Book Author Philip Yancey Explains How To Find Common Ground On Social Media
Social media has always been a forum for discussing subtle differences of opinion. I have experienced this myself countless times. If you have a slightly different opinion than someone else on politics or religion, you will find yourself in a heated debate. A book author has a suggestion on what might change this perception.
Philip Yancey is a highly respected author who published his first memoirs in October. I have included it among the best trending books of the year, based on so many reviews and ratings on digital platforms (almost all reviews are positive), but also my own appreciation for the moving tale of the author on his journey in life.
I can recognize myself on several levels, especially because I’m releasing my first book in a few weeks. (Meanwhile, Yancey is the author of around 25 books.) Social media has helped him in many ways, including reaching new audiences. He is most active on Facebook, where it is possible to chat with readers.
âSocial media is a great way to express yourself, but you have to find a way to do it with integrity,â he says. âI often start with subjects and people with which it is difficult to discuss, such as Bishop Desmond Tutu or Deitrich Bonhoeffer. I prefer to go with the more timeless topics and avoid getting into negative comments and gossip.
One example we talked about was showing love and respect to others. I joked that we get into social media debates when we choose specific people to like or dislike, and that’s not a great way to develop common ground. All people are worth loving no matter what.
âFor writers in particular, it’s difficult for us because it’s counterintuitive to beat our own drums,â he says. “We want to trust the effect of our words.” We both agreed that social media could help us, but it has also become a barrier at times, especially as writers and writers.
For me, it is the nuanced dissection of opinions that has given rise to the most contention; for example, people who mostly agree with something I wrote but dispute a comment. As director JJ Abrams said once, âWe live in a time when everything immediately seems to fail with outrage. There is an MO where “it is exactly as I see it or you are my enemy”. It’s a crazy thing that there is such a standard that seems to be devoid of nuance and compassionâ¦ we knew that every decision we made would please someone and infuriate someone else.
Yancey has a similar take on what’s going on with social media.
âAs soon as you declare a position, the other side doesn’t listen and you are judged. I prefer to show grace to people who are so marginalized these days, âhe says. âBy not taking a position on certain early warning issues, nobody can pin me down. We need bridge builders and reconcilers. In our divided society, we don’t find many people who see this as their calling, but for me it is my calling.
Ultimately, that’s the big challenge. Social media can be a place of widespread disagreement and discussion of nuances, or it can become a way to build healthy bridges and ultimately find the common ground we all want.
Yancey is on to something with his vision of reconciliation; the hope is that we will all capture the same mind and stop deconstructing other people’s views.