2013 NACSW Conference: Social Justice, Social Media and Paul?

NACSW 2013 Atlanta GA

My presentation this morning at the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW) details the philosophical origins of the COACH Live! site. In addition to the origination, a workshop session outlines some of the tools and techniques for implementing the COACH Live! intervention.

From the proposal:
Workshop Abstract: The conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus is a well-known New Testament story. Many may not know the depth of the social justice lesson presented in the story. This session highlights the lesson and offers an example social media intervention participants can use to respond to the call for advocacy and enhanced access for all. Participants will learn to outline a blog and social media advocacy project, and maintain content and motivation.

Learning Objectives. As a result of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate what the conversion of the Apostle Paul has to do with social justice and social media.
  • Identify 4 key access factors denied through oppression and the mechanisms of denial.
  • Conceptualize a blog and social media advocacy intervention to address oppression including FB, Twitter, and Google+.

Workshop Description and References. This presentation details a pattern of social media usage that can be adapted for use with congregations, students, or employees. At its core, it is about access as a method to overcome oppression. The presentation will explore methods of oppression, the intervention, and it will also lead participants to create an outline for implementing the intervention in their own sphere of influence.

CONTEXT A story is told about a man who believed so strongly in what he had been taught that he set out to kill anyone who represented an opposing worldview. He dismissed convincing information that suggested that he rethink his beliefs. He was not alone. He was sent as an emissary with all the powers and authority of his government. On the road to a city named Damascus, Saul was: 1) Asked to explain himself, “Why kick against the pricks?” You hurt yourself (endure dissonance) when your actions are in opposition to your beliefs. The challenge was leveled at his knowledge base. 2) Blinded by a light from heaven. Saul was forced to rely on the people he disliked. The challenge was to his relationships. 3) Knocked from his horse. He was “knocked off his high horse,” a challenge to his status. 4) Asked to learn a new way.

INTERVENTION About a decade ago, the founder of COACH Live! began to wonder if the Saul-to-Paul conversion could be replicated through technology. Sure, there would be no blinding light from heaven, but surely the message of “status quo disruption,” democratization, and social justice is more needed today. COACH Live! was launched in Spring 2012 to begin a movement in the pattern of Saul’s revelation: increase access to knowledge, relationships, markets, and mechanisms. Today, COACH Live! presents knowledge through an electronic magazine focused in 5 areas of institutional interest motivating and informing individual success. FAITH discusses the use of faith as credibility for the composition of a future that is not bound by the experiences or predictions of the past. FAMILY provides tools and techniques for relationships, raising children, and communicating a productivity focus creating a family unity that increases the potential for larger community success. EDUCATION offers insights into the process and mechanics of teaching, learning, and self-development integrating a new culture of creativity as an institutional innovation. ENTREPRENEURSHIP suggests the habits, perspective, and discipline that will convert ideas into capital by creating products, connecting to markets, and packaging expertise while exhibiting justice, progress, and altruism. HEALTH explores the impact of environment, stress, nutrition, beauty, and perceptions of self on physical and mental development and holistic well-being.

WORKSHOP Participants will be instructed in methods to develop blog series, outline individual blog posts, and utilize social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to market their work.

Presenter Bio: Michael is currently Associate Professor of Social Work at Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN. He leads the research sequence in the social work program, and chairs its committee charged with curriculum renewal and program assessment. A former MSW program director, Wright has taught a diverse population of students at both the baccalaureate and master degree levels.