It seems that these days everyone feels like they have a microphone (I say as I use mine, my blog). People have the ability to speak to wider audiences so much easier than ever before (be it Twitter, the Facebook, blogs, video blogs, Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog). It is a good thing that we have the ability to communicate more broadly, at least in my opinion. But, it also allows people to say things to people or about people that they wouldn’t usually say in person. They can hide behind the technology. This is creating a climate where people are arguing online, where you cannot hear tone of voice, see compassion or passion in someone’s eyes, cannot see that a real person is behind the thoughts, and cannot really have an actual conversation, just a bunch of 140 character witty responses.
I realize that not everyone is going to agree with each other, not even in the Church (especially it seems in the Church). I know that healthy debate is good for everyone, it forces us to really consider what we believe, why we believe it, and how that should effect our lives. But internet debate doesn’t appear to be healthy to me. In fact, I think instead of making people think about the what, why, and how of their beliefs, it serves to build up peoples pride and desire to be right.
Instead of having a conversation, you just type your thoughts, all the while thinking about how dumb the other person is for believing or thinking what they do. I have seen completely rational, nice, gentle, kind, Jesus following people fall into this. Heck, I am sure I have done it before too.
Maybe I am naive, and people communicate similarly in person as they do online. I don’t think that is true, but it could be. If it is, then this applies to that as well. Internet communication is not going away, so we have to get better about how we use it. Especially those of us who claim Christ. If we are going to follow Jesus, we have to do it even on the web, even if someone is taunting us to anger, even if we know (or think we do) that they are dead wrong. If Jesus had a blog, or a twitter, or a facebook, He would still communicate the gospel. We should too.