Six Lessons Learned by Giving up Social Media

by: Emily Kauffman and Morgan Leavy

Morgan Leavy is in her freshman year at Hesston (Kan.) College, majoring in Psychology. She enjoys musical theater, photography, traveling and being with her friends. Emily Kauffman is currently a sophomore at Hesston, majoring in Communications and minoring in Bible. She has developed a passion for the church and a desire to explore how technology is affecting our society and relationships.

This article originally ran in the Hesston College Horizon.

Sherry Turkle, author of the book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, writes, “This is our moment to acknowledge the unintended consequences of the technologies to which we are vulnerable, but also to respect the resilience that has always been ours. We have time to make corrections and remember who we are—creatures of history, of deep psychology, of complex relationships, of conversations, artless, risky and face to face.”

In a search to rid ourselves of, as Turkle puts it, the “unintended consequences” of social media, we decided to give up social media for Lent this year. We were in need of a break. A break from the constant mindless scrolling. While the past 40 days have been full of temptation and loss, we have learned so much about ourselves and the world around us.

Here are the big six:

#1 We became more aware of how social media affects our relationships.

On the first day of Lent, I sat down at lunch with some friends. Immediately, I recognized that the five or six people surrounding me were on their cell phones. Continue reading

Seven Questions with Carol Roth :: from The Mennonite

This interview of Mennonite Women USA board member, Carol Roth, first appeared in the The Mennonite. Hannah Heinzekehr, Executive Director of The Mennonite posed seven questions to Carol. Read the conversation below.

Name: Carol Roth
Hometown: Jackson, Mississippi
Home congregation: Open Door Mennonite Church
Occupation: Staff leader for Native Mennonite Ministries

Tell me about your experience with church growing up.

I grew up in a mission church. I have two sets of parents.

My foster parents (Mennonites originally from Harrisonburg, Va.) had lived in Florida and in the early 1963 moved to rural Mississippi. My traditional parents had three small children, and when my twin sister and I were born, it was a cold winter and we needed a place that we would be able to thrive (we were premature and needed to grow), so we lived with the Good family until spring. When spring came along, our parents saw that our foster parents were taking great care of us and said that we could live with them until they were able to take care of us. Continue reading

Leaders: Do This, Don’t Do That

There are powerful leaders and humble leaders, horrible leaders and questionable leaders.

Throughout my adult life of working under various leaders—from churches to places of employment, from neighborhood associations to my children’s school board, from nonprofit organizations where I’ve volunteered to my own family—I’ve had varying experiences of leaders and come to understand that everyone is a teacher. They teach me what to do and sometimes what not to do.

1. Do this: Get your hands dirty

When I was a professor of English, I was impressed with the department chair because he always made a point of sitting with the new adjuncts while we graded papers during midterms. He was right there in the lounge grading his papers at midnight, too, coffee breath and all. He wasn’t above us, and that humility gave me pause. Similarly, the Humble Leader we love washed his disciples’ feet and got his hands dirty in the process, all while conveying a beautiful message with his actions.

2. Don’t do this: Feign interest

Continue reading

Sister Care Seminar Breaks New Ground with Inclusion of Translation

By Emily Ralph, first published in The Mennonite, May 2012.

SOUDERTON, Pa.—One hundred and thirty women gathered for training and fellowship at Souderton Mennonite Church on March 23-24. The Sister Care seminar, developed by Mennonite Women USA, was sponsored by Eastern District and Franconia Conferences as part of their continuing work to equip and train congregational leaders.

Souderton’s Sister Care seminar was groundbreaking for Mennonite Women USA; it was the first time the seminar used materials translated into Spanish. Spanish-speaking participants were also equipped with translation headsets. As a result, the seminar was well-attended by Spanish-speaking members of Philadelphia Praise Center, Nueva Vida Norristown New Life, First Mennonite Church of Brooklyn, and Mennonite Evangelistic Tabernacle, New York City. Continue reading