John Piper has stated (through a tweet) that, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” We all know those people who basically live on social media websites. They post every thought that comes to mind or actually become a different person altogether. Twitter and Facebook can consume a person’s life in such a way that other avenues of human interaction can fall to the wayside. I’m convinced though that it is not really Facebook or Twitter that the person enjoys or desires but the human interaction. Social media becomes a crutch and yet a small titillation of the human response people so desperately crave. This is a problem. Facebook, Twitter or any other social media can never suffice the deep craving a person has for community or for a shared experience with another person. Love can be communicated in many ways and through many different outlets including social media but that love has its limitations. Social media can only communicate such feelings and actions to a certain extent. Facebook and Twitter and other modes of media can actually become a hindrance to the gospel command of love, giving one’s self sacrificially for another’s good. The beauty and/or terror of Facebook and Twitter is you can control how much of yourself to put out. You become the message that is manipulated to acquire a desired effect. You can manipulate who you really are so as to prevent people from really getting in or understanding who you are as an individual. A funny quote, a provocative putdown of someone’s views, and like of a skimpy photo that says more about the person’s need for a father than them just having a good time at a party. They all can become ways of presenting who you want people to think of you instead of the true self. You can protect the real you. You can prevent people from finding out who you really are. You can steel yourself away. But the trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed by the holy power that life itself comes from. You can even prevail on your own. But you cannot become human on your own. (Buechner) There is great danger in using social media like that. Enjoy and love social media. The purks and benefits of it are known. Yet, do not use social media as a substitute for the necessary, human interaction that we are called to.
Can social media be a useful avenue for the Gospel? Despite social media being used to steel ourselves away from others, can it be redeemed? My answer is yes. Twitter affords a person 140 characters to argue, convince, ponder, ramble, and so on and so forth for the glory of God. There are dangers of using such media. Again, Piper noted, “Dangers, dangers everywhere. Yes. But it seems to us that aggressive efforts to saturate a media with the supremacy of God, the truth of Scripture, the glory of Christ, the joy of the gospel, the insanity of sin, and the radical nature of Christian living is a good choice for some Christians.” Christians are called to redeem culture. Not create their own culture. I do not think any media is too secular for the sacred to not influence. We have to interact with such media to redeem it in some fashion. Below is a url that will show a list of my tweets I have tweeted over the past two years. Many are original but most are from various scholars, theologians, or Christians I have read. Twitter can become a valuable tool for the proclamation and triumph of truth. In 140 characters or less, the goal has been to produce a stimulating and timely truth about the world around me using my Christian worldview.
The list of tweets is here https://austind90.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/tweets2.pdf