Lately I have spent a good portion of time at Christian conferences. I am a United Methodist from the US. And spent two weeks at General Conference in Tampa, Florida and now am in Florence, South Carolina for Annual Conference. To me, it seems as though the digital world has changed the way that some of these conferences operate. There is a constant stream of news sources, live feeds on the internet, Facebook status updates, and tweets. I have been able to interact with people from all over the world through the digital world offered at these venues. There were people from all over the US tweeting me questions about what was happening. And I answered many of those questions. But I’m not a reporter. I’m just a pastor, paying attention and hanging out on Twitter.
The thing is that digital world has made everyone a reporter. But the difference between everyone and a reporter is pretty big. A reporter does just that…reports. Just like the old slogan, “The facts and nothing but the facts.” Yet, so many of us in the digital world, using our personal technology to get information out there do not stick to the facts. We editorialize. We share our opinions. We use sarcasm. We make snarky comments. Sure, we share facts, but we put our own spin on things.
And I have to be honest. I sort of like that. Its fun to get to know people through their tweets. To read how they have experienced the world through their blog. To catch their worldview through a Facebook status. The mainstream media for years now has been trying to figure out how to make themselves relevant and interesting in a world where everyone’s opinion can be heard and the facts just don’t seem to be as much fun to read.
But lately it has made me wonder. Do we have a responsibility as Christians in a digital world to live to a higher standard? We feel protected because we are only one of many voices. We create anonymous accounts that portray caricatures of ourselves or others. Frankly, we say things in our digital life that we would never say out loud.
So my question is how do your tweets reflect your relationship with Jesus Christ? Does the information on your blog, whether fact or opinion, reflect your hope for the world? Could someone tell from your Facebook post whether you are trying to live into biblical principles of peace and justice?
I’m not saying that there isn’t room for sarcasm, snarkiness, and humor. But what does the overall tone of your digital life say about you and your faith? Are we compartmentalizing our digital life away from our real life? It might be worth a thought next time you post something. “Would I say this out loud?” “Would I say this to someone I was having a conversation with face to face?”