According to some calculations, more than 300 million people worldwide have a Facebook account. TechCrunch.com has reported that an additional 200,000 people visit Twitter every week. These reports left me wondering: What would Jesus do? Would Jesus have a Facebook account? Would he be a twitterer?
According to some calculations, more than 300 million people worldwide have a Facebook account. TechCrunch.com has reported that an additional 200,000 people visit Twitter every week.
These reports left me wondering: What would Jesus do? Would Jesus have a Facebook account? Would he be a twitterer?
Churches are joining Facebook daily, anxious to find ways to reach the 30 and younger crowd. “My Church,” an ecclesiastical networking site, now hosts over 35,000 congregations. No wonder Biblical Recorder News calls social networking sites the new coffeehouses. They are the places people meet and greet.
Our own church’s excellent youth director, Matt, often finds kids on Facebook. He reminds students of events and meetings, and finds out what is going on in their lives.
But would Jesus be on Facebook? Would he be posting his every move on Twitter? I suppose one could argue that Jesus went to where people were and, nowadays, that means going to social networking sites.
All of which leads me to wonder: If Jesus were to have a Facebook page, what would his “wall” look like? Would he post pictures of the people he healed — his arm around the man born blind, the poor guy temporarily blinded again by his first encounter with a flashbulb? Would there be candid shots of a paralyzed man rolling up his mat or a healed leper embracing his child?
Would Jesus post pictures of the huge crowds at the feeding of the 5,000, or his private treks through the Galilean wilderness with the 12 apostles? Perhaps he would include pictures of Galilean fishing trips, and the record catch his friends made early one spring morning.
Would Jesus invite us to follow him on Twitter? Would he tweet his every move? A pre-dawn notice: “Gone to the mountains to pray.” Lunchtime: “Not eating today; in the middle of a 40-day fast.” Middle of the night: “Went for a walk on Lake Galilee. Really windy!”
But I digress. It seems possible that Jesus would get on Facebook from time to time, but I doubt that he would spend much time there. As for “tweeting” his every action on Twitter, I find that utterly inconceivable.
There is an underlying question here: Is networking site communication really suited to the relational life Jesus lived and to which he calls his followers?
That may be hard for us to discern. We have been part of a century-long trend toward increased frequency in communication. In the United States alone, more than 3 billion phone calls are made each day. That averages out to almost 35,000 phone calls a second.
But the increase in communication frequency has been accompanied by a decrease in meaningful content. Cell phone conversations are often carried on in a staccato style by people driving cars and buying groceries. Written communication has also suffered. Thoughtful letters have been replaced by impersonal e-mails. But compare those same e-mails to “Tweets,” and they seem almost intimate. Text messages are, IMHO (in my humble opinion), even worse.
All this brings us back to the question: Would the one known as the “Word” have a Facebook account? I hesitantly answer yes, with the caveat that he would not permit social networking to become a replacement for face-to-face, and even heart-to-heart, communication.
Networking sites are not the problem, but problems do occur when they are used as a substitute for real relationships. They offer a kind of virtual friendship, communication without accountability, relationship without responsibility. There is no iron to them, nothing to sharpen us and bring out the person God designed us to be. And frankly, “dats nt gud nuf.”
Shayne Looper writes for The Daily Reporter in Coldwater, Mich.