Social Media Musings

I have been thinking a lot about social media such as twitter and Facebook. I have now gone more than a year without being on Facebook and not even having an active account. I am often asked about this and what my thoughts are relating to it and to be honest I have said a number of things. Though I would say I do not believe that Facebook is evil or wrong, I would say that I believe it has the potential to be destructive. Now of course we know that there are many things that can be destructive but are not inherently evil, such as alcohol, sex, money, etc. Yet we still use those things. I think the more important question in relation to what we use is why we use it. The thing for me is that if I am going to use something I want to know that I have a clear “why” to it. Facebook for instance seems to me that the reason many people use it is because everyone else is using it. This is justified by statements like, “that is where my friends are” or “that is how we keep in touch” even as far as “we are closer with Facebook than anywhere else, cause people will share more personally on Facebook than they would face to face”. I am just not sure that those are legitimate reasons or that they are even entirely true (nor that this is an exhaustive list). Recently I attended the Simpson lectures at Acadia Divinity College. The research that was presented related in part to social media and it was discovered that people in the focus groups over and over stated that they believed they had closer relationships because of social media. I followed up by asking if this was even true, as we know saying we feel something is true and it actually being true are not the same thing. The answer was uncertain as the quantitative research relating to that question was not completed. Call me a skeptic but I am not certain that it is actually true.

This has all come out of a lot of conversation that Beckie and I have been having lately regarding intentionality in what we do. We don’t want to do something because it is popular, we want to do it because we see that there is clear intention and reason behind it. This relates to Facebook in the way that it can be something that sucks time away, but instead is used in a way that genuinely reflects the heart and truth of our family. That is why we exist, primarily for the Glory of Christ. If this is not the chief driving force behind why we engage in social media then it is a purposeless endeavour. Let me clarify though that I know it is fine to speak of things and mention things that we enjoy and think are humorous and the like it is important to remember that even those things reflect what we believe about God. I appreciated a book by Shane Hipps, though I do not agree with everything that he says in all places, I believe what he shared in The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture in regards to the famous statement attributed to Marshal McLuhan “The Medium is the message”. By this alone there is a distinct way in which we immediately say something about who Jesus is by saying that social media is a necessity even for the sake of the Gospel. Many times people say “we preach the same message just in a different vehicle”, however there is always a way in which the medium places things on the message and therefore in order to proclaim the same message we need to try and interpret what else the medium could be adding to the message so that we can indeed do the best we can to be faithful to the Gospel that we proclaim. It is the most important thing in existence so we should spend some time thinking through the implications of how the medium affects the Gospel.

Now before I am labeled someone who is anti social media and technology let’s be clear about a few things. I am writing this on a computer, it will in some form be posted on a blog, and anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of technology and its use. Even to the point where my physical handwriting has no doubt suffered because I write anything that I possibly can on the computer because my ability to remember where all my papers and notebooks are is sorely lacking. I also do maintain a twitter account currently and am in fact considering getting back on Facebook. I just want to be someone who intentionally asks questions of what we are doing and why we use what we do. I don’t want to be someone who uses something simply because it is available or because everyone else is on it. I want to be someone who carefully posits my motives and comes to the conclusion that I use it because it is a purposeful way to express the truth of the Gospel through proclamation in life and in voice (or type).

I have found myself even censoring myself when I consider who may or may not read something and thinking about my desire not to offend someone. Yet though I indeed want to approach things with as much Grace as possible I need to also profess truth, in love of course, but truth none the less. Faith seeking to understand is probably where I find myself at this point in my life. And that is not a typo I do not mean faith seeking understanding (though I do believe that) I mean faith seeking to understand. I want to seek first to understand things and speak with wisdom, dignity, and grace into those things. An article I read recently has made a massive impression on me huffingtonpost.com/shane-l-windme… It, I believe, shows people with differing views come to a place where they disagree with dignity and grace and still show a genuine care and compassion for each other. I think grace and understanding is being sought here. What amazes me most is that in the church we don’t even do this that well. We argue and accuse and wound over secondary issues that don’t have to do with the primary essentials of the Gospel rather than seek to disagree over those issues in love and reflect Christ well in our disagreement.

I don’t know that I have made any real conclusions on anything except to say that I am asking the questions, I am seeking to understand, I am seeking to honour Christ and put any fear of man aside in light of fearing Christ and placing Him first. So I end with the verse that has been a staple here in our home for the coming year. “that in everything Christ might be preeminent” Colossians 1:18b

R&R: reconnecting & restoration

We just spent the last week in Nova Scotia for the Simpson Lectures (Chris was attending). We were pampered and well cared for by my grandmother.

At first I went to NS thinking it would be a relaxing week to catch up with friends and family. What I’ve been getting has been so much better. Deep conversations, connecting with my wonderful grandmother, and challenges to chew on. God is stirring things up and I’m thankful for it!

Here’s a few photos from our week in the Valley:

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Refined by Fire

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3

This morning I woke up thankful for my trials. This is the first time in a while – if ever – that I have been thankful for hardship. Normally I would be crying out to God to deliver me from struggles but this morning was different. I felt truly thankful!

Over the last two years we Keezer’s have had many hardships. In all these times I can look back and say, “wow, I can’t believe I made it through but look at how much God grew me through this experience.” I have seen how strong I can be with His Spirit to strengthen me and I am refined because of the fire I’ve walked through.

The verse in James is one I quoted over and over in the last year. During the hard times I didn’t feel that my struggles were very helpful, and it was hard to feel joy at the time. I would quote Gods truth until I did believe – if that makes sense.

Life is hard! And there are two ways to make it through. Hold your head up and take it one step at a time or hide under the covers. With the strength of Gods Spirit I can choose the former!

Gods word talks a lot about trials – because life is filled with them. Here’s another passage of scripture that I find encouraging:

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7 (NLT)

The Spirit is with us through it all. May we suffer well to bring glory to God!

What’s next?

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I often see a glimpse of myself in my daughter. Unfortunately she has taken on some of my *habits*. This week after church she was asking if we could go out to eat for lunch. Now, when I say “asking” I mean again and again and again and again…you get the idea. She will ask myself and Chris many, many times.

I do that. A lot. I ,myself, can drive Chris crazy. I will ask until I get an answer – or hear the answer I want. I would say of my greatest weaknesses is, and always has been, patience.

This plays out in most of my life but especially in my faith. I don’t to like to wait for an answer from God. I want it now – and sometimes expect it before I have to ask. I want to know the next step and how that’s going to play out.

God never promises that he will give us “the big picture”. We are to trust in Him and he will direct us as we walk in obedience (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Waiting isn’t so bad! The Bible talks about waiting on the Lord – A LOT! One verse that comes to mind is Isaiah 40:31 “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Rather than exhausting myself – and others – by my incessant nagging I need to wait. God knows what is best and when is the best time to reveal the answers to my questions. I’m thankful for God’s continuous reminder in his word! I often forget.

I’m not as impatient as my 4 year old but I still have some work to do! Thank the Lord for His patience with me!

Keeping things simple

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Ephesians 4:22-24 says,

“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

I have recently realized that I am too hard on myself. I have high expectations as a mom, home maker, wife, and just overall. It hit me a few days ago that I need to chill out!

When I shared my ‘epiphany’ with Chris his words were AMEN! I’m sure he’s said these things many times to me but it never sank in.

I’ve decided to do a few things differently to give myself a break:
– Be thankful! I often get bogged down with what I need to buy, budgeting, or what we may need at that time rather than take the time to inventory all that we are blessed with.
– make supper simpler. I don’t need to make a gourmet meal every night. My family is happy just to have food on their plates – well not Natalee, she’s in a new phase of hating anything and everything mommy does.
– sift through my clothing and only keep what I love most and wear often. I don’t need any more decisions in my day than necessary.
– take the time to look at all the things I’ve accomplished in the day rather than focusing on things still to be done.

I have done these things over the past week and what a difference! It’s amazing how fast negative inner-talk can bog you down! This “putting off the old self” stuff is hard work! It takes time. It takes making mistakes and learning from it. I’m thankful to have a God who forgives my selfishness and encourages my progress. I also have a pretty great husband who supports me.

Here’s to continuing in imperfect progress. Cheers!

January 23

Life continues on in the Keezer home. It has been very cold (-19 and a wind chill of -30 or so). So we’ve been enjoying the sunshine from our back room. It’s my favourite place in the house because it has windows on 3 walls. It’s a lovely place to relax, read, or take an afternoon nap.

Here are a few photos I’ve taken over the last month:

Christmas with Mr. & Mrs. Keezer

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New Years at Bob’s house on the ocean

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Playing in the snow

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A trip to Charlottetown to play at an indoor play-place and enjoy Swiss Chalet (compliments of a lovely couple who gave us a gift card for Christmas)

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My new cozy sweater made by our awesome neighbours – check out Ureshii online!

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12 of 2012

How is hour New Years progress coming? I like to take my time to process the previous year and plan for the upcoming. I hope you are not discouraged in your goals. We have many tomorrows to accomplish our 2013 resolutions!

2012 was hard for me in many ways. I wanted to close the book on 2012 with 12 things to remember and be thankful for (in no particular order):

1. Spending 5 days as a couple in sunny Orange County California at the Resurgence Conference was one of the biggest highlights. We learned lots and were challenged. We also met Mark and Grace Driscoll. Overall it was a dream come true for both Chris and I.

2. Our new home. We’ve moved just 400m from where we were before but this suits us much better. We have an extra bathroom, more living space, and a lovely enclosed back yard for the kids to play. Plus we are already connecting with the neighbours.

3. A beautiful summer. I don’t have a specific memory but we spent lots of time at the beach (minutes from our place) and the weather was nice and hot through the season. Our potato farming friends could have used more rain but we thought the weather was just fine.

4. A big blessing in 2012 was moving to PEI for Chris’ job at the church. Chris was without work or working odd jobs for a while previously. We were thankful to have some stability again and truly where God wants us.

5. Making new friends and connecting with old acquaintances. Moving sometimes means having to start over. Not for us! We have felt so welcomed and were able to reconnect with Chis’ university friends and family we rarely saw previously. Plus our church family has been awesome!

6. The blessing of another pregnancy. This is fairly self-explanatory.

7. In the spring we began Dave Ramsey’s FPU. It has been pivotal in our finances!

8. Last winter i found the Leading and loving in online conference. I was so encouraged as a pastors wife. I look forward to it again in a few weeks!

9. Celebrating 5 years of marriage!

10. Cutting out Facebook. What a time absorber! I was finally convicted enough to shut it down for good. I’ve been freed up to focus better while I’m home with the kids and be more intentional with my friendships.

11. A new love of reading. I was never a big reader. I joined a book club with some of my mom friends and its just exploded from there. In the last year I read 7-8 WHOLE books! I know that seams silly to avid readers but I am notorious for starting a book and never reading it to the end.

12. Our farmers market and getting local food from our weekly veg box.

I have been apprehensive as to what 2013 will bring but I am choosing to anticipate a great year. As my goal for this year I am learning to be more thankful.

Our families’ theme verse for this year is Colossians 1:15-18 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

Happy New Year!

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