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Book author Philip Yancey explains how to find common ground on social media


Closeup picture of young people’s hands laying on pile. Group of mixed race friends on the beach with … [+] their hands stacked.


Social media has always been a forum for discussing subtle differences of opinion. I’ve seen this myself countless times. If you have a slightly different opinion about politics or religion than others, you will get into a heated debate. A book author has a suggestion that might change this perception.

Philip Yancey is a well-respected author who published his first memoir in October. I picked it up as the top trend book of the year because I’ve seen so many reviews and ratings on digital platforms (almost all reviews are positive), but also my own appreciation for the author’s moving account of his life path.

I can relate to it on many levels, especially since I’m going to be publishing my first book in a couple of weeks. (Yancey is now the author of about 25 books.) Social media has helped him in a number of ways, especially when it comes to reaching new audiences. He is most active on Facebook, where there are opportunities to chat with readers.

“Social media is a great way to express yourself, but you need to find a way to do it with integrity,” he says. “I often start with topics and people that are difficult to deal with, such as Bishop Desmond Tutu or Deitrich Bonhoeffer. I prefer to go to the more timeless topics and avoid stepping into the negative comments and chatting back and forth. “

One example we talked about was showing love and respect for others. I joked that we get into debate on social media when we choose certain people we love or don’t love and that this is not a good way to develop common ground. All people are worth loving no matter what.

“It’s hard for us, especially for writers, because it’s not intuitive to hit our own drums,” he says. “We want to rely on the effect of our words.” We both agreed that social media could help us, but it has also become an obstacle at times, especially as writers and writers.

For me, it is the nuanced decomposition of opinions that has given rise to most of the arguments; E.g. the people who agree with something I have written for the most part but disagree with a comment. As director JJ Abrams once said, “We live in a moment where everything seems to be instantly outraged. There is a MO where either it is exactly as I see it or you are my enemy. It’s a crazy thing that there is such a norm that seems to be devoid of nuance and compassion …. we knew that every decision we made would please someone and make someone angry. “

Yancey sees what happens to social media in a similar way.

“Once you explain a position, the other side won’t listen and you will be judged. I’d rather show mercy to people who are so marginalized these days, ”he says. “By not taking a position on certain red flags, nobody can pin me down. We need bridge builders and reconcilers. In our divided society we do not find many people who see this as their calling, but for me it is my calling. “

In the end, that’s the big challenge. Social media can be a place of widespread disagreement and discussion of nuances, or it can become a path towards healthy bridge building and eventually finding the common ground we all want.

Yancey is on the trail with his concept of reconciliation; The hope is that we will all feel the same spirit and stop deconstructing other people’s points of view.


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