Cutting Off Social Media and Getting the News

No matter how you feel about current events, you should agree that getting the news is important in one way or another.1 From a technologist’s perspective, the technology landscape changes so quickly that it only makes sense to have a way to quickly see and digest news items. The benefit of such things is two-fold: to educate yourself and to be able to educate others about what is current and what is to come. How you personally use such information is your prerogative, but for me it was always about sharing.

Historically (meaning in college, the start of this blog, and in the days of Google Reader), I used RSS feeds to aggregate, digest, and share information. When Google Reader was shuttered (RIP) and other options appeared, I worked to move most of what Google Reader did for me into Twitter through a list called TechBloggers that is still alive and kicking, though its scope has widened over the years. Between scope creep and noise, TechBloggers has become difficult to keep up with at times.

Nevertheless, with my recent move away from Twitter in favor of sanity, I was left with the chore of dealing with this conundrum again. As the possible news items of which we want to stay abreast multiply, how do we keep track without allowing the process to become something akin to inbox-zero neuroses? In short, curation is key.

I have returned to a highly specific set of RSS feeds and Email Newsletters by which to retrieve news and stay entertained. By highly specific”, I mean I have severely limited the number of news feeds I subscribe to, only read deeper the things that I believe are of value, only save a select few items to read later (on Instapaper), and ignore (in the form of a Mark As Read” button) all the other cruft that still makes it through.

In addition to RSS feeds, I mentioned email newsletters which are becoming a trend as more people figure out how to wrangle the beast that is email. The nice thing is if I don’t have time for a newsletter, it can be deleted. Supplementarily, I use apps, such as NextDraft and Apple News, for the sake of variety.

The best part of such things is my own ability to change it at a moment’s notice. While talking about such things here seems par for the course of this site, changing any of the above-described affects no one but me and that’s OK.

  1. Perhaps you only watch the weather channel, but that is still news, especially during times of climate change.

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.