Welcome to my first foray in this new space.
I must tell you up front: I don’t want to be a contrarian. I’d rather fit in. Be one of. Belong.
But I find myself increasingly at odds with the cultural milieu around me.
For too long I tried to play along. While blogging in the early 2010s, I opened a Facebook account. Did the same on Twitter. Later, Instagram. I joined some “online communities” too. Even started one for a bit.
But something always felt off, and I have slowly, without apology, become resistant to the ever-reaching tentacles of technology. And the more I move away from cultural conformity, the more I feel settled in my soul.
What does this nonconformity look like?
For me it’s a conscious choice…
to be still when the world seeks constant motion.
to be quiet when the world spawns incessant noise.
to be focused when the world beckons for more distraction.
to be settled when the world celebrates disembodied rootlessness.
to be human when the world glories in striving beyond natural limits.
In more concrete terms? Well, that’s what these forthcoming articles will be about.
In short, I am quietly but steadily moving in a direction opposite of the world.
And so, I am a contrarian.
I do not wish to be a loud, brash contrarian. My heart’s desire is to engage my small corner of the planet with gentleness, and as a Christ-follower, this includes a desire to lead a quiet life. Hence, the pairing of “quiet” with “contrarian.” Not quiet in terms of silence, but in terms of possessing a quietness of heart. By God’s grace alone.
What You Can Expect…
I want to say the articles in this space will be devoted to exploring practical ways we can lead a quiet life. Because that is tangible. And more doable. But so much of what is happening right now is not tangible, not visible. But it’s there, and it’s moving. That is what I want to explore — the deeper implications behind some of the ways our society is unfolding in real time and unreal space. So, I will do my best to connect the abstract to the concrete.
Why are the masses so engulfed in noisy digital distraction?
And how do we live well in a world given to noisy digital distraction?
My background — as a Christian, wife, mom, writer, and (old school) English teacher — will inform my exploration of the intersections between faith and family, education and technology, and more.
That’s a nice way of saying my concerns about education generally, and technology’s impact on literacy specifically, have not been formed from afar with lofty ideals; rather, I have witnessed firsthand the disastrous results of having screens in classrooms.
And it’s not just the direction of education that is so disconcerting. There is something larger going on. Unfortunately, many of the voices on the internet are glibly going right along with it. At the risk of sounding dramatic, I sense we’re losing a part of our humanity in the name of “progress.”
With all of this happening, it can be tempting to succumb to a doom-and-gloom outlook, but for those of us who have been redeemed from our own muddy pits, we can look to each day with real hope because we know the One who is in control of it all.
That’s my aim for this newsletter: To bring hope for the future and (hopefully) some clarity to the present.
I’ll close with this line that’s been stirring inside me for some time:
“…it seems as though I’m wired for a world that doesn’t exist anymore.”
Winn Collier, from Love Big, Be Well
The first time I read those words, I stopped and read them again and again.
It’s ironic how the word “wired” was chosen to describe our inherent shape and being. We have no wires inside us, yet we can’t even describe what is happening without borrowing from technology’s vernacular.
In just my lifetime, the world has changed from a pre-internet era to a digital realm that is nearly inescapable. But I am made for another world. We all are.
It’s as if we are standing at a fork in the road, so in these forthcoming articles we’ll begin to name what is happening around us and then chart new paths — which look a lot like some very old ones — so we can retain our humanity, not to mention our sanity, in a very loud and restless world.
Because the more the world chases after things that are contrary to God’s Word, the more contrarian we will seem to those who don’t know God.
And when I say “we,” I do mean you and me. This space at Substack welcomes comments from readers to foster open dialogue, and this is something I look forward to — hearing from you.
I feel all of this. Glad you’re here Denise. Grateful you’re writing about these things.
This resonates, deeply. I actually had a really good cry earlier today over how ill content I’ve been feeling over the constant chatter of social media. Wanting to write but not wanting to be a part of the same avenues as before. The world is loud and I am so tired of the noise. 😢 This mind is seeking rest.