what can I do but confess that this is not a God who causes suffering. This is a God who bears suffering. I need to believe that God does not initiate suffering. God transforms it.”   – Nadia Bolz-Webber from Pastrix

Recently I was invited by Phil Shepherd aka The Whiskey Preacher to be the subject of an interview for his blog.  Turn about being fair play, I asked if I could interview him for Word of a Woman.

In the last couple months Phil has been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease and is living with chronic pain.

Following is our discussion on living with that pain…

In the next day or two I will be posting the flip side of this video in which Phil talks to me about my personal evolution to becoming an LGBTQ ally.

Please look up Phil at:

Outlaw Theology on Patheos

On Facebook

On Twitter

The Eucatastrophe

Phil’s personal webpage

Tell Me More About Your Daughter.

So as you may have noticed, I have not posted since last week. This has a lot to do with the fact that my kids have both been in camp on opposite sides of town for the past week and a little bit to do with the fact that I am trying to get some things accomplished before we go on vacation (especially since there will be friends staying at the house while we are gone). Every day I have been getting up in the morning fully intending to write to all you fine people out there in the blog-o-sphere. Well today, I am happy to say I am back. I am not sure however how many posts you will see between now and when I get back from vacation on July 5th.
That said, I am really. REALLY. R E A L L Y. Super-duper ready for this particular vacation. Not only do I get to celebrate my life with Kent and what it has meant to me for the last 25 years. I get to look into the future of our life together as well. And, if that weren’t enough, I get to share the trip with my amazing parents, fabulous other parents (Kent’s Mom and Dad) and our freaking ridiculous friends.  Oh yes, and I forgot to mention I will also be celebrating my birthday while we are there too! Yes, I know what you are thinking, “This trip is going to be EPIC!” You re right my lovelies it is going to be epic.
Now on to the topic of the day…


Here is my question for those of us with both sons and daughters, do our news feeds say more about our sons than our daughters?

I am thinking that those of us who have children of both genders, need to make sure we mention the accomplishments of our girls as well as our boys and not just on Facebook and Twitter. It seems like, in my feed anyway, the exploits and accomplishments of our boys are sometimes more frequently reported. Of course our boys’ accomplishments are important and should be shared with family and friends. And I am not saying we should start counting our posts and keeping a score sheet. I am also not claiming to be perfect. I guess I am just making an observation and thinking it is something to be aware of. Society in general already has a tendency to focus on the accomplishments of boys (especially in sports). Personally, I love keeping up with my friends and their boys but I want to hear about their strong, brave, imaginative, funny spectacular daughters too. For some of us, I think if we went to our friend’s house for a barbecue they would know exactly what to talk to our boys about but would have no clue what our girls are into.

Please hear me, I do not believe that any of my friends are intentionally sharing less about their daughters and I am sure they do not realize that it might seem that way to someone else. However, I think this is something we should be aware of when we are talking about our children to others (even on social media). Some kids in our families share more of our interests or have hobbies or sports that are easier to post about. I personally want to be careful to show both of our kids that we are proud of their accomplishments and that we look for good things to say about each of them.

Also please understand I am in no way asking you to gossip to me about your children and their most embarrassing moments or current struggles. I would just like to see your daughter’s painting or see her gnarly kick flip. I would like to know what it is about her that makes you admire her strength.

I will go first. I love my daughter’s view of life. She always looks for the good in people and situations. She likes to find ways to encourage people. She love to read, she loves to play guitar and she currently wants to be a marine biologist who trains spy dolphins. She rocks. And oh yes, she has killer comedic timing.

Your turn.

I will leave you my lovelies, with an encouragement for all of us with both daughters and sons; we need to remember:

Our girls (and boys) need to hear us praise them in public and not just for their appearance and not just on social media.
Others need to know we value our daughters as much as our sons.
Our daughters’ need to be shown not just told that their interests, accomplishments and sports are just as important as our sons’.

This will help combat the messages our girls receive all the time that they are somehow less than boys because of their parts. I want Rosalind and Caedmon to both know that we categorically reject that thinking and that we find them both to be equally amazing.

Grab your Loop and Run like Hell -or- Hang Ten

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. – Dr. King


The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. – Alice Walker


As I reexamined that memory on light of justice I was beginning to realize that I wasn’t being neutral at all. My lack of conviction had been an accomplice to the unequal treatment of women. My diplomacy was misguided. In my quest to maintain peace and unity, I had become a woman with a divided mind and heart.  – Pam Hogeweide, Unladylike: Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church.


over time, we have been sold a bill of goods on what it means to be a christian woman.  we’ve been domesticated, tamed, caged, and limited.  we haven’t been properly valued or empowered or nurtured.

so here i am, in a place i never thought i’d be. an ex good christian woman. wreaking havoc on the norms that women are supposed to have in the church, encouraging women to get their voices, pursue their dreams, quit waiting for their husbands to lead them and live a passionate life for God no matter what other people tell them they can or can’t do. to seek change for their lives, quit doing the same old unhealthy thing in their relationships and learn a new way. to seek God’s love and approval instead of human’s. it’s been hard for me to make the shift. i still feel shame for feeling this way. even as i write this, i am wondering what person is going to say how unbiblical i am, how if i just knew my role and leaned into it i would have God’s perfect peace. you see, good christian women are filled with shame. shame for the things we do do, shame for the things we don’t do. and i was a great christian superwoman. – Kathy Escobar


Stop waiting for someone to say that you count, that you matter, that you have worth, that you have a voice, that you have a place, that you are called. Stop waiting for someone else to validate the person that you already know you were made to be.  Stop holding your breath, sister, working to earn through your apologetics and memorized arguments, and your quietness, your submission and your “correct” doctrine what God has already freely given to you.

Because, darling, you are valuable. You have worth, not because of your gender or your calling or your marital status or your labels or your underlined books or your accomplishments or your checked-off tick boxes next to the job description of Proverbs 31.

I imagine them around a fabled table, in suits, no doubt, pulling the chairs in tight and tighter, until they are the only ones left there, crowded around a tiny table in an airless room that feels small and smaller. Me? I stand outside, in the wilds, banging my pots and pans, singing loud and strong, into the wind and the cold and the heavens, there is more room! There is more room! There is room for all of us! And then I’ll slide right up next to you, I’ll hook my arm through yours, I’ll lean in, I’ll whisper right into your ear, quiet, loud, it will sound like I’m singing or like I’m preaching, and I’ll say, there is room for you.  – Sarah Bessey


At first I thought this would be a good letter to the 16 year old me and then I realized that in spite of the struggle and the difficulty and the muting, I am who I am right now for a purpose. Lovelies we were born for such a time as this. Do you get how exciting this is? Do you get how your struggle has brought you to the point where you are standing atop the surf board, salt air in your face, hanging ten as you ride toward the shore with the wave of equality and freedom at your back propelling you into a future where there is ROOM FOR US ALL?

We stand once again at the terminator of history. The terminator or twilight zone or gray line is the moving line that separates the illuminated day side and the dark night side of a planetary body. We are coming out of the darkness and sit expectantly in the gray zone, but instead of merely waiting for the light to arrive I picture us like the people who unfurl those huge flags at the Olympics opening day ceremonies. When the music starts they grab their loop on the flag and they run like hell for the other end of the field until the full beauty of the banner is visible to all.  I picture each of us, Rachel and Sarah and me and you and Pam and every woman God has made, grabbing the loops to our collective banner, yelling into the air, “FREEDOM!!! (like Mel Gibson in Braveheart)” as we run like hell for the goal line. I picture the stands full of people watching and waiting to see what kind of banner it will be. And let me tell you when it is finally displayed for all to see, when the full picture comes into view, WOW, my lovelies is it something to behold! The colors of the lives of the men and women made in Gods image bleeding together and showing a picture, the image (if you will) of God! Holy crap. Can you just picture it?

Now, imagine all of us, men and women, young and old with Jesus in the middle, our hands on the loops of the terminator of history running like hell for the horizon pulling the light of the new dawn across the whole surface of the earth. Do you hear us? Shouting and singing and proclaiming justice for the oppressed and freedom for the captives? C’mon. Grab a loop and run with us. And look! He is making all things new.


This post is part of the Rachel Held Evans synchroblog event, One in Christ: A Week of Mutuality.  You can follow this event on Twitter by entering #mutuality2012 to read all entries by participating bloggers.