I was using that hot new media format called Twitcher in church on Sunday, and was just about to post a Twitch when I noticed the woman across the aisle scowling at me. Okay, there is no such thing as Twitching (in the media sense) but I thought the post title needed a third element.
A lot of people who Twitter do so in the middle of church services. Recently Josh Harris posted six reasons why he’s not warm to the idea, but I liked reasons number three and five the best:
3. The most important thing I can do while I’m sitting under the preaching of God’s word is to listen to what God is saying to me. I need to actively engage my heart and mind to receive (Isaiah 66:2). Twitter, can take the focus off of hearing and receiving and and makes it broadcasting and sharing. So instead of my mind being engaged with thoughts of “What is the Word of God saying to me?” when I start “tweeting” my focus becomes, “What do I want to say? What do I want to express? What am I thinking?”
5. Just because something is incredibly popular in culture doesn’t mean we have to accommodate it in our worship. Who cares if the whole world is talking about Twitter? Lost people in this world don’t need to see that we’re current with the latest trend, they need to hear God’s unchanging truth (see 1 Peter 1:24-25). They need to understand that God’s word makes a demand on their life. And they should see from us a reverence and holy awe in the presence of God and his word that points them to the fact that what happens in a Christian church is completely different than anything happening in the world.
Even John Piper joined the discussion, with remarks that included:
…But when you are in corporate worship, Worship! There is a difference between communion with God and commenting on communion with God. Don’t tweet while having sex. Don’t tweet while praying with the dying. Don’t tweet when your wife is telling you about the kids. There’s a season for everything. Multitasking only makes sense when none of the tasks requires heart-engaged, loving attention…
This is a fragile bond. The fact that an electric cord is easily cut, does not mean that the power flowing through it is small. It produces bright and wonderful effects. So it is with preaching. Great power flows through fragile wires of spiritual focus. Perfume can break it. A ruffled collar can break it. A cough can break it. A whisper can break it. Clipping fingernails, chewing gum, a memory, a stomach growl, a sunbeam, and a hundred other things can break it. The power that flows through the wire of spiritual attention is strong, but the wire is weak.
Somehow, I don’t think either of these guys will be promoting the book The Reason Your Church Must Twitter.
So where do you stand on the burning theological issue of the week? And should denominations decide or should it be settled at the congregational level? Okay, I’m not really making light of this, because I think both Harris and Piper have rightly shown us that this is all a microcosm of a much greater issue; it says what we think about worship, which says what we think about God.
~ HT Randy Bohlendar
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