The internet (or interwebs as I affectionately refer to it) is mystifying to me. So much information is there already and billions (literally) of people are adding more everyday. Everything from this weird info about mantis shrimp to political commentary to pictures of people’s kids and so much more (and weirder….fan fiction anyone?).
This past week, I have read a few things that have me worried about how the Church (capital C) is interacting on the web. This blog by my former pastor and the controversy surrounding Sammy Rhodes’ twitter account (he has been/is currently enduring some controversy about whether or not he steals his jokes from others). Really the Rhodes controversy got me thinking, and Thad’s blog helped me put things in perspective.
My observations of these stories has led me to a couple of conclusions. The internet is vast, there is so much out there both true and false, and people feel very free to jump to conclusions, vent their anger or offer their support, and message boards are the worst thing ever invented.
While people are more engaged in conversations about whats going on than ever before, they are also more isolated than they ever have been. We talked a lot about this in a political blogging class I took in college, as it referred to politics. People just want readers or hits, so they fire up the rhetoric to get more of a reaction. This happens with everything.
I follow several blogs that specialize in film festival news and then focus on the oscars around the first of the year (geek!). Even in the film industry, their are blog smear campaigns against films, actors, costume designers….its a dirty game all for that gold statue. You see this in sports (we see you BCS), television, even in seemingly meaningless things (as if the other things I have mentioned are layered in their significance). Twitter, Mommy blogs, bird watchers, PLANTS (yes, I’ve seen some crazy plant message boards….don’t ask).
What is going on? Has the interwebs given us permission to throw civility out the window? Or is it deeper than that? Now that the world is at our fingertips, do we think we have the right to try and tell that world the way it needs to be….all else be damned?
I tend to laugh off the crazy comments everywhere as people who have way too much stake in something so trivial. Then, one day, I experienced internet rage.
A dear friend of mine had been asked to share her story of pain and redemption on video for our service on Sunday morning. It wasn’t an easy experience. Everything wasn’t wrapped up nicely, but in her story you could clearly see the Lord had worked and was still at work in her. And those of us close to her were in the process of walking that out with her.
Our church posts these videos on our website, for the benefit of those in our community who missed them at church and to serve as an encouragement later on (I still go back and watch a few…and recommend this video highly….really take a second and watch it). But, as things go on the internet, often others stumble upon them. Someone posted on her video, questioning her story and her redemption, her motives, her heart. I got angry…how dare he address a person he doesn’t even know in such a manner.
I’ll post part II tomorrow….got to keep these posts short.