Really appreciated this article from Karen Swallow Prior, “9 WAYS TO MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA MORE CHRISTIAN.”
Read it, it’s good.
Extra credit points for mentioning Emily Post, good manners, and the concept of having a dinner party. Mingle, chat, and remember to treat people like they are real people, because they are. I chuckled because I do have this Miss Grundy persona going on sometimes where I just have to lecture everyone on how to behave and it often feels very schoolmarmish. I am just not in the habit of policing grown up people’s behavior.
I am all for a good rowdy BBQ too, some roaring debate, perhaps even a saloon brawl or two! It is just, if you break anything you are paying for it and you better plan to stick around and clean up the mess, too. So my Miss Grundy has a bit of Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke going on, too. The last thing I want to see is the internet as a stuffy drawing room or a fancy tea party where people are afraid to speak their mind and be honest.
Take note of what Karen said here, because my experience is the same, “On the other hand, some of the most obnoxious interactions I’ve had on Twitter are with those who list “pastor” on their bios. I find it hard to believe that they behave the same way among their flock as they do with strangers on the internet.”
Yep. The worst of the worst are often pastors! Anybody can claim they are a pastor on the internet, but I have actually chased down a couple and confronted them, so I know of what I speak. They are real enough. It really helped to open my eyes to why some people may have developed some issues with the church in general and that’s just tragic.
A couple of guys have actually created a fake persona where they vent, mock, and satire. That is something else entirely, that is well, truth and beauty and some darn good comedy. That is the appropriate way to express your frustration with people in general.
As part of my ongoing campaign to try to convince people on the internet to, Act Like A Human, I’ve actually had the opportunity to gently speak to two people in person who were really awful to me. Basically it was just a simple matter of, “I know you think you know who I am, but here is who I really am. Have a look at me.” I am just somebody’s mom, somebody’s neighbor, not quite the vile boogey man you’ve made me out to be in your mind.
I too struggle sometimes to see other people as Jesus sees them. Some of my forays on the internet have taken me into some pretty intense anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and definite hatred of women. It’s not very easy to perceive people as made in the image of God when they are actually just verbally vomiting all over your new dress.
I mentioned pastors because they can be the worst of the worst, but they can also be the best of the best. Seriously, the very best of the best. Christians in general often really shine on the internet, you can just spot them a mile away. Often their words are very timely, they become like a lifeline, dropping you the very idea you just really need to hang onto.
A guy named Mika Edmondson tweeted this out not long ago and it really resonated with me.
“Lord, behind every confederate and alt-right avatar is a deeply anxious image bearer, too afraid to be known, too afraid to be kind, too afraid to come into the light. Would you grant them the courage of faith, hope, and love? Only your compassion can restore theirs. Amen”
Fear, he is a liar and he is often responsble for why people behave so poorly.