Hey TRC and Friends. I have been following on social media an almost constant barrage of “debate” on multiple issues that are raging inside our denomination currently. Social justice. Complementarianism. And I’ve noticed that some folks tweet a lot.
Folks have actually taken to Twitter to criticize David Platt for praying for our President when he showed up to Platt’s church. This was not planned, and Platt had to respond. He prayed right from the bible for our the President. Then the Twitter trolls had a field day. There was no way for Platt to win except in the eyes of God, who in my opinion, he honored by obeying Scripture, being gracious, laying out the gospel, and not condoning anything. Well don David!!
That barrage of foolishness made me start thinking about social media.
I’d like to critique social media a just a tid bit.
- I don’t know what the boundary for number of posts per day is, but it sure seems that some people spend too much time on social media. It’s like some folks post stuff all day. When the kingdom is fully established and we stand before Jesus, our social media usage will likely be enough to make us feel some kind of way that we didn’t pray more. We had the time, we just chose to use it poorly. We didn’t ask the Lord of the Harvest for more help. We just narcissistically told folks what we thought like it actually made a difference. Let’s use time more wisely.
- Social media is good. It’s not evil. I enjoy it, but it seems to have its useful limit to keeping up with news, sports, friends, inviting folks into your world via blogs books and corporate gatherings, and a few fun interests. Social media is an awful place to have any meaningful dialogue. Exchanging ideas is best done over written correspondence or face to face.
- Social media gives the illusion we are making a difference. Maybe someone somewhere knows something they didn’t know before, but in truth, my posts are not as useful as I’d like to think they are. No one’s is. That’s part of the illusion. The truth is that we could be wasting our time. Throwing the precious currency of minutes into the wind. Raising awareness is not that useful. Getting myself into the fight is useful, hard, dirty, emotional, challenging and not climate controlled. It’s easier to tweet.
- We should reallocate some of our social media time to reading a book, having a real conversation with a real human that does not agree with us, learning to think past 280 characters and pictures, actually putting our effort into solving problems in our cities.
- Maybe our criticism of people or positions needs to happen in person or not at all, and maybe we need to act on our positions in a real way in our local city with real people. Maybe some are doing that. Fantastic. Keep doing it. But if our efforts are relegated to social media, that’s weak. If everyone on Twitter were doing half what they are tweeting, there would be peace and world transformation. My hunch is theres just a bunch of words digitally flung into the air.
- Social media might be turning people into objects. It’s easy to speak wrongly at a person over digital platforms. When in person, we may actually treat an image bearer of God with a little more dignity. Perhaps some are going to be mean spirited in person as well as over social media. But my hunch is that if in person, some of that bravado may disappear, and there may actually be some progress made in human relationships, understanding, and common ground. You may discover that you can disagree as much as disagreement can exist, and yet love that person in person and gain a friend. We may even discover we can do some effective evangelism in person as we display love, courage, concern, and a position that we hold deep conviction over.
- Get to work! Stop wasting time. Unless social media is necessary for one’s job. There’s some of that which is legit. Social media is a necessary platform for their job. That’s fantastic.
I suppose I’d simply say, default to prayer, talk with people in person, be content with local impact, and do real work with real hands before using social media as redemptive work. I believe this strategy may have better effect, and we may actually find greater joy.