Creative Class

Ministry re-tweeting

There seems to be a couple to types of people I encounter on the internet - tweeters and re-tweeters.

Creators of content (tweeters) and replicators of content (re-tweeters).

Both serve a function and have a place.  I will be honest however, I do not care to much about reading the re-tweeters re-tweets.

Re-tweeting picture :)
Re-tweeting is rather safe to do and involves little engagement with the re-tweet.  Most of the time when I re-tweet I just post what I am re-tweeting without any context as to why I am doing so.  "Hey! Here is a quote I found. Re-tweeted by a person."

Re-tweeting is not a bad thing at all.  It however is not the same as tweeting.

When you tweet you create something new and put yourself out there.  You have to give some context as to what you are doing or why you are tweeting it.  You have to share something about yourself and be expose to criticism.  When we only re-tweet we have the ability to hide behind it and no one is sure if we agree, disagree with the re-tweet.  No one knows if a re-tweeted comment is meant to be a joke or serious.

Many of us clergy in my beloved denomination might be described as ministry re-tweeters.  We say we want to do different ministry or creative or innovate ministry, but this is a code for something else.  Most of the time clergy want an different/creative/innovative ministry that someone else has somewhere else but no one is doing it here.  For instance, I ministry re-tweeted the Fort Worth Dish Out.

A ministry re-tweet is not bad, it just is much safer and puts the clergy at a safe distance from the failure or success of the ministry.

tweeting pictures :)
What the UMC is perhaps missing are clergy and laity who are ministry tweeters.  The ones who are creating content/ministry.  The ones being vulnerable, exposed and opening themselves up to failure and even, dare it be stated, shame.  I am currently working on a couple of ministry tweets: Jubilee Bank (a micro-finance for the working poor in Fort Worth Texas using the connectionalism of the UMC) and Five Thousand Words (which first incomplete draft can be found here).

Others can account to the amount of ministry tweeting and re-tweeting I participate in, but the UMC might be a fruitful place if we were to find a balance between ministry tweeting and  re-tweeting.

I am not gay or have a tattoo, which is why I sport a beard.

In the recent book "Rise of the Creative Class", the author makes an observation about a large swath of people called the "creative class" - one tool members of the creative class use to determine if a city/place is welcoming of creative people is if that city/place welcomes the LGBT community.  

I find with my friends when we talk about places that we have been to we are very up on places that welcome LGBT community members even if we ourselves are not LGBT.  If the city/place is open to LGBT then the city/place is open to diversity and we are not expected to fit into a mold.  LGBT acceptance is a barometer for my peers to determine the diversity and openness to unique people and alternate thinking.  

As a white Anglo Protestant male living in the belt buckle of the "Bible Belt", it is very hard for me to give off the vibe of openness to creative thinking and diversity.  Many assume I am Republican and vote with a gun in my hand while on my way to protest abortion and "Big government".  Which may or may not be true, but another assumption that is made is that I am anti-LGBT.  In fact when I share I am a pastor in Texas that last assumption is very strong.

If it is assumed that I am anti-LGBT then the diversity barometer drops substantially.  People clam up and begin to pull out of the conversation.

There are a number of ways I have discovered that one can overcome the assumption that I am not open to creative/alternate thinking or diversity.  The first is to actually self identify as LGBT.  I am not any of those.  

The next best thing for people who are not LGBT and who are open to alternate thinking and diversity to do is to get a tattoo.  I do not have a tattoo as I am totally afraid of physical pain that comes at the end of a needle.

Thus I sport a beard.  

The facial hair is the last sort of bastion for us WASP sorts to have as an outward and visible sign to people that we are open to diversity and alternate thinking.  This is not always the case but if you see a guy with facial hair that is ungroomed then you can hedge your bets they are open to diversity and alternate thinking.  

Look at the white guys who are notorious for ungroomed facial hair, we might see a trend of people who are open to alternate thinking and diversity:

Youth ministers.
Dungeon and Dragon players.
Movie stars who adopt African children.

Generational gap - revisited sort of.

While reading the book The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life by Richard Florida I ran across several quotes which I thought were greats. However, this quote instantly connected me to a previous conversation which took place here on this post.

The author of this book writes about the different worldview and values of what he identifies as the “creative class” which is budding in the United States and which, he forecasts, will be the dominate group of people in the USA.

On of the characteristics which Florida identifies with this “Creative class” is the value of diversity. He writes that “When they [members of the “creative class”] setare sizing up a new company and community, acceptance of diversity and of gays in particular is a sign that reads “nonstandard people welcome here.”

This is a good way of putting what I feel is being expressed by my peers and what I hold as a personal value as well. Maybe this is why my peers and I, in many ways, do not talk much about or think about homosexuality being a sin because it reflects an underlying value – diversity. That is to say, if homosexuality is a sin then being different is a sin.

This book is a fantastic read and does not talk about theology at all. It is a cultural study of sorts and one for which (and I know several of you people out there will shrill when I say this) I resonate with deeply. It speaks to my situation and position in life it reflects the values for which I hold in many regards. If you are looking to understand some of the people in your life whom you think are ‘lazy’ or ‘odd’ or just plain ‘different’ and cannot understand why the young people of today are the way they are – then you should check this book out.