I frequently encounter rudeness on the Internet. When I do, I want to say, “Didn't anyone teach you any manners?” And then I realize that the rules of engagement are all different on the Internet. In fact, we’re kind of making them up as we go along. So, I asked a few friends for advice.
I always savor the chance to speak with Dr. Meredith Gould. She is a sociologist who has written nine books. She is also deeply in love with the church. We used to live in the same general area (before I moved to Chattanooga), so I would drive to her apartment for home-made soup and advice.
One week after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, there seem to be so many failures in the ways that our theology is playing out in the public sphere. And while quick responses, blog posts, sound bytes and tweets are important in this moment, as they emerge from varying political and evangelistic agendas they also expose some of Christianity's devastating aspects.
Social media can reduce activism to a fad—something that we take part in because a particular Twitter hashtag is trending, a video has become viral or a Facebook cause has become popular. It can ignore the hard work that has been taking place over decades and discount a long-term strategy that a community might have.
As important as it is to minister from those wounded places, to preach about real emotional issues, and to write from a place of spiritual depth, there is also danger in it—for us and for our communities.