Are You the Same on Social Media as You are in “Real Life”?

It’s a popular but deceptive question: “Are you the same on social media as you are in ‘real life’?” It almost seems rhetorical. It feels as though the answer is “If you’re not, you should be!”

As I’ve thought more about that question, I’ve come to see (aside from the question being flawed from the start) that my answer would be: “I hope not!”  Continue reading “Are You the Same on Social Media as You are in “Real Life”?”

An Open Letter to Rachael Denhollander on #SBCtoo

Dear Rachael,

This past week, the Houston Chronicle published a three-part series on sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention.

In response, you asked: “Pastors, where were you? When we were pleading for you to speak up against your peers or the leaders your support props up, where were you?”

I want (and need) to answer your question. Continue reading “An Open Letter to Rachael Denhollander on #SBCtoo”

Welcoming the Hearing Loss Community — Part 3

In Part 1, of this three-part series, guest author Lucy Crabtree shared her experience with hearing loss and struggle to find a place in the local church. In Part 2, she offered practical advice for loving your neighbors in the hearing loss community. This third and final installment features practical advice for including the hearing loss community in the local church.


— Part 3 —

Including people with hearing loss at church requires cultivating a culture of inclusion, which goes beyond providing accommodations to examining the church’s internal culture and attitude about hearing loss.

The first step toward inclusion at church is to know your people. If you do have someone in your congregation with hearing loss, start by meeting with them and asking questions. What do they need? How do they prefer to communicate? What could the church do to make Sunday services easier for them to understand? What are other church events like for them? Listen, and work with them to figure out how to better include them at church.

If you do not know of anyone in your congregation with hearing loss, consider looking for a Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA), or state association for the Deaf affiliate nearby, or even with your state school for the Deaf. They can offer context for your area’s Deaf/hard of hearing population and culture. If your area is home to a population of culturally Deaf people, then starting or supporting a Deaf ministry or church may be the best option. Check Deaf Missions and Deaf Bible Society to see how you can get started.

Even if a Deaf ministry is in your future, still be mindful of those in your congregation with hearing loss who do not consider themselves part of Deaf culture. The following suggestions listed here are based on my hard of hearing experience and from what I hear from my late deafened friends. Continue reading “Welcoming the Hearing Loss Community — Part 3”

Welcoming the Hearing Loss Community — Part 2

In Part 1, of this three-part series, guest author Lucy Crabtree shared her experience with hearing loss and struggle to find a place in the local church. In this second post, she offers practical advice for loving your neighbors in the hearing loss community. 


— Part 2 —

As I concluded in Part 1, we Christians have an opportunity to honor the imago dei and respect the dignity of all people by communicating respectfully and appropriately with people with hearing loss. In interpersonal communication, one way to show this honor and respect is by asking a simple question: “What’s the best way for me to communicate with you?” Continue reading “Welcoming the Hearing Loss Community — Part 2”