I have always been wary about getting involved with internet forums, chat rooms, blogs and the like, but here I am. My name is Tom (or Thomas) Dunn, I am a recent graduate of Bluffton University and am currently the youth pastor at Kidron Mennonite in Kidron, Ohio. I have heard about YAR from a number of different places, but most recently was reminded of it by Becca, who was home and at church a couple of Sundays ago. She said she had some poetry on the site about Mennonite sermons, and since I had just given a Mennonite sermon that particular morning, I thought it would be worth my while to read these poems. I read them, and they are good, but I didn’t stop there. I continued to read through many of the various post on YAR and my interest has been sparked.
As I said earlier, I am still wary about posting things on the internet. I’m not sure if it is just me being old fashioned, or the fear of becoming addicted to this and then getting a my space page, a face book page (I actually do have a facebook page, but my room mate from college set it up), and spend all my time blogging and networking over the web. But even deeper than this, I think I have a fear of my virtual self–who will I be on the pages of YAR? Will I still be Tom Dunn or will I become something I’m not. Will I get caught up in projecting myself as an intellectual, intelligent, educated, open-minded, globally aware young anabaptist radical, or can I just be myself? Is it possible to be yourself on the internet? Well, as you may have gathered since you are currently reading all this over the internet, I have decided to post here on YAR, and spark the beginning of my virtual self.
Welcome to YAR, Tom. Glad to hear you find what we’re writing interesting. I look forward to reading what you have to share.
You raise some really interesting questions about what it means to write and interact on-line. Although I don’t often think about it, I do probably consciously or unconsciously shape what I write on-line to fit a certain image.
On the other hand, a positive way to look at this would be that participating in on-line community draws out different facets of our personality than we might normally share in other parts of life. I’ve often found that when I write an email to someone I’m able to express things that I might not be able to share in a conversation. For introverts, there’s more time to think through words and choose the right ones.
Hopefully YAR can be a place to express an authentic part of ourselves and connect with others doing the same.
Thomas, welcome. I don’t know if you can really be yourself online; I guess I’ve never thought much about it. But I do hope you’ll stick around, and maybe even post a sermon? Best wishes with everything at Kidron.