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Before and After


Facebook is like a party, only everyone’s invited.

Whenever Lent rolls around, I look for something I’ll miss and choose to give it up for awhile. There were always a handful of things I considered third rail Lent items, chiefly coffee (I drink two or three cups a day) and internet things, like Facebook.

My hesitation about giving up Facebook was rooted in hobbies like this one–writing for a blog. Publishing online, after all, requires one to have a well-sourced distribution network. Facebook is king. How could I give up the biggest readership group for forty days? (Irony duly noted.)

But this year, particularly after a political season that hounded my news feed like an abused dog, I felt more than ready to try the experiment. I changed my profile over to an ashen cross and turned the Big Blue F off.

I learned a few things along the way.

no trespassing sign

I Talked to Conservatives about the #MuslimBan. You Should, Too.



I’ll bet you didn’t think you’d spend the weekend talking about immigration policy.

In the wake of President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, the national political conversation has exploded among two camps: those who believe we are veering toward 1930s Germany, and those who think we finally have a leader willing to stick up for American security interests.

I happen to disagree strongly with this action, but in my zen-like quest to quit engaging these issues using anger as my sole vehicle, I figured there was no time like now to get started on peaceful conversations.

So last night on Facebook, I asked for some help from my conservative friends:

Where Two or Three Are Gathered

Matters of Faith

church dark

Throughout the season of Lent, our Episcopal church in Statesville offers Evening Prayer on weekdays. The service is a rather simple one: scripture, ordered prayer–for forgiveness, for each other, for safety and quietude. It takes about twenty minutes to go through.

I try to volunteer to lead prayer a few times–the offering relies upon lay folks in the church to lead the service. Most times, only a handful of people show up. There have been a couple of instances in which I said Evening Prayer by myself.

My first assigned reading date was this past Monday. It had been a full and hectic day at the office, the kind where unexpected interruptions derail the plans you’d made. Still, I was able to duck out a little bit early to make it up the road–only to drive straight into a heavy rainstorm, which slowed traffic down. I pulled into the parking lot a minute shy of the appointed start time.

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