Discipling the Body


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Why I’m being anti-social.

I deactivated my Facebook account a couple of months ago and yesterday I deactivated messenger and Instagram. I’m still on Twitter for the time being, because I have a particular need for it, but I’m hoping to be able to ditch that as well by year’s end. I’m keeping LinkedIn for professional reasons, at least for now.

Despite being a fairly early adopter of a lot of technology, I was one of the last to jump on the Facebook bandwagon. I was skeptical of the service and wondered why anyone would voluntarily put that much personal information out there for people to see. But, feeling like I was missing out, I joined. And was immediately sucked in. I posted pictures and statuses, hoping for the red like button to illuminate. I won’t say I was addicted by any clinical definition, because quitting wasn’t really that hard, but I was definitely a heavy user and loved getting the little hits of recognition (likes, comments).

After many years of indulging in various forms of social media, I came to realize that it was not having an overwhelming positive effect on my life. Indeed, I now believe that the positives did not outweigh the negatives.

So, here are some of the primary reasons, I decided to let go.

1 – It’s a time suck that prevents me from getting more meaningful things done. I recently finished reading Deep Work by Cal Newport. In it, he makes the case that most of what we find useful about Social Media has legible ROI on our lives, and should be eliminated in favour of pursuing more worthy work (note: work doesn’t necessarily mean our employment. It could be a hobby, etc.). I also recommend his other books, particularly, *So Good They Can’t Ignore You*

2 – I’ve read some research that indicates were only meant to have a small number of close friends and despite the rise of social media, most of us only have 2 or so close friends. Social media gives us the illusion of being closer to others and knowing more about them, then maybe we really do. Long before social media came around, we lost the concept of an acquaintance. Merriam-Webster defines this as: a person whom one knows but who is not a particularly close friend. We’re all supposed to be super friends, because we can share the most intimate (or close to it) parts of our lives online. It can be stressful to think you need to keep up with your feed, so you know what’s going on in other people lives. And, let’s face it, we all know social media is largely a lie. Or least, only a partial truth. We post the best of everything and rarely the worst. So, time to step away from it and get back to some reality.

Also, when I looked at my actually messaging, I realized that out of the 200-300 friends I have, I only message about 10 of them with any regularity. If I didn’t have their contact info, I sent them one last message asking for it. I can now phone, text, or email, when I feel I have something to say or ask, and not just because they pop up on my list and I think “Oh, I should message them, they’re online now”.

3 – I recently watched the movie Snowden and the documentary Citizen Four. Both recount the story of whistleblower Edward Snowden as he revealed the extent of the US Government’s surveillance programs. He also revealed details of the PRISM program, where it was revealed that the various spying agencies have virtually free access to the servers of multiple technology companies, including social media sites. So, my original unease with social media was correct, they really are watching us and more than perhaps we thought at first.

I’m not a paranoid person, I just believe in the rule of law and the concept of human rights. And while it is a common refrain to say, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about”, I think that misses the point. The government has no moral right to our information without our informed consent. It doesn’t matter if I’m doing anything “wrong”, they shouldn’t be looking in the first place. (But, seriously, if you do nothing else, cover up your webcam).

Jesus had 12 apostles, not 300. We weren’t biologically designed to manage this level of relationship with as many people as social media would want us to. When I emailed my friends and told them, many of them expressed support and a desire to do the same thing. There’s something that keeps us there and I don’t think it’s healthy when it can be that hard for people to quit. FOMO is a real cultural phenomenon and should be heavily scrutinized.

I am aware that this has implication for this blog. I can’t just publish it to all the various for the world to see, but that’s okay. I write this for me and whoever finds it.

So, those are some of my primary reasons for ditching social media (or most of it). My friends are still my friends and we will still email or phone or meet in person or whatever. But, the world doesn’t need access to children’s photos, or my every thought (no one really cares). Plus, I’ve got this blog, so if you want to know what I think, just stay here and you’ll get more than 140 characters of thought. Hopefully, that’s more worth reading.


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Goal update

I’ve been reviewing the goals I listed at the beginning of the year under the Goals tab. They are:

  • Complete an Olympic Distance Triathlon
  • Complete a half-marathon
  • Become debt free
  • Read 12 books
    I know, that doesn’t seem like a lot, but with a new baby, it seems reasonable. This doesn’t include children’s books
  • Get to 200lbs
  • Continue with my M.Div MTS
  • Improve my writing

Realistically, I won’t accomplish most of these. I will definitely accomplish one of them, but the rest are likely to be put onto next years list. There reason is simple and very, very cute. It’s this guy:

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He’s 8 months old now, and it’s been a huge adjustment for my wife and I; it’s been quite the ride. So, I can’t really be that upset at not meeting my goals, because I have in fact had better things to do. Still, I am frustrated at my overall lack of progress on the weight loss front. We are slowly starting to make progress on menu planning and integrating exercise again. My amazing wife has made a 4 week menu plan for us to rotate through and we plan to start running together in the mornings with our little one in the stroller.

As the last quarter of 2014 begins, I am also dealing with multiple health concerns, though most are currently minor. I have Mild sleep apnea, so in conjunction with loosing weight (the ultimate solution), I am also in a 5 week trial with a CPAP machine. It’s been frustrating, I can only wear the mask 1.5 hours on average, but the Dr. said I should aim for 2 initially and hope to end up at 4 hours by the end of the trial. So, I will persevere. Apnea is nothing to joke at. It can lead to heart attack and stroke, none of which I’m particularly keen on experiencing. My specialist said if I loose just 20lbs, I’d see a marked improvement. So, that’s my mid-range goal: 20lbs. Eventually, I will get to 200lbs, but one step at a time.

I also am seeing a Physiotherapist for pain in my knees and bilateral IT band pain. It’s annoying and gets worse when I sit or drive more than normal. Travel season is approaching for work and I can sometimes drive for 3 hours just to get to where I’m going, so I have to get this solved by then. I have certain stretches that I have to do daily. I hate stretching, always have, but now I’m reaping the “rewards” of not doing it for all these years.

I may update the goals tab after some more thought, but for now, I’ll just keep it as is. I don’t want to commit to more goals and not reach them.


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Shall we continue?

I’m not blogging much these days (thanks for noticing). Some of it is certainly because I have an 8 week old son and am just generally tired, both mentally and physically, but there is more to it than that I think.

Depth
More a long time I’ve asked myself the question, “why do I blog?”. Every so often I come up with an answer, but it doesn’t last for long. I’m generally dissatisfied with the blogosphere. As I’ve given thought to the problem, this feeling I’m having, I think I’ve figured it out: most blogs lack depth, indeed, most are superficial at best. I want depth and that depth tends to come from books. I’m not sure I understand the point of blogging anymore, to be honest.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t good blogs out there that have significant depth, but I’m not convinced that the blogging format really lends itself to depth and I don’t think this is a good thing. More to the point, if I can’t produce content of a certain depth that offers the kind of insights I would want to read, then what’s the point?

Open Loops
The other issue is that the very idea of “having a blog” implies that I should be writing with some reasonable frequency and that’s just one more thing I “need to do”. I don’t like having open loops and maybe, for now, this is a loop to close.

This isn’t the day to make a decision like this, but I’ll make it soon. Part of me wants to write for the sake of writing, but right now I don’t have the time to write the kind of stuff I want to write, so, if I write just to write, will I be happy about it? I’m not sure. Time will tell and we will see. If you have an opinion either way, I’d be grateful to hear it.


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One Word part 2


Image thought life

One thing I hadn’t initially considered about consistency, is consistency of thought.

Specifically, the consistent thinking of good thought and avoiding negative self-talk. Focussing on what’s good and not on what’s negative. Our thought life is powerful and can take control of our emotions and even our physical selves. Scripture has much to say about the importance of our thought lives. Here is just a sampling.

“Set you minds on things that are above, no on things that are on earth” – Colossians 3:2

“be renewed in the Spirit of your mind, and to put on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” – Ephesians 4:23-24

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable  whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8


Finally, “practice these things, and the God of Peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9b


This isn’t too suggest that we should always be jumping for joy when times are legitimately bad or at times of great sorrow or sadness. It is simply a reminder to keep first things first (i.e., God) and not to let the imperfect world get us down, because it always will.

 

This is my biggest challenge, to keep control of my thought life so I can move forward and achieve what I want to achieve.




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One Word part 1

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It is becoming a trend to replace New Year’s resolutions with the picking of a single word. The single word is meant to act as a theme of what you would like to focus on during the coming year. I haven’t been a fan of New Year’s resolutions for quite some time, so this is an interesting idea. I’ve toyed around with a number of different words to help me focus on my goals for the coming year. Discipline, holiness, and discipleship were all in the running, but I finally did settle on one that I think captures an overall picture of what will help me improve the most in every area of my life in 2014.

For 2014 my one word is consistency.

Immediately upon reading that word, a question emerges, and that is “consistent in what way or to whom”? This highlights exactly the reason I’m settling on this word as opposed to something more specific like health or exercise or diet for reading or journaling. I picked the word specifically because it crosses the spectrum of all of my goals. Perhaps it goes without saying that in order to improve, in order to meet my goals, what I really need is not a specific plan, but rather the ability to carry out the plan consistently. It doesn’t do me any good to have an exercise plan if I only follow it 50% of the time.

There are many areas of my life in which I would like to be more consistent (in no particular order):

  • Faithfulness to God
  • Faithfulness to my wife and son*
  • Eating well and fuelling my body
  • Exercising
  • Devotions/Prayer
  • Friendship
  • Love to neighbour
  • Study
  • Scripture reading
  • Reading, general and spiritual
  • Writing/Journaling

* to be clear, faithfulness, for me, extends far beyond not committing adultery.


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What’s in a name?

Hello my name is

The name this blog has a bit of a double meaning. Unintentionally so, but nonetheless there it is.

To be a disciple in the Scriptural sense, is to be a student. In this sense, a student of the teachings and will of Jesus Christ.

The body refers in the first sense to my physical body. It’s about my attempts to focus my energy to having as strong a body as possible.

In the second sense it refers to the Body of Christ, or the church universal.

So, in one sense the blog is specifically about me, but in a larger sense it is for everyone, especially the body of Christ that we may learn and grow and engage with one another in an area of theology that is not normally written about or even taken seriously.