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Why I am Leaving Instagram

I like Instagram. Of all the social media platforms, I feel that it is the only one of the big three (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) that has not been weaponized and has positive elements for connecting with friends and family; but I am still leaving. Why? Well first let me share with you a brief history of my social media journey up to this point.

I began my journey with social media in 2005 with a little platform called, MySpace. My best friend Scott and our wives were both at our adoptive family the Reeves for the holidays, and he showed me his MySpace page, I began to dig around his page and found that a friend of mine from Junior High back in California was living in Collegedale, TN. I thought, “how cool is this; I would have never found her without MySpace.” Immediately I created my own MySpace page and thus began more than 13 years of steady addiction. MySpace of course eventually phased out, and the new cool kid on the block was Facebook, I loved Facebook in those infant stages–before it became toxic. I then took notice of Twitter when Ashton Kutcher was battling CNN to become the first Twitter user to reach one million followers in 2009. By the way, Ashton Kutcher is not even in the top 100 of accounts followed in 2019 and his one million followers which seemed huge in 2009 is now a paltry sum to Katy Perry’s 107,000,000 followers. I signed-up then for Twitter but didn’t start utilizing Twitter ’till church politics began to get a little intense around 2010 or 2011. What I loved about Twitter even though I was following the rhetoric of church politics was the easy access to articles, blog posts, and real-time news stories shared on Twitter, but then it also became toxic. And finally just three or four years ago I became a part of the Instagram world. I didn’t get it at first, but then I began to love it. I have a lot fewer followers on Instagram than I did on Twitter and Facebook–so I feel like there are people there I want to connect with. Which is also nice because that means almost every picture I look at is of someone I care about, except for Candace Cameron Bure, Kristen Bell, and Kelly Slater whom I also follow. At one point I was on all three platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Then…

Almost two years ago I left Facebook, I actually tried to leave in 2011 but quickly got pulled back in. It took a couple of weeks for me to adjust, but the two years without it, I’ve been better off. Then six months ago I left Twitter. I did so because I had just experienced two intense weeks in church politics and our world politics, filtering both through the lens of Twitter and all the anger out there was becoming my anger. I took one week off in the midst of some important church meetings, I still kept up with what was happening at those meetings, but did so without Twitter and you know what, something was clearer to me than the previous weeks–Jesus is still in control, and I didn’t feel that way because the meetings were awesome or went the way I wanted, it was just because I wasn’t letting the Twittersphere dictate my thoughts.

So now that brings me to Instagram. Why leave Instagram if I like it? Why leave it if it hasn’t become toxic as Facebook and Twitter did? Because all those case studies that set out the optimal client for the social media industry, addicted, click-happy–yeah, that’s me!? And three events opened my eyes to this:

  1. I was sitting in a one-on-one meeting at the office. I informed the individual I was speaking with that Christina (my wife) would be texting me some info about the kids, so forgive me for checking my phone. Well at one point she did text, I received the text, told the person it was my wife, they said no problem and kept on talking. I responded to Christina’s text and then without even thinking I immediately clicked over to Instagram and began scrolling. The person I was meeting with had no idea. They kept on talking. But I knew. As I said to Christina later, here I am the Senior Pastor in a meeting with a member and rather than giving that person the full attention I’m mindlessly scrolling through Instagram.
  2. Christina announced, “Sunday we are going to do a purge of our closets.” I had seen, through another friend’s Instagram, about this type of tidying up referred to as “Kondo.” So I googled “Kondo” and discovered that it is a reference to a Netflix show about an organizer named Marie Kondo. I browsed some of her videos on YouTube, got motivated and Sunday I purged, and also Kondo’d my drawers and closet (I can’t wait to do this with my books and office at work). But during the project, I had the intense urge to take a picture of what I had done and Instagram it out to everyone. And at that moment it dawned on me, every time I do something “good” I Instagram it out and then people “like” my post and I feel affirmed. Two things about this: First, as someone that struggles with ego already I don’t need to have it inflated and second, posting what I post puts a false picture of me out there. This was confirmed when I told my friend I was leaving Instagram and she said, “oh I’m going to miss seeing what a great dad you are.” Now, this friend has known me since I was eight years old and been a close friend since I was 13. She was a bit hyperbolic–she is well aware “great” is not the appropriate adjective for me; still, when she said it, it confirmed what I was afraid of, the real “me” is not being put out there on social media, and I’d rather have no “me” out there than a false “me.” I never post the pictures of my kids after I’ve yelled at them unnecessarily, or the side of my bed when I have five dishes that need to be picked up or of me after I’ve chosen not to go for a run.
  3. And now for event number three and the event that should have driven me away from Instagram weeks ago but I am dull and slow sometimes to hear God’s promptings. My middle son, Landon, is by far my biggest cuddler. He loves to cuddle his dad–I’ll never feel unloved with Lando around. One night a few weeks, maybe even a month ago I was “cuddling” Landon and scrolling through Instagram, he was asking me questions about the pictures, “who’s that?” “Do you have any animal pictures?” “Can we watch the people crash on the skateboards?” etc. After a ‘bit, I said, “Okay bud you go to sleep. I love you.” And Landon said, “Dad you haven’t cuddled me yet.” I said “Landon stop trying to stall. I’ve been cuddling you the last ten minutes.” His response, “You weren’t cuddling me. You were on Instagram.” It stung but not nearly as much as it should have. Now jump forward a few weeks, Landon as he was heading to bed asked, “Dad will you come to snuggle me.” “Yes, I’ll be up in a minute.” And then he called back, “Snuggles though Dad, no Instagram.” He remembered my focus on Instagram over loving on him, and it was seared into his brain.

Three events. Three reasons to quit Instagram. My mental health. My spiritual health. My relational health with my family (when I told Christina I was leaving Instagram she was happy, that says something to me also!)

So this was a long post to communicate such a simple act. But I do so for two reasons: First, it may help someone who is considering similar action to take that step (I do believe life would be better off if we all left social media completely). And my second reason is that when I went off Facebook, some were irritated that they could no longer talk with me through that avenue. Then when I deleted Twitter, some people were hurt with me thinking I had blocked them from my account, which was not the case, I just wasn’t there anymore. Now with Instagram I hope everyone out there will understand, I appreciate y’all, I will miss y’all. But I think for me, 13 years of social media is enough, and I am ready to break my addiction and just be what I think will be a better and more present version of me for my family and the church I serve.


President Donald Trump, The Media, & Twitter

To some of my readers I want to give a quick warning. There is not a Spiritual lesson I evoke out of this post. This is just some randomness I was pondering as I did my long run today. If you hate politics or political takes or opinions then just go ahead and click to a new page now. -Chad

Here we go…

Donald Trump tweets out that the media is the enemy of the people. The media responds by blasting that tweet all over their news coverage, while claiming that such a statement is dangerous for America. Donald Trump stands-up in one of his rallies and points to all the media and calls them “fake news” and tells the audience that “those people are losers” and or “harming America.” The media not only is broadcasting this live, they also then rerun it over and over again.

Donald Trump recently stated, “The media will ultimately support me.” The reason he believes this is because “I’m good for ratings.” I have a little news flash, the media already does support him and it is because he is making them money. And in my humble opinion no matter how much they claim to dislike President Trump they must like money more because they consistently throw fuel on his fire and encourage the very behavior they claim to hate.

There is a lesson the media needs to take from every parenting book ever written, “whatever you give attention to grows.” If you only pay attention to your child when he or she is misbehaving that behavior will increase! The media not only reports on what some feel is bad behavior (not everyone actually does agree that it is bad behavior), they go on and on and on about it.

If the media really believes the President is bad for the nation and our world then they should only report and then give ZERO commentary to anything he says, and in some cases don’t even report.

In the United States there are 232,000,000 MILLION eligible voters. Guess how many Twitter accounts there are in the United States? 68 million (and that number is down from 69 million last quarter). For those of you that are not Twitter users let me share with you a couple insights about that 68 million number. Many of those accounts are not even people. They are businesses, advertisements, news service accounts. There are also a number of accounts as we all know that use Twitter that were started by someone’s grandma to be cool and they’ve never looked at their account again. There are a multitude of fake celebrity accounts, and as we now are aware of following the 2016 election from there are a number of dangerous bot accounts!

You get my point. Of the 68 million Twitter accounts in The United States the actual individuals that those accounts represent is far less than 68 million.

That means of the 232,000,000 million eligible voters in The United States if someone didn’t tell them and inundate them with updates they would NEVER know what was said on Twitter by Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Ellen DeGeneres, or, yep you guessed it, President Trump.

I have been following politics, sometimes to an unhealthy obsession, since I was 16 years old. I am now 40 years old. No politician in my lifetime has ever been covered like President Trump. Now someone could counter “well there is just so much more access now.” Yes but there are 100’s of other politicians and we don’t cover them like we do President Trump. And President Obama served in this world of access, but he wasn’t covered the way President Trump is being covered and no it is not because of “fake news.” Even Fox is covering President Trump MORE!

If the media really believes that President Trump’s tweets are ridiculous and even dangerous then don’t put them up and exponentially increase his reach! And don’t cover every rally and speech he gives and then act surprised that he attacked you (the media) while the cameras were live.

I have to say, I agree with President Trump on this point: He helps the media’s ratings (see this link or this one ). And for that reason the media will continue to scream and holler about how horrible President Trump is, but the more they scream the more he’ll keep doing what he’s doing, because “what gets the most attention grows.” And unfortunately it also grows them the most money.

WATCH THIS! PLEASE!

This sermon is by one of my dear friends and one of the best preachers. Find an hour and watch this message…I have not been moved, convicted, rebuked, encouraged more by a message in years!

Scripture Memorization 4 of 52: 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

-2 Corinthians 5:17

We should not define for ourselves what it means to “become new” in Christ, rather we should let the Bible define it for us. If I define “newness” apart from the scriptures I may make “newness” into the image I want it to be in. I might say, “well I no longer swear therefore I am new.” Even though I may gossip. I might say, “I no longer do drugs therefore I am new.” Even though I may never exercise or drink water. I might say “I no longer fornicate or commit adultery.” Even though I may have lust in my heart. Do you see why it is dangerous for us to define “newness” in Christ for ourselves?

Scripture Memorization 3 of 52: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What a challenging text! Not to memorize, but to live by!

Rejoice always…REALLY?

Pray without ceasing…REALLY?

In EVERYTHING give thanks…REALLY?

To read this text without pausing to think about what it means is daunting. And even when we do have an understanding of the meaning it can still be difficult, but it is a great scripture to put to heart because the words of Jesus are true, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) And if we learn in the midst of the trouble of this world to rejoice, to pray, to give thanks we will find a way through those trials and tribulations.

Scripture Memorization 2 of 52: Proverbs 3: 5, 6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5, 6

The meter of the poetry literature of scripture makes this text and others like it more easily retained within our memory banks. In fact this scripture like last weeks (Psalm 119:105) is likely one that you put to memory years ago, maybe even when you were a child receiving a star on the memorization chart in Sabbath or Sunday school. I know that is true for me.

Fifty-Two Scriptures

At the beginning of 2016 I announced to my church and here on my blog that I would be blogging through the Bible daily. I took this challenge on to help motivate our Spencerville Church family to study the Word of God consistently. It was an ambitious goal, but one I thought I could definitely achieve. Needless to say, I WAS WRONG! I believe I only made it through about 140 days give or take a few. Praise God though many still read through the Bible in a year even without the motivation of my daily blog.

Now in 2017 our church has once again set forth on an endeavor to read through God’s Holy Scriptures in one year. If you would like to follow the reading plan that Spencerville Church will be following in 2017 (a different plan than last year) you can do so by signing-up for our weekly update at the bottom of Spencerville’s website, and since we are already into 2017 here are the readings for this the first week of January:

Worship Service From Spencerville December 24th, 2016

Blogging the Bible: 2nd Thessalonians

I want to focus on chapter 2 verses 9 & 10 from today’s reading in this post.

As a pastor there are people whom like to share with me all kinds of “conspiracy theories” especially as they are related to the “end times” or rather the role those “conspiracy theories” will play in bringing about the end of time. Often these “conspiracies” are secrets, things most people can’t see but they are happening.

In the scriptures there is absolutely no evidence…

Blogging the Bible: John 1 & 2

Today we began the Gospel of John, to many their favorite Gospel and according to some polls like Biblegateway.com’s poll the favorite book in all the Bible with none of the synoptic Gospels in the top 10. John is not my favorite of the four Gospels (Luke is my current favorite, it used to be Mark, so one day it could be John :)), but it does possess some of my favorite passages in all of scripture like John 3:17…yes I know everyone else talks about John 3:16 also great, but I love John 3:17.

One of my favorite stories, a story that some scholars doubt that it should even be in the Bible or the veracity of it, I embrace it as a true part of the canon, John 8:2-11.

And of course John gives the most clear picture of the role of the Holy Spirit in all the Bible (John 14-16)

The Gospel of John is a great book and you’ll be blessed reading a portion of it every seven days for the next several weeks.

In all the Bible there is much we can spiritualize, which is not always a bad thing, it helps us add personal application, but at times we should address what is really being said because those perspectives can add great application as well, just such a topic appears in the first chapter of John,

“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” -John 1:11

I have heard and I have applied and I do apply this to myself and really all humanity. Since we were all made by Him John 1:3 in a true since we are all Jesus’ “own people.” But that application is really a spiritualization of the text. The literal idea/intent John is expressing is that Jesus, came as a Jew, came to the Jews–first–His own people–His remnant, and they rejected Him. Now John is not talking about individual Jews, he is speaking of the corporate system of Judaism. Why do I even point this out? It is not to pick on the Jews, but to point out Jesus was not a Jew exclusively for Jews. His mission in the book of John is very clear, He is a global Savior. The very next two verses reveal this,

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” -John 1:12, 13

“To ALL,” who are the “ALL”? Those that were not born simply as Jews by blood/flesh/will of man, though this does not eliminate the ability of a individual born Jewish to be saved, but that salvation is no longer and should no longer be perceived as a matter of birth, but as a matter of heart!

Then we see again in John 1:29 a mission statement for Jesus and we see again it is global not localized to the Jewish nation,

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” -John 1:29

Jesus’ mission is for all humanity and His desire is that all humanity will receive Him as their Savior. We are all invited to be part of the remnant of His seed.

Tomorrow’s Reading: The book of 2nd Thessalonians

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