the land of shiny things

For the next few Thursdays, I’ll be posting my thoughts on each chapter of @stickyJesus as part of Michelle’s read-along. You’re welcome to join us! The chapters are short, and it wouldn’t be that hard to catch up.

I did warn Michelle that we’ve got our own Read-Along going on (wooo to the woohoo! I’d be THRILLED if you’d join us!) and that would be my first priority.

But I like to juggle.

So @stickyJesus. If the title seems whacked to you, you’re probably not on Twitter. And that’s okay. Basically, Twitter is a social networking site like Facebook but used for different sorts of things. It’s a little shorter, faster, maybe shallower but doesn’t have to be. Tami Heim and Toni Birdsong, the authors of the book, did a great job of sharing how Twitter (and all online interaction) can be used to bring glory to God.

Now that’s what I’m talking about. The subtitle of the book is How to Live Your Faith Online, which happens to be something I’m very passionate about. Which also happens to be a huge part of the writing project I’m working on right now. Cool how God orchestrates this kind of stuff.

The first chapter of the book starts off with a little fiction narrative about The Land of Shiny Things (where we all live). The piece starts when you wake up and ends when you get to the office (which would be your desk at home for many of you).

Chitchat and office banter exist to delay the euphoric cliff dive into the shiny stream of e-mails and other online destinations corralled on the other side of your shiny laptop screen… you are persuaded of your unique presence as you join the other 1.9 billion people on the planet who inhabit the internet daily. You need to know and be known, and there’s little room for God in this shiny equation.” (p. 6)

Gulp. I can so relate to the euphoric cliff dive.

But lest you think this is a book decrying the rampant (over)use of technology, it’s absolutely not.

Relax, Tami and Toni tell us the next page over. There’s no need to renounce your residency in the Land of Shiny Things or mask the evidence of your connected life. There’s no shame. This is the hour to which you’ve been born–so by all means, power up! Just power up the way God wants you to. That means with a God-breathed strategy, Holy Spirit power, and divine discernment. (p. 7)

Whether you ever plan to read the book or not, I’d love to get your thoughts on some of the ideas I’ll be posting here on Thursdays. Be careful what you say though. It just might end up in a book (with your express written permission of course).

So tell me:

1. What kind of boundaries have you set in place (in theory anyway) so that your life is a healthy balance between online and face-to-face interaction?

2. Would you consider yourself an embracer or a balker of technology/social networking? Please explain.

Thanks, friends, and have a great day! I’ll notify the Scripture Spiral winner later today!

p.s. Other people will be linking their Chapter 1 posts over at Michelle’s but as of right now, she doesn’t have hers up yet.

15 thoughts on “the land of shiny things

  1. Mel

    1. Boundaries are definitely a good thing. I sometimes step away from blogging, Twitter and Facebook for a time. Especially if I find myself kind of down. I am an introvert by nature and being online allows me to become “invisible” sometimes….so I don’t have to interact with others at all and I have to be very careful that doesn’t consume me.
    2. I am absolutely someone who embraces technology. My husband and I share that common love of all things shiny.

    I love that feeling of “closeness” that I feel with others who have words to share and love Jesus. My greatest hope by reading this book is I learn to effectively share this journey with others through technology as well as through face to face interactions.

  2. Michelle

    1. Boundaries are something I knew of yet didn’t want to follow them until reading this book. I don’t like limits. I’m an all or nothing kinda gal…so boundaries were hard for me. I didn’t use them (and need them) until I realized it was affecting the one’s around me.

    2. I am diffently an embracer of technology. The key is balance.

  3. Tami Heim

    I am a big advocate for boundaries. I have set times I go online and work hard to control the amount of time I am on there. The only exception is twitter. If I find something interesting or I think others would like – it only takes a moment to do a little update and send it off. Those may happen randomly during my offline time.

    In the book we talk about the importance of being ‘present.’ I try, by God’s grace, to practice that discipline of BEING THERE. Boundaries help me do that – when I am with my family, friends, or work colleagues in person, I want them to know they have my full attention.

    I fully embrace technology – it’s a tool we have – for such a time as this. I want to make sure I am doing all I can to use it in a way that reflects the character of God and helps make Him known to others! #ShineOn

  4. Sandra Heska King

    So glad to join you in this read-along!

    1. Boundaries: I’m on both Facebook and Twitter. Interestingly, I’ve found my online presence has become an extension of my face-to-face interactions and has introduced me to others face-to-face. For me, after a while it’s all become jumbled up.

    2. Even more an embracer after reading this book. 🙂

  5. Nina

    1) I love, love, love being online, and my boundaries are set in place “in theory” only! They are something I’ve had to work at, with limited success. I give myself limited “blog-reading breaks” at work. (Thankfully, Facebook is blocked from our work computers, or it would be a problem, and not just for me.) At home, my “in theory” boundary is to wait until my daughter’s asleep, but I don’t always succeed at that. I know, it’s something I need to work on.

    I suspend my Facebook account every now and then if I find I’m spending too much time on it. Facebook hasn’t really been an issue for me lately, though. I’m more of a blog junkie. The one-line status updates and comments of Facebook give me a white-noisy kind of headache after 10 minutes.

    Like other commenters, I don’t really “get” Twitter. I had an account for a couple of months, but I rarely used it, so I cancelled it.

    2. Would you consider yourself an embracer or a balker of technology/social networking? Please explain.

    Ha. I actually think of myself as a Luddite, until I remember that I’ve been using e-mail (good ol’ AOL) since 1994. I tend to be a balker at heart, though. In my job (technical writer), I tend to whine and moan (inwardly, of course!) when I have to learn a new technology. If my job weren’t so technology-centered, I doubt that I would be as social-media-savvy as I am.

    1. Nina the embarrassingly frequent commenter

      I meant to add, and I totally forgot until after I posted this, that online communication has been something of a godsend for me because I’m a hearing-impaired writer. I’m able to communicate with people much more clearly and successfully when I can use my strength (writing) and not worry about my weakness (hearing). I think that’s one reason that, for me, the Internet has been such a wonderful thing for me–and such a temptation to addiction.

  6. sandee

    Interesting topic…. I will enjoy this through your questions…since I just can’t add another book right now (am waiting for your read-along after Christmas)).

    so to your first question, I say: BOUNDARIES!!?? We don’t need to stinkin’ boundaries! lol jk.. I must admit I have never set time boundaries as to online. More place boundaries. Since I work for a techno company….. I am online all day…my best friend is in another state and im has been our conversation for the past 11 years! I actually prefer online in the work setting, love online stories and God encouragement, and home and craft ideas. I chat more online, then off…except with my kids. WIthout it, I would have very little adult conversation. I have learned so much from my online friends.

    That said, I know I too often turn online when I am sad, or bored or down…first…rather than God first. God has used encouragement from those online (Ann Voskamp is a BIG one for me…) but I do know at times, I have gotten lost in the shiny pretty things and not focused on what I should focus on. (I love Ann’s post series on sharing our God stories online and what that does to both the writer and the reader) I do limit my online time when I am at home with my kids. It is only after they are in bed…and then only for a few minutes. My main online time is lunch, breaks and actually working.

    I have embraced facebook, have been a blogger for a few years, and use IM at work, and texting on my phone…but avoid tweeter and all the other options out there.

    This should be interesting as your reading progresses.

  7. valerie (in TX)

    boundaries?? ummm…. (crickets) Actually, I guess I do have a few, although I’ve never intentionally thought about it. I almost never get on the computer until after my kids are in bed (which, unfortunately, can result in some late nights!), and I try to make sure I’m not talking on the phone when they get in the car after school.

    I guess I’m sort of in-between an embracer and a balker of technology. I have a blog and read tons of them, communicate a lot by texting and email, but don’t have a smart phone and am not on Facebook OR Twitter….nor do I want to be. 🙂

  8. Nancy

    1. What kind of boundaries have you set in place (in theory anyway) so that your life is a healthy balance between online and face-to-face interaction?

    I love being on my computer! I spend all day on it at work and it’s the first thing I want to do when I get home. I really need to set up some boundaries as my husband feels he’s sometimes (most of the time? ugh!) competing with my computer. I’m working on that!! As far as face-to-face with others goes, I actually started something I refer to as my “face-to-face tour” earlier this year. I’ve tried to intentionally come face to face with people who are friends on FB, arranging lunch or some other kind of get together with them. I had lunch with one friend I hadn’t seen in probably 20 years. And if it hadn’t been for FB, I wouldn’t have connected with her at all. Now we have a constant game of Scrabble going on FB at all times.

    2. Would you consider yourself an embracer or a balker of technology/social networking? Please explain.

    I would say I’m a “reluctant embracer”…meaning I’m usually reluctant to jump on the bandwagon at first, but then once I do, find I can’t live without it! I am on FB, but have no interest in Twitter. My phone is for phone calls only. I’m afraid to get one that has more capabilities for fear I’ll get sucked in and never return!! I’m an avid (with a capital A!) blog reader, but don’t have one of my own. I think they call that a “creeper”! 🙂

  9. Jen Hanson

    1) Bounties: I generally limit my facebook friends to people I actually know and/or am still in face-to-face contact with occasionally. As far as balance goes – there are a lot of people who I now have stronger friendships with because of facebook and the blog-world (::ahem:: – you, for example), but with my local friends, I have to be careful not to rely too much on facebook and texting. It takes a pathetic amount of effort sometimes to pick up the phone and call them or go out to coffee to catch up – after all, I just looked at all their vacation photos and status updates – what more is there to know? Ugh. I’m so lame sometimes.

    2) I was resistant to facebook at first but now love it as a way to keep up with long-distance friends and family. Twitter I don’t really see the big deal about and will probably never get one, partly because I don’t have a smart phone and don’t really plan to get one of those either. I’m addicted to the Net enough without being able to check it from my phone.

  10. Rachelle

    1. some of the boundaries I have set: First at work (outside my home) when an employee is in the office(they come and go) I do not get on the computer. This provides opportunity for face to face interaction, where I intentinally pay attention.
    At home, I limit computer time, usually, to when the kids are not home,they are in bed or doing something else. I am not on the computer when anyone is expected to arrive home, I want my family to know how important they are to me and that I am “present”. I think it is important to greet my children and husband at the door, pleasantly.

    2. I am an embracer of technology! I have been online since the early 1990s and got my first cell phone in 1991 (it was a “bag phone” in the car). Remember those? I knew very few people with a cell phone back then! I was sooo cool! 🙂 I will admit to dragging my feet concerning Twitter. I never got an account. I had phone internet and got rid of it after I realized that I was on it ALL THE TIME. Clyde would be asking me something and I answered with “huh?” WAY too often. sad.

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