Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sensitive Little Snowflakes: Being Christian on Twitter

Full disclosure: I love Twitter.  I'm probably unhealthily addicted to it.  (Shameless plug: you can follow me at @RevEricAtcheson)  I enjoy being able to follow my colleagues in ministry (as well as to troll them mercilessly), as well as the authors I read and many of the journalists who inform me.  And I have a particular soft spot for Twitter handles that spoof the church because, hey, we need to be able to make fun of ourselves.

But man, people get mighty agitated over a whole lot of nothing on Twitter.  In the last several weeks, I have had people unfollow me--ALWAYS accompanied with a parting message of either anger or snark--for the following reasons:

-Me pointing out that the Bible does not uniformly say that marriage is between one man and one woman (Deuteronomy 21:15).

-Me re-tweeting a tweet from Rachel Held Evans, an evangelical Christian author who believes in the shocking notion that men and women can perform the same tasks equally well.

-Me suggesting that Scripture, while complete for the means of salvation, is not a complete accounting of Jesus' message and ministry (John 20:30, 21:25).  In this particular case, I was told that I was accusing Jesus of being a a fellow pastor.

Each time, by itself, I simply thought to myself, "Hey, haters gonna hate."  I'm not the least bit hurt by all of these internet trolls, and I certainly didn't lose any sleep over any of them.

But I also started noticing a larger pattern of people getting angry over me pushing an idea outside of their comfort zone.

Now, had they simply unfollowed me, I would have totally understood.  There are loads of people I would never follow on Twitter simply because I value having a fantastic resting pulse rate and normal blood pressure--though there are a number of folks I do follow with whom I don't agree on everything because I have come to enjoy their perspective and value what they have to say.

Point being, though, is that my own theology and politics do not fit in with a lot of other peoples', and they don't have to hear what I have to say if they don't want to.  That's completely their right and prerogative.

But jumping ship while hollering insults as you leap...that's a different kettle of fish.  It's cowardice...digitally enabled cowardice.

You don't get to try to knock someone down while running away from them.

That's not how this works.  That is NOT how Christianity is supposed to work.

In Christianity, we are in the business of building people up, not tearing them down.  We build people up, enrich them with Scripture, nurture them with spiritual discipleship, and we tell them that we are there for them if they should stumble in any of it.

And if getting agitated over a smartass pastor like me tweeting something you don't like keeps you from doing that...I'm sorry, but that isn't a very Christian thing to do.

Agree with me, disagree with me--I'll be humbled that you're listening to me either way.

But sniping at people in 140 characters because you disagree with them?

That's why a lot of unchurched/spiritual-but-not-religious/whatever-you-refer-to-em-as folks don't like us.

Seriously.  That's why.

They see us as too quick to judge.  And based on some of my interactions on Twitter, I would be hard pressed to tell them that they are necessarily wrong.

I wish I could, though.

Yours in Christ,

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