Book Review: Posting Peace: Why Social Media Divides Us and What We Can Do About It, by Doug Bursch

I’ve lost track of how many years it’s been since I started following Doug Bursch on Twitter – at least  three, probably more. His threads drew me in because I saw in him an engaging, personable, and consistently positive online presence. I’ve seen Doug interact with consideration, kindness, and good humor toward all, even when confusion and conflict were in the mix. He has given us a trustworthy track record of practicing what he preaches. If that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t be reading or reviewing his book about peacemaking on social media.

Posting Peace: Why Social Media Divides Us and What We Can Do About It is well constructed and vividly written. I see Doug’s heart for pastoral care and spiritual formation in how he conscientiously leads us into the difficult terrain that is social media. He presents us with the core problems, carefully defines relevant terms, and summarizes key communication and media theories. He lays out insightful examples – personal, historical, current, biblical – that illustrate both issues and solutions. I especially appreciated seeing how cross-culturally aware and trauma-informed Doug is, as these are core aspects in productive ministries of reconciliation these days.

Doug’s study questions and practical #PostingPeace exercises with each chapter give us a chance to plum our own motives, face our fears, consider customized ways to embrace and embody the better way of Jesus. Posting Peace also keeps in positive tension the needs and challenges in being kind online and not merely “nice” – yet not avoiding conflict, because that often unlocks the way for people to change.

I came away with a strong sense of both the why-for’s and how-to’s of becoming a constructive ambassador of Christ and His Kingdom in the often divisive minefield of social media. The reading experience gave me a clearer picture and concrete ways for how I can do better online in bridging between polarized camps and creating space for those who are opposed. This is a balanced guidebook, full of wisdom for such a time as this, and I highly recommend it!

Disclosure: I received a digital ARC/Advanced Reader Copy and a print book as part of Doug’s launch team.

Posting Peace is available as of today–April 20th. You’ll find links and resources at the InterVarsity webpage.

The InterVarsity Press publisher’s webpage.

Downloadable excerpt of Chapter 1.

Posting Peace Study Guide PDF. Be sure to download the study guide. It’s really well done, dividing the book into 6 sessions of 2 chapters each. “Talking points” summarize each chapter. There are also notes on the practical experiments/experiences to do on social media, and discussion guides.

Doug Bursch’s @fairlyspiritual Twitter handle and #PostingPeace hashtag.