Monday, October 1, 2012

Paul on Twitter

We have been comparing social media to old-fashioned forms of communication in my fall semester class, "The Virtual Church."  A question which keeps coming up in our readings and discussions is, "Would the apostle Paul tweet if he was alive today?"  The answer is, "You bet your last parchment he would tweet!"  The apostle Paul was all about disseminating God's word to everyone who could possibly receive it.  He sent letters to various churches, then instructed those churches to read the letters he had written to  other churches.  Scribes received his letters, copied them, and sent them to the far reaches of the Roman empire and beyond.  In a way he already was tweeting, 1,800 years before we had the technology to send or receive those messages instantaneously. (Notwithstanding the 3,000 year-old telephone systems discovered last century in Egyptian tombs and Hindu temples.)

When in prison Paul called for his cloak and some books, but especially the parchments (2Timothy 4:13).  He wanted the best technology of the time to be able to reach his churches.  A Christian pastor sitting in Libyan prison today might exclaim, "Get me the BlackBerry!"  What used to be accomplished with smoke signals and talking drums now occurs with cell phones and iPads.  The apostle Paul would not only be using the latest technology; he would be reading the latest tech blogs to see what was coming next. 

As Christians we should be out on the forefront of digital and all other media.  We must not miss the opportunity to proclaim Christ crucified, buried, and risen wherever people are gathered.  If that is the slam poetry festival, sister Proverbs will be there.  At the Kirking of the Tartans brother Taber will remind fellow Scottsmen of John Knox and their rich Scottish -Presbyterian heritage.  In digital media Professor Watkins will preach Apple, then help us use our limping PC's to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.  When people gather in the malls and street festivals, we ought to be the presence of Christ there.  And when they open their laptops to kill time on a long flight, we should be waiting for them, offering them the love of God so that they may experience it anew and bear it to whatever far destination they may be traveling.     


  1. If we should be at the forefront, why aren't we? Why are Christians so reluctant to engage in this world if Paul would've

    1. There is comfort in the familiar; if something has been working for a while it is hard to imagine it might be time to move on. I love the old revivalist preachers; I even have fond memories of attending revivals in my youth. But can they be effective today? Is there a better way to proclaim the Gospel to many people at once than setting up a tent on the church lawn?

  2. I don't think the church is in a place to compete in this world right now. The digital world is very self-centered. Paul would certainly have some tweets about how the Gospel is not about you, it's about Christ.

    I think the church needs to remember that it's not about being effective or successful, it's about being faithful and trusting God. We've got to engage the language of the people, even if we don't speak it very well yet.

  3. I like your comment that "Would the apostle Paul tweet if he was alive today?" We have to communicate with people in internet media technology nowadays.