We've Got a Social Media Problem
We've got a social media problem. "We" is not just the human race, or just Americans, or just believers around the world. "We" includes you and me as members of the same local church. We have a big problem.
You can read elsewhere about the pluses and minuses of social media on relationships, emotional health, cravings for instant gratification, and dehumanization of others. The literature is plentiful and compelling. My focus here is on just one aspect - the harm we can do to ourselves within the local church.
Social media allows you to effectively plug your ears and shout. And that's a particular problem for us who are part of the same church body.
We can disagree on issues. We should discuss things that matter. But how we do it matters. Too often, how we do it ends up alienating our church family members, dividing ourselves over things that are not essential elements of the Gospel.
I'm not singling out anyone or any issue. I'm watching this happen in churches across the nation and overseas. It's not our exclusive problem, but it can be our particular problem.
It is especially troublesome when someone posits themselves as the "Christian" voice on something, that if you disagree with them, you are disagreeing with God, the Bible, and the historic Christian faith. More often than not, there is not one sole position Christians can rightly hold on a social issue. But when one wraps his or her social view with 2000-year-old orthodoxy without real justification, that unnecessarily disfellowships brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let the Bible speak the lone biblical view. Humbly realize you can only speak from your understanding of the Bible. The Bible is pretty clear on some things, but other ideas are not circumscribed by Scripture. There is no lone biblical view on, for example, immigration law, gun rights, healthcare, tax plan, or which highly flawed candidate you should vote for. There just isn't.
We have accepted some ideas as the biblical view, when really it's just the view of the particular pools we swim in.
We are first citizens of the Kingdom of God, and fellow citizens with Christ and our brothers and sisters in Christ. We won't always get along with one another, but we must not - as citizens of this Kingdom - create unnecessary divisions or wrongly identify what does or doesn't qualify as legitimate Kingdom living.
Use social media wisely and humbly. Discuss. Be very, very hesitant to claim Christ's endorsement on your view. Consider the wisdom of saying nothing, too, especially in a forum that so easily creates misunderstandings. It is more important to represent Christ than to represent your agenda.
(image: By MichaelMaggs - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2637848)