Why You Need Byrd in Your Box
Social Media Awkward?
I’ll be one of the first to come to a social event rocking funky pants, hat, or a scarf that others are too timid (or too wise) to wear, but dang if I don’t stumble late and awkward into each new social media space, wondering, “Is thing on?” With each new way to connect and share my work on social media, I find myself trying to navigate technology that I don’t understand, asking for followers that I cannot see, feeling vulnerable as hell putting what I care about “out there” again. It makes me reevaluate what it is I want to write about, what kind of community I want to be a part of, and if it really matters.
So, what will this newsletter look like, why does it matter, what should you expect from it, and do you want to subscribe?
I’m about to publish my seventh book, am working on another, and still face imposter syndrome. Part of this is because I do not fit neatly in any of the credentialed categories. I do not work for the church and I am not an academic. I never aspired to be an author. I didn’t write books because that is where I saw my adult life and work, but because I was lonely as a thinking woman in the church. I couldn’t figure out what spiritual formation looked like for me. So I began writing, looking for likeminded people, talking about the things I hoped to talk about in church. I was looking for the beauty and wonder in theology—learning about God—and wanted to revel in that with others. I thought that would be my path spiritual maturity.
At first my voice was welcomed in my circles of faith, and then it was marked suspicious and dangerous. Turns out I’m a troublemaker.
In this quest, I’m learning and unlearning. I’ve pivoted in some of my theology and in my writing style. And I have found many others who’ve been disillusioned by the church but are still looking for what’s real, beautiful, true, and good. It’s often not where we think it is.
There’s much disillusionment in the church today. This has been my experience in trying to find belonging with a community of faith. But in encountering the ugly in the church, I found the beauty where I least expected it. It’s subversive. It’s in the underground. I’m finding the church there. Because that’s where Christ is.
This Substack is a spiritual sauntering of sorts, throwing my darts as I look for solidarity in the true alternative community that makes up the followers of Jesus. In that, we don’t accept the sentimental and the curated. We name the ugly and hunt for the beautiful. As Frederick Buechner put it, we tell the truth: the gospel as tragedy, comedy, & fairy tale.
The search is ours, and the revealing is Christ’s. It’s always a gift.
As I’m still navigating social media, here’s how I see my presence and engagement in it:
Facebook and Instagram are places where I count my blessings in my life and keep it mostly positive. They are regular-life posts that I’d like to see in my memories thirteen years from now.
I do have an Author Page on Facebook which I plan to do more with, and possibly use as a space to have monthly meetups to engage with readers.
“Not” Twitter is where I engage evangelical culture. It’s a box of chocolates, if you know what I mean. I make great connections on there, have found long-term friends even, partake in stimulating threads, get updated with the good, the bad, and the ugly, and put my gloves on every now and then.
Substack is where I get more personal with my story, my inner-life struggles, longings, and spiritual formation. It’s where I will engage with the books I’m reading and give more extended commentary on evangelical culture. This is also where I will share more updates about my books and promotional offers.
My website & blog is going to get an update and will be a spot to find my books, interviews, archived work, and who knows what other possibilities. I’m still figuring this all out.
And then there is Threads (@aimeebyrdlife). You can follow me there to watch me awkwardly figure out that space. Will it be like a new Twitter without the trolls? Time will tell…
What to Expect
One reason I haven’t migrated to Substack earlier is because I think subscription is a big ask. You do not have to subscribe to read Byrd in Your Box, but by subscribing you will receive my posts as a newsletter in your inbox. I’m told this is a benefit, as you do not have to go looking. But I also don’t want to be one of those annoying emails that clog up your inbox. My plan is to post weekly. And yet the muse may take nine days instead of seven or have something timely to communicate on day three. When you find the funky pants, you don’t always want to wait until Tuesday to wear them. I’m aiming for a community of people who are also wanting to imagine the real and continually look for the poem in the church. It’s there if we listen and look. Sometimes we have to expose and name the ugly, the masks, and the manipulation of doctrine.
As I said, my writing style is pivoting. I’m in a more vulnerable space than I was, and I am beginning to be grateful for that. The underground gives me new perspective to see what’s curated and new freedom to shed all those false securities. So my Substack will reflect that pivot in that it is more personal and in-the-raw and more creative. My books are pivoting in this way as well.
And maybe I’ll even occasionally post some pics in my funky pants.
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