You nurture it.
You protect it.
You want the baby to be healthy.
And then the moment comes when it's time for the new life to be birthed in the world.
It makes you a little nervous.
A little scared.
A little anxious.
But most of all, the feeling of excitement rules the air.
October 15, we're releasing this five year project to the world. It's a combination of 15 years of youth work, international observations, interviews from hundreds of teenagers and college students, and an plethera of epiphonies about how our culture is shaping up in a world filled with technology.
You won't find any Facebook bashing in the book, and you certainly won't find any twitter tales to ask you to stop using social media. What you will find is a theological argument for the necessity of real time relationships.
We've based our entire teen/university student ministry on one simple phrase. "We live life WITH students, not AT them." It drives everything we do. As the generations continue to plow into illusional friendships, we stand firm in the fact we believe life was created and intended to be lived together.
It's not easy.
It takes a little while to peek around the illuminated computer screen to see people for who they are.
You have to be honest.
You have to be vulnerable.
You have to come to the simple conclusion that we're all just trying to figure out how to do this human thing the best we know how.
Alone helps give readers LARGE worldview principles in order to create a space where all of humanity is allowed. It helps us understand we can believe strongly about certain principles without negotiating our need to reach out to those around us at school, at work, and even inside our families.
But I need your help.
Just like the film industry, the book industry is highly weighted on release numbers. So as I write about the necessity of this message, I also need you all to help me get the word out. WIth over 100K people reading this blog, I know there are hundreds, if not thousands of you; who know someone living in this sphere of loneliness. Maybe even YOU have witnessed the dangers of living solo through life. I would love to help. And this is how we can do it.
- If you're on Facebook, share the link with a friend. We've even made a facebook profile CLICK HERE where you can be a part of the messages going out. You can read the first chapter FOR FREE, and see others talk about their own struggles, their successes, and their community building projects. SHARE, LIKE, whatever it takes, let's move the message in the mainstream.
- If you have a message of ALONEness you'd like to share, let's create a community here on the web where we can help one another. I've found technology to be a useful tool to help initial connections, and then we can grow the conversation in real time. Imagine what it would look like if we created little pockets of students around the world who were tired of living through life wondering who was really "on their side." WE CAN DO THIS!! So share your stories, feel free to start the conversation of connection even right here on the blog.
- I'd love to tell stories in real time. Now I know this is a little risky. BUT...if we truly have intentions about solving this plague, we've got to take bold steps. If you have a camera on your computer, and you'd like to shoot a 1:00-2:00 min. video about how you might have felt alone at some point in your life, and then you found a secret we can all learn from; PLEASE upload it to the facebook page, and I'll start highlighting success stories right here on my blog. Of course you can be as anonymous as you want to be, but we've got to start somewhere.
- SHARE. SHARE. SHARE. Look, if you like what you read, sharing your thoughts with other is the most important way we can help get this message out. Use it for a book club, share it with your friends at the coffee shop, work it in your curriculum for youth gatherings. I'm telling you, after 15 years of working professionally in this space; ALONEness is THE plague of our lifetime. And it doesnt' just apply to teenagers. Ask your local 20 somethings and 30 somethings what they feel as they wake up every morning. Sure they might have people around, but how many do they "KNOW."
Lastly, I'd love to hear what YOU think about the book. So far, all of our initial readers, bloggers, and radio personalities have given it raving reviews. Believe me, I'm not doing this to fish for compliments on my writing style, but I AM doing this to highlight an important area in helping Students navigate a technological world which can be incredibly helpful as they go forward, but it can also tangibly dangerous to our whole way of living.
Thanks so much for your help. I know this was a long post, but I want you to understand how important this particular project is for me.