Friday, August 31, 2012

Turning on the lights and dusting off the blog

I began blogging in 2006 way before it was cool, and while Facebook was still in diapers.  It served as a way for people who did not know about us and Cornerstone to get a look behind the curtain before attending one of our Sunday services.  In those days I felt that it knocked down some of the weirdness of attending a church that meets in a school and it allowed people to "check us out" before they checked us out.  At that time, we were running an average of 108 in church, and it was a great way to interact and spread announcements.

Enter the Facebook Era.  In September of 06, Facebook became available to normal people.  Not that college students are abnormal, but let's face it.  College students are abnormal.  I was an early adopter on Facebook because it did exactly what I wanted the blog to do.  It allowed me to communicate with our people in a timely manner and allowed them the ability to get to know me and my family apart from Sunday.

Through the years, I blogged less and less and about less important things and it became more of a nuisance than a real outlet for serious discussion and thought.  By 2011, the blog was an after thought and needed some attention.

As the church has quadrupled in size, I found myself with a thousand Facebook "friends" and a more diverse congregation of people from all walks of life.  Along with the growth and diversity came a shallower interaction with everyone, and an increased pressure not to be offensive to people who may not agree with my theology, philosophy, humor, politics, you name it.  I found myself typing a status, only to delete it before posting, putting up a humorous picture, only to take it down as the sensitive were offended.

So last week I sat down and tried to put on paper a "Philosophy of Facebook"  Now this was a personal exercise and I do not believe everyone needs one, but I needed to figure out its purpose and place.  I came up with a few types of facebookers to consider....

Personal - Pictures and family events
Play by play - What I am doing
Pastoral - Verses and inspirational quotes
Provocative - Engaging people in discussion
Political - Trying to sway the vote
Preachy - Spouting deep spiritual truths into everyday life

Yes.  They all start with "P"  I am a preacher, I cannot help it.  After doing this, I decided that I would use  my Facebook account to be personal and pastoral, with a smidgen of play by play. (Yes, I know about Twitter, but nobody cares about anyone's tweets but their own)

The new direction of the blog will be a place for me to be authentic.  I will get preachy so people, if they choose to come here can know my faith, I will get political because I believe we have a responsibility to run our government in a biblical way.  I may even be provocative, but I think that is against my nature.

So, if you want vanilla Joel you can find him on Facebook.  He will be nice, a little witty and post awkward photos from time to time.  If you are hard core, and you don't mind straight talk, you can find Jalapeno Joel here at