being a bit of an ass online is easy.
loving people online is easy, too.
in real life, you don’t get to unplug. you don’t get to give yourself an opportunity to calm down and respond after taking a few moments to regain your composure or talk your way through an argument in an imaginary conversation with the image staring back at you in your bathroom mirror ‘just in case.’
in real life, you can’t delete what you just posted because you realize it wasn’t at all appropriate to whatever audience you were addressing.
in real life, you don’t get to take your words back.
and words matter.
which is why i have a tremendous amount of respect folks who do more than just write or engage folks online.
believe me, i’m not opposed to writing (in fact, i’m writing right now), and i’m quite excited to have been given the opportunity to release my forthcoming book with a ‘real publisher’ and be an ‘actual author.’ i regularly do speaking engagements around the country and believe there is value in folks sharing their thoughts and experiences with others across a variety of different platforms.
but one valid critique of us authors/bloggers/speakers is that we don’t really operate in real life. with real people, in real conversations. we get to do it online, or from a stage or while contemplating our responses behind the keys of whatever media we’re using to promote our message.
this is why The Marin Foundation is committed to doing life – our daily grind – in the neighborhood of Boystown. we’re not tucked away in some office somewhere, and our homes aren’t located off a highway commute so we can occasionally visit the gay neighborhood in chicago. in fact, i’m rarely actually even in my office and my home is around the corner from my favorite gay bar.
walk down the rainbow infused strip of halsted street with me and 9 times out of 10 we’ll bump into someone i know. a friend.
we get our groceries, have our hair cut, eat, drink and play in the middle of the gay community – developing real relationships, with real people, in real time.
in real life.
the fact that we’re known and respected in the neighborhood lends us a level of credibility that’s too often missing from the lips of pastors and preachers, speakers, bloggers and authors who’ve recently added their two cents to conversations at the intersection of faith and sexuality.
and while that might play well in the confines of religious circles, it doesn’t really play all that well in real life.
i wonder if the message would be better received – and maybe even different – if it were rooted in real relationships with real people.
what do you think?