Social Media: My Battle

I love social media. I really do. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people via Twitter and Facebook. In fact 2 of my best friends in the world I met through Twitter. I wouldn’t be Co-Pastor of the church in which I serve right now if it wasn’t for Twitter. I relish the connections I’ve made, the long lost friends I’m now in touch with because of technology…I love the glimpses I get into peoples personal lives…I love being able to share tidbits of beauty God shares with me throughout the day.

All of that being said, I still struggle with Social Media.

There are the usual things that I’ve heard many folks complain about. Petty complaints, self congratulation…the overall fakeness of people trying to put only their best face on for the world to see so that their lives seem so perfect…and yes, I know I have been, and probably will be guilty of this myself.

This of course isn’t just true of social media, it is true of life in general.

All of these things though, I don’t think are my biggest struggle.

My biggest struggle as I scroll through my stream on a daily basis is that there just seems to no longer be a sense of sacredness. Everything in our lives is up for public consumption. Certain situations and life experiences used to be ‘just for us’…Whether it be an intimate conversation/coffee with a friend…the baptism of our kids…a sound bite from a sermon that we feel we have to share right then…

What happened to just living in the moment…enjoying the moment…just for what it is? God’s grace shown to us…poured out on us…for us to enjoy. I suppose part of joy is wanting to share it with the world…Joy overflows…it’s supposed to. But as I view much of social media…I see no reverence for those things and those moments.

There are times in life where we are to be in awe of the Holy. There are times in life where we should be dropped to our knees and left speechless by God’s graces and mercy shown towards us in our lives. I don’t know that having the cell phone/tablet/lap top at our finger tips ready to record every instance of beauty illustrates this truth.

Beauty needs to be shared. No doubt. Part of human nature is wanting to share the beauty that we encounter. I think that is part of being created in the image of God. That is a part of us that is like God.

Sometimes though, I think beauty should knock you down and simply cause you to stare. Sometimes something is so beautiful that we aren’t able to find the words for it. Too often though, what I see, and what I do…is miss the beauty because I’m too busy trying to describe it. I lose part of the joy because I’m too busy trying to show others what I’m seeing…And the kicker is…often, the beauty get’s lost in translation.

Or maybe even worse, we grow numb…we place all things on the same level…there is no more sacred/non-sacred…there is no more extraordinary/ordinary. We lose our since of awe…our since of the holy.

Losing our awe of the holy is a dangerous thing…

Then again…maybe I’m wrong about all of this…

Maybe there is a sense/glimpse of the sacred and holy in all things. Maybe that is one of the benefits of social media…being able to show that…to point people to the beauty we are experiencing. To help people find that glimpse of beauty that they otherwise may not find…

Maybe there is a balance there that we have to find.

That is my battle…

What say you?

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5 comments

  1. I’m thankful for social media and God’s providence in it. I think it can totally be a blessing and a tremendous way to proclaim the goodness of God. But I do see how quickly it can become idolatrous, as we can devote more time to it that we should. (I know I have). But I think it is just like anything else. In whatever you eat or drink or tweet of facebook or google plus…etc…do all to the glory of God. We can certainly show the supremacy of Jesus in our social media.

    As for living in the moment and sharing the moments. It depends on the moment. There is always gonna be that guy who tells you when he goes to the bathroom on Twitter. Then there is going to be the proud father who wants to tell the whole world that his kid was baptized.

    Can the words of the Apostle Paul be applied?

    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9 ESV

    What say you?

  2. I don’t think the issue is the proud father who wants to tell us his kid is getting baptized…but the issue is having our cell phone out so that we can update our status or take the snap shot at that moment…we can enjoy the moment and talk about it later…we can be present in the moment without having to tell the world right then and there. And perhaps the baptism issue is a bad example…but, for every person that does a wonderful job of translating the beauty of any given situation, there are 1,000 that do not…and one of the issues with social media is that everyone has a platform. This is both a positive and a negative. I don’t think we shouldn’t share our lives, our joys, etc…but there is much to be said about enjoying and being present in each moment without having to have a cell phone present to capture it for the world to see…

    I don’t know that I can fully explain via a social media post exactly what I’m trying to convey…but hopefully at least it will give us something to think about.

  3. Chris, your thoughts definitely strummed at a chord of my heart….

    I am amazed at the creativity & beauty of God in others that I can observe from the sidelines of the internet. I am also sickened at the vulgarity displayed. There are times that I have been sickened at my own displays of crassness & egotism!

    It’s so easy for me to forget the awesome weight of words…I’m reading John Piper & Justin Taylor’s book “The Power of Words and the Wonder of God”…it’s filled with glorious truths gleaned from the Bible. They remind us that Jesus himself said we will give an account “for every careless word” (Matt 12:36-37) and that “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart” (Matt 15:18).

    Sinclair Ferguson, a contributor to the book, expounds James 3:1-12, identifying 4 driving principles regarding the tongue: 1) the tongue is difficult to tame 2) the tongue has a disproportionate power 3) the tongue causes destruction & 4) the tongue is plagued with deadly inconsistency.

    Uh, yea….I resemble those remarks…

    He then exhorts us: 1) to realize the depth of our sin, the pollution of our hearts, and our need of saving grace as are all evidenced in our use of the tongue; 2) to recognize (as we believe in Jesus & trust in his atoning work) we are each a new creation in Christ; and 3) to continue in the Word.

    John Piper adds “biblically sanctioned eloquence should humbly exalt Christ with the hope that God will use our language to help listeners retain interest, increase sympathy, awaken sensitivity, and feel the words powerfully.”

    That’s what I’m hoping for… and definitely what I’m getting a taste of in this book!

    Thanks for blogging Chris! I really appreciate your honesty and integrity as you share in Life with us! You’ve captured my interest!

  4. Thanks for this blog Chris. I’m amazed at how God works in that I’m a social media consultant and I discovered your blog through a google search for: “striving in social networks.” And here you are, writing about something that I struggle with constantly. God put it in my heart to teach our parents and teens how to stay safe on line, and how to ‘redirect’ our kids attention to use social media as a means to steer them toward their goals, rather than ruin their chances of getting their dream job by participating in on-line bullying or posting pictures that are inappropriate. Social Media has created a society that doesn’t think things through, the resulting lack of judgement by both teems AND adults saddens me. But what saddens me more is my OWN ability to get sucked in since I do this for a living. I am 100% guilty of snapping pictures at every given opportunity and I know with 100% certainty that people perceive me by the happy face that I’m always putting on the web, when in fact, I definitely have my down times too. I often wonder – would the same people who are there when I’m being witty or posting great pictures also be there when I’m feeling down? For my close friends – yes. For many others who’s friendship I probably should not have accepted in the first place – most likely not. Because that’s not why they’re there. I believe that many people are on Facebook to fill the blank space in their day or in their heart. And I believe that THIS may be precisly why God gave us Mark Zuckerberg. 🙂 Now we have an opportunity to show the entire world how graceful our God is. If anyone would like to keep this conversation going, we can meet up on Twitter. 🙂

  5. I resonate with so many of these wrestlings; thanks so much for sharing, and for the replies here too. Very encouraging as I try to grapple with me own “theology of social media” if we can call it that.

    But for now I’ll just say that my struggle to soak in sacred moments goes beyond social media (which I’m sure it does for you all too). For example: my wife and I love photography, and we love hiking, so we went for a hike in the mountains yesterday. The scenery was awesome and we got some killer shots. But I was struck at one point that the hobby of photography (done the wrong way) can make it difficult to enjoy the sacredness of God’s creation for itself. The camera can be a filter that keeps the awe from reaching our souls the way God intended when he made mountains and trees and fall and leaves.

    Anyways, some of my thoughts on this. Definitely not against social media or photography or any of the rest, but it’s amazing how things like this can be so good sometimes, but, mishandled, can put our eyes righ on us rather than where they’re supposed to be.

    Thanks for sharing all.

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