Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Holy Spirit's work in Facebook

A few moments ago I tried to post something as my status on facebook...

...and it stopped me.

[Something along the lines of: "Your attempted status is too long! Maximum characters exceeded..." (this isn't precisely what it said, but I took the point.)]

It stopped me, and I'm glad for it. I'd much rather write a little more thoroughly on the topic... whether its warranted or not, you be the judge.

Here's what I wanted to post...

Dear Christian Friends; I love you all dearly! And my non-Christian friends too! (who I know are also reading our posts...)
Therefore, let's be sure that all of our social-public discourse on the things of God keeps Christ at its focal point... not the fact that "we're" right and "they're" not.

Mark 2:27-28 Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

I thought about how to shorten it (I was only 8 or 9 characters over the limit), but I decided that a combination of fate and God's hand had delayed what might have been a caffeine-induced post.

I'm not considering changing my mind on this - and I haven't edited the content above - but I think it is something that I need to sit back and reflect on a little more.

The basis of what has been rolling around in my mind is this;

How should we who are pastors be utilizing social media?

-and more to the point -

Have we forgotten our public role of 'shepherd' for the sake of the simplicity of 'putting ourselves out there'?

Of course, I do find the irony in the fact that when one Internet venue puts up a slight roadblock, I re-direct myself into another medium that is equally as public and potentially hazardous toward the condition of those who read it.

Here's my concern; [in a 3-point list, since I am a pastor after all...]

  • I have friends who are blatantly Christian and I have friends/acquaintances who are not.
  • Many of us, in the 'real' world, gladly temper our public image so as not to cause offense or injury to others (or, more importantly, to the Gospel of Jesus)
  • Yet, when it comes to our 'Friend' list or 'Followers', we are quite brazen and often unfiltered when it comes to what we consider 'Tweet-able'

There are enjoyable debates that I witnessed (and many less than enjoyable that I walked away from) while at the Seminary... and it seems that we pastor-types tend to revert to that when we get together. This I can understand and appreciate. We need the mental 'pick-me-up' and refresher, especially with how we have been wired through the institutions that helped form us. This is important indeed!

But, its easy to forget: that's NOT how the 'normal' people of the world think, act, or are prepared for!

Instead, what image of pastors do we portray for people who don't have the same background and context as we do? It looks pretty nitpick-y. It looks mean-spirited. It looks haughty.

...and in short,

(thought I KNOW for certain to the bottom of my heart that these are Christian people who love God and appreciate the grace and love that has been delivered through faith in Christ alone...)

We look like the Pharisees.


(There, I said it. And no, it didn't feel good.)


I don't want to stop the debates over the sensitive issues of our churches.
I don't think that everything should be left as the 'status quo'.
I really don't want our people to stop hearing about the importance of those things that God holds so dearly and gifts to us...

But what I'm trying to lovingly suggest is as follows;

When we 'post' or 'tweet' or 'reply'; imagine yourself standing outside your church, fully vested with the processional cross in one hand and a nicely-lit billboard sitting next to you proclaiming the very thing you just handed out to the Internet world. All your members see you and read what you've written, and all their friends who drive past look over their shoulders and associate you with your membership (their Christian friends)... and more lastingly, to their image of Christ.

Are we holding up the cross for the sake of the cross, or in order to make ourselves heard?

Conversely, (and in a much more positive form of statement) imagine all the ways that the unlimited power and influence of the Holy Spirit can be delivered through these media.

I ask that we simply consider this...


Please receive this in my own best efforts at Christian love, as I know that I too am guilty of that which I comment upon.

In our Christ,

- Matt


Anonymous said...

I feel you are subtly making a comment on something, but I'm afraid that I'm not quite sure what that is.

The Good Secretary

Jon and Lani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon and Lani said...

(Lani) :)

Jon and Lani said...

'll give you an AMEN to that, Matt! My small group has just been talking about the modern day Pharisees and how we as a church are turning into them... Our church is really trying to take a stand to call out the church goers who really aren't following Christ in their lives. It's humbling because we all fail, but we get so caught up in SELF that we aren't caught up in Jesus. Thanks for boldly speaking truth today!

Pastor Y said...

I can sometimes selfishly think only of my need to express and forget about being identified as "Christian". What I mean is that I want to be salt and light in a in every venue. Jesus is calling us to live and behave (and communicate) in a way that attracts others to His love, grace and mercy. Thanks for sharing and challenging those of us on FB and Twitter -- for Him.

PS Yes, I know there are times we need to care enough to loving confront also...

The White Pigeon Hope - Seeking to "Normalize" the work of the Holy Spirit since 2008.