Author Archives: Brett Hart

You’re Leaving?

So, what’s the deal with Facebook? In hindsight I realize that I should have posted something here before I listed doxology.org as a way to get in touch with me. But better late than never!

So Kay and I were having coffee and talking on the porch this morning as we do most mornings and the topic of Facebook came up, and our general lassitude toward it and, really, social media in general. And without a great deal of fuss we decided to end our affair with social media. This came about without much angst, hand wringing, or bombastic proclamations but more as something that we have both been considering for a while which seemed good to do on this beautiful summer morning.

I mentioned the cost to benefit ratio. Here’s the calculation:

Benefit

  • I occasionally see cute and interesting things on Facebook; kittens, construction mishaps, grandchildren, etc.
  • I occasionally learn helpful things on Facebook; better ways to feed chickens, how to remove your name from the “watch lists” of certain foreign nations, etc
  • Occasionally I find myself in a situation where I could actually die of boredom without the distraction of Facebook.

Cost

  • I am exposed to the vitriolic angst of people I barely know, or don’t know at all most of which is expressed in reaction to the silliest of quasi-news reports or to the equally vitriolic angst expressed by other people in reaction to same.
  • I am exposed to the vitriolic angst of people I thought I knew well but could have done nicely without reading them distinctly NOT at their best.
  • I am provided, by Facebook, with the means to be absent from the body, where ever it happens to be, in order to be present in the ethereal world of social media. In other words, I can ignore the actual people I am with to pay attention elsewhere.
  • Facebook consumes time giving me the illusion of relationship while giving me almost nothing in return.
  • Since, in social media, it is practically impossible to keep my professional life and my private life separate; Facebook provides one more arena in which I find it necessary to keep my thoughts largely to myself while wishing that others would experience the same sense of constraint.
  • I am participating in, even if tangentially, something that I have come to feel is doing much more harm than good in society in general, and among those in my local communities in particular.

See what I mean? It just doesn’t work for me. Of course, it never did, but how can you NOT be on Facebook? To be honest, I have mostly avoided Facebook in order to avoid the negative costs, which, of course, meant that I mostly missed the benefits anyway. So why not just keep doing that?   It’s mostly that last “cost” on the list that motivates me. Maybe you too have been on the fence with social media and just needed a little nudge to make your exit. If so, consider yourself nudged. Sometimes we just need to feel like we have permission. If social media gives you more than it takes, feel free to continue to enjoy it! If not, you really don’t have to keep drinking from that hose.

Peace Returned

This is a repost of a blog written on September 6, 2011.

Venice

As I imagine spiritual relationships it is clear that I will not please everyone and will not be liked by everyone and (the startling realization) I don’t need to be.  Rather than dwell on those who do not see eye to eye with me I will do better to focus my attention and my energies where God’s favor has opened the way. Continue reading

God’s User Interface

This is a repost of a blog written on August 31, 2011.

Grommet

A couple of thoughts this morning while walking the dogs on the great lawn at Zilker Park – Redbud Island was closed due to what appeared to be parking lot maintenance.  I thought about God’s user interface. Continue reading

Am I real?

This is a repost of a blog that written during the Advent season of 2010.

Raindrops on windows

I heard God ask me a question this morning in the prayer room at the Austin House of Prayer. I don’t say that lightly. I had just read the account in the gospel of Luke of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary announcing the coming of the messiah and the part she was to play. Continue reading

Dostoyevsky’s Desk and the smell of stawberries

StrawberriesYou will need to know something strange about me before I tell you a story.  Whenever I am participating in guided prayer activities in which I am asked to imagine Jesus; what he looks like, what he is wearing, I always imagine Jesus in the context of a Mediterranean street scene in traditional Middle Eastern robes of the first century but wearing a baseball cap and eating fresh fruit.  Continue reading

Morning Manna

By Brett Hart

photo (8)I am back from my morning walk with the dogs at Redbud Island, sitting now on the small deck by the pond in the quiet of this cool winter morning.  I snapped the photo below just before the dogs jumped into the water making a mess of its mirrored surface.

Continue reading