apathy, likes and life of compassion

You could make the argument that tools are neutral.

A knife can be used for good or evil. I could use it to provide shelter/food/safety or for harm and darkness. I think this is why you hear people talk about things as a double edged sword. Good and bad.

The internet is very much the same. We talked about opportunity and connections yesterday and how the interest does so much for someone with intent. But wow do we ever misuse it. We abuse this tool in some really powerful ways. Like with so many tools, when we abuse it people often end up hurt.

It doesn’t take much to find the harsh and evil side of the internet. Go read a comments section on YouTube and you’ll get it.

But I think it can also build apathy for us.

“Well I said happy birthday on Facebook, what more do I need to do?”

“I liked all their pictures I don’t understand why we don’t connect better.”

“Of course I love my community I Facebook/tweet/email all the time”

The internet is the perfect space to, with almost no effort, present yourself as someone who cares. This is by no means universal but it’s so easy to do. So easy to like all the right things and share all the “proper” links so every can see and know how great we are. And then be done. No action, no follow through, nothing.

It’s so easy to be harsh and cutting to someone sharing a dissenting opinion when we don’t have to see them face to face. So easy to pick a fight and show how righteous or smart or whatever we are.

So easy to not love.

So easy to try and be right, forgoing unity and grace.

I’ve often wondered how true a representation of ourselves the internet is.

Is it the ultimate who we are when no one’s watching? We can look at things and no one will know. We can be cutting and mean because no one knows we wrote it. Just a screen name. It’s in a space where our local community will never see it. Does our real self come out when we know there are no eyes on us?

I don’t know but I wonder some times.

Facebook is the opposite. A perfectly crafted image of the person we want people to think we are. All the right movies, books and causes. Witty posts all to present some sense of togetherness or wholeness.

We have to be so careful to be consistent. That love dominates our online selves the way we try for it to dominate our offline self. We don’t get a pass because it’s the internet. We don’t stop being a disciple once we log on.

Even if no one knows it us.

money, money, money!

I decided I wanted pick a really easy topic for this week, so we’re going to talk about money all week!

See nice and easy. No one’s every gotten upset about money before right? I’m sure I read that somewhere.

Look, money’s touchy. We talk around it, we talk about it in abstract terms but rarely in a way that creates accountability. We don’t want anyone telling us what we should do with our hard earned money.

We have commitments and responsibilities and you don’t know what I’m dealing with so don’t tell me what to do.

Any of that sound familiar?

We are talking about money and to be honest if you don’t like it, tough. It’s an important topic.

I think one of the things we need to break when it comes to money is that is ours.

I know we’ve all heard it and if asked in church we’d say “everything I own is Gods” or something like.

No it’s not.

It’s supposed to be but it’s not. No worries, it’s a process.

One thing that we lack however is how to we begin or grow in the process of giving everything over to God. We know it’s all supposed to be God’s but I don’t feel like we have real tangible ways to start.

Here’s a start for you to try. It’s more about changing your perspective and getting you thinking than it is about huge monolithic change so don’t get too worried.

Think about your average week (reflection) and look at how you spend your money. Is there one thing you could change about how you spend (action)?

For me it was coffee. Ah, so dark, so delicious, so caffeiney. Caffeiney’s a word right? I’m just going to assume you agreed with me and move on.

At one point in my life I bought coffee almost every day. I was young and had some free dollars to spend. So to get my head in the right space about who’s money it was and get me to be more generous I started giving my coffee money away.

Some days that looked like be buying coffee for someone else. Some days it was me not buying coffee so I’d have some money to be generous in another way.  Some days I forgot and just bought myself coffee.

It didn’t cost me any more than I was already spending. I didn’t give up coffee at all and I’m not asking you to stop what you’re doing, just change it. Yes I had to drink coffee at work which wasn’t as nice but my budget didn’t change one cent

My mind however changed a bunch.

It just gets you thinking about money. It gets you thinking about how much you actually have and how you spend it and ultimately who’s money it really is.

Maybe you cut back eating out by one time a week. Maybe you buy 1 coffee a day instead of 2. Maybe you buy a sweat at the consignment store and give the difference away. Maybe you decide that you won’t by brand name groceries and donate the difference to the food bank.

I’m not asking you to change your budget, yet, just how you spend within it.

I’m asking you to start thinking about what the spending of a person who lives a compassionate life would look like and I think this is a good start.

bounus content: give presentation

A few years ago I was doing some writing encouraging people to be more generous. The idea was that people could be generous once a day. Slowly start a revolution of generosity.

So I made a presentation about why we should be more generous and what that might look like.

In light of yesterdays idea of looking at ourselves this presentation came to mind. There’s a call for reflection, action, and perhaps a push to give in areas you might not have considered before.

We’ll come back to our discussion of what holds us back from giving and living the compassionate live we are called to tomorrow and Friday.

Today, I hope you find the presentation interesting, challenging and again a call to look at how your beliefs about compassion and who you are do or maybe don’t line up with your actions.

 

 

 

am I doing this right?

I like metrics.

I like when I can quantify things. I suppose this stems from the fact that I am a huge nerd.

One of my favourite past times is fantasy sports. It’s just as cool as it sounds.

Basically, a person who could never play professionally sports, me, picks people how actually play professionally sports and puts them on their ‘team’. Then, whenever the real athlete does anything I get points on my fantasy team.

Just as cool as it sounds.

But this leads me deeeeeeeep into number crunching, building tables and spread sheets. I’ve even created statistics on relative value of players to know how and when I should pick the player.

Just as cool as it sounds.

I love numbers and metrics.  

But life so often doesn’t work like that. Life isn’t’ charts and tables and life is often grey not black and white. Over the years I’ve grown way more comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. I’m actually really comfortable with it now.

But when it comes to compassion I think people want yes and no answers. Does this count? Am I doing it right? Did I do enough?

We want hard answers, metrics to show if we are the compassionate person we want to be. We want a formula or ratio that says “if I volunteer 2 nights a week for 4 hours that’s 27% of my free time. If we compare that to the normative persons volunteering and factor in tithing 10% of my time I’m actually a good person because I give an extra 17%.”

But it’s not that at all.

I do have something that might help. It won’t tell you what to do but it will tell you how to do what you’re doing.

The question to ask is ‘does this lead to relationship?’

Is what you’re doing building new or strengthening old relationships?

So does helping out at the soup kitchen count? Well, are you building relationships while you’re there or just handing out soup?

Does what you do at work count? Well, are you building real and honest relationships?

Does helping my neighbour shovel their driveway count? You get the idea.

It’s not perfect. But it’s a good start.

The cool part is this doesn’t mean to you necessarily have to start or stop doing anything. I just might mean you do it with a purpose and intent you didn’t have before.