WWJT? What would Jesus Tweet? Would he avail himself of social media outlets to spread his message if he was doing ministry on earth in 2020? I’m not sure.
What I am sure of is that Jesus cares deeply about how his followers treat one another and how they conduct themselves among unbelievers. The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, have so much to say about the way we use words.
Awhile back I read through Jesus’ most famous block of teaching, the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7), with an eye on what it teaches us about social media engagement. I was blown away by how relevant and potent Jesus’ message is for this cultural moment.
In the coming days I will be reading/sharing my adaptation of Jesus’ words based on Eugene Peterson’s The Message in four parts. My heart is broken watching so many Christians getting caught up in the nasty partisan political rancor. My pastoral appeals and calls to faithful witness seem to be falling on deaf ears. But maybe Christians will at least give Jesus’ own words a hearing.
Let all who have ears to hear, listen and follow.
Here’s part 1.
TRANSCRIPT: My Adaptation of The Message (Matt 5-7) with my additions in [brackets].
5 1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he [opened a Twitter and Facebook account]. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and [hosted a free webinar on social media use and the Kingdom of God]. This is [some of] what he said:
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought…
9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight [on social media]. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down [on Facebook] or throw you out [of chatrooms] or speak lies about you [on social media] to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!— for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God- flavors of [the internet]. If [your Facebook posts and Tweets] lose [their] saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the [Facebook world or Twittersphere]. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going [viral] with this, as public as a [trending hashtag or viral Youtube video]. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on [Facebook Live]. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your [words and comments]. By opening up to others [on your Facebook page], you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven….