Thursday, 30 November 2017

#KindAdvent - A Modest Proposal

I suspect Im not the only person who has grown increasingly frustrated by the tone of much of social media. I think I understand some of the causes of this situation: frustration, collapse of social and human context, deep cultural and social divisions, etc. 

I have come close to disconnecting on many occasions and, during times like Lent, have often found it helpful to take a social media fast (controversial though some have found that idea).

Almost everyone experiences social media space as, by turns, informative, witty, anger-inducing and depressing. Thats because its a human space; it does rather reflect us.

This Advent I want to try something. Advent is one of two seasons (along with Lent) when Christians have traditionally fasted, reflected and prepared for a great feast. Obviously, Advent precedes Christmas.

In addition to my usual practices studying, reflecting, praying Im going to try something new (for me at least!) on social media.

With every tweet and post I want to offer something positive and hopeful. I want to build someone or something up. I shall be using the hashtag #KindAdvent to focus this.

Im not doing this because Im some sort of Panglossian fool or natural optimist. Its just that rather than instinctively do what I normally do point out the negative, complain about a situation, sound off, be an eeyore I want to make a small, tiny offering. A gift of kindness.

I cant tell you how counter-intuitive this is for me. I instinctively recoil at cheesy positivity; Id rather be ironic or clever-clever.

However, in the crappy world we find ourselves in, I sense that a discipline of kindness might not be too ridiculous.

It wont address deep injustice or stop a narcissistic president from retweeting fascists, but it may change the tenor of a conversation. It may help us look in a different direction not so much that we ignore the deep issues, but we meet them with a different kind of solidarity.

#KindAdvent is, in the first instance, something that I hope helps me focus on some richer seams of life than the usual warzones and fractures that drive us.

It might be something you want to have a go at too, whether youre a person of faith or not. I'd welcome fellow fools to share the journey!


  1. I think this is a brilliant idea. Count me in!
    I pledge to do this. I hope I am given strength not to backslide...

  2. What a fantastic idea, I'm in. #KindAdvent

  3. I found a new word in my reading last week - captious. I looked it up. That`s me. Time to stop. Thank you.

    1. I like this word too and will also do my best to offer #kindadvent to all. I'm often reminded of a phrase +Rowan commended as representing the best of Anglican tradition, 'gracious presumption', ie thinking the best about others rather than the worst.

  4. I may not do it in quite so committed a way, but I will certainly try to be positive and kind in my posts. With the exception of anything to do with Trump or the government, of course. Sorry if that defeats the object but I think that might be an effort too far :)

    1. As my dear friend Daisy Black said, we need to call out injustice, so I don't think I'm suggesting we ignore the crap and the vile. I'm just interested in changing the narrative!

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