Editor’s Note: This was first drafted on Hubspot at the beginning of February 2021 before I switched to using Substack.
Welcome to the first edition of The Mueller Report! I’ve been thinking about starting a newsletter for well over a year but have found reason after reason to wait and think and sit on it. Well, at some point one has to take the plunge and so this is now in front of you. If you want to keep receiving it, click the subscribe button at the bottom or email me letting me know!
Part of what held me up was deciding the content of the newsletter. Would it be focused on current events? What I am reading? Pressing cultural or social problems? Christianity? Well, I still haven’t entirely answered that question and perhaps never will. What you’ll see is a variety of ideas, articles, book reviews, and some personal essays from time to time.
Why I am leaving Twitter.
For most of us, Twitter is not worth our time or attention. Just get rid of it!
We all wrestle with questions of how to use our time and where to give attention. We all want to connect with other people, keep up friendships and acquaintances, and be somewhat connected to what is going on in the world. Enter social media.
Many social media platforms capitalize off of these human desires and promise to give us what we want for free – connection, information, belonging. Yet many of us begin to suspect, and there is plenty of data and anecdotes to back this up, that we’ve made a bad trade. Try answering these questions:
Can you honestly say that Twitter has helped you form and build relationships?
Has reading or posting tweets made your day or given you a sense of accomplishment or meaning?
Have your actions or perusing of Twitter damaged some relationships and how you think about others?
Do you ever tweet to vent outrage and criticism for temporary catharsis?
If you answered “No” to questions 1 or 2, or if you answered “Yes” to questions 3 or 4, you should get off Twitter. Be like Nike: “Just do it!”
Are you afraid of losing something? I was.
If I shut down my account, I lose the 418 followers (as of 1/22/2021) that I have from the past five years. What about all that time and investment? What if I want to Tweet something!?? (Ironically, I thought of tons of “tweetable” phrases the week before I quit).
Take a walk instead. Read a book. Call someone. Those activities have real lasting value. They are not ephemeral 1s and 0s passing through the internet.
Unless you have a big following, lots of important things to say, and no better ways to say it, you should get off of Twitter and do something else. Unless you like being ephemeral, and frequently angry, and possibly ruining relationships (and careers in extreme cases). If that’s what you want, then stay by all means…
But I say: “Leave Twitter to the trolls.”
Fun Life Illustration
You may be wondering about the picture - it really does tell you a lot about my life and what the character of this newsletter is likely to be. It’s set in the mountains (Leadville, CO to be precise), which I and my family love. It’s on the roof - somewhere I have to escape to in order to get work done with five children seven years old and younger. The computer is stacked on cardboard boxes; sometimes, in fact alarmingly frequently, makeshift is good enough to get the job done. There is a two liter of diet soda (a vice, I admit). I am literally working on top of the entrepreneurial venture, The Abbey, that my wife and I undertook several years ago. And in the background is the steeple of a Catholic church that is paradigmatic of so much of the church in the United States today.
What I am reading
This year I am trying to read more thematically. My current stack of books includes:
The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida
The Great Reset by Richard Florida
The New Urban Crisis by Richard Florida
The Triumph of the City by Ed Glaeser
So far, I've been struck by the importance of lifestyle and setting to creativity. Richard Florida argues that being able to work remotely is not going to lead that many people in creative industries to relocate to rural or even suburban environments. It's not that they can't work remotely, it's that they are less likely to be creative and dynamic with less stimuli.
I am also leading a discipleship training program at my church. So in the past week I have been reading:
Life Together by Dietrich Bonheoffer,
One to One by David Helm
Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes
I have more to say about these, but I'll save that for later.
The Mueller Report, 212 East 7th St., Leadville, Colorado 80461, United States of America