Book Author Philip Yancey Explains How To Find Common Ground On Social Media

The Internet has been an open forum for discussing subtle differences of opinion. I’ve tested this myself countless times. You will be in heated discussions if you have a different opinion of politics and religion than someone else’s. The author of the book offers a suggestion on how to change this perception.

Philip Yancey, a respected author, released his first book in October. I listed it as the most popular book of the year, based on seeing many reviews and ratings on digital platforms (nearly all reviews are positive) but also my personal appreciation for the author’s exciting account of his journey in life.

I can relate to it on many levels, most notably because I will be releasing my first book in a few weeks. (Yancy, on the other hand, is the author or 25 books. He has found many benefits from social media, especially in reaching new people. He is more active on Facebook, where there are opportunities to chat with readers.

“Social media is a great way to express yourself, but you have to figure out a way to do it with integrity,” he says. “I often start with topics and people who are hard to argue with, like Bishop Desmond Tutu or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I prefer to go with more timeless topics and avoid getting into negative comments and gossip back and forth.”

Talking about love and showing respect to others was one of the topics we discussed. I joked that we get into discussions on social media when we choose certain people to like or dislike, and how that’s not a great way to develop common ground. Everyone deserves love no matter their differences.

“For writers in particular, it’s hard for us, because it’s counterintuitive to beat our drums,” he says. “We want to rely on the impact of our words.” We both agreed that social media can help us, but it has also become a hindrance at times, especially as authors and writers.

For me, it was the precise anatomy of opinions that caused the fray. For example, people who mostly agree with something you wrote but disagree with one comment. As director J.J. Abrams once said, “We live in a moment when everything instantly seems to lag behind in anger. There is an MO where it ‘either be exactly as I see it or you are my enemy.’ It is insane that there is such a standard that it seems It is devoid of nuance and compassion… We knew that every decision we made would please one person and infuriate another.”

Yancey has a similar view on social media.

“Once you announce a position, the other party doesn’t listen and you are judged. I prefer showing compassion to very marginalized people these days,” he says. “By not taking a stand on some red flag issues, no one can comment on me. There is a need for some bridge-builders and some reconciliation. In our divided society, we don’t find many people who see that as their calling, but for me that is my message.”

This is the ultimate challenge. It can lead to widespread disagreement and debate over the nuances. Or it can open up opportunities to build healthy relationships and eventually find common ground.

Yancy’s opinion of reconciliation is a good one. We can all hope to share that spirit and not take apart other people’s opinions.

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