Christian social media is one of the largely undiagnosed cancers in the Church body: Christians are so immersed in Biblical “podcasts”, “blogs”, and “videos sermons” that their joy in Christ has been lost to an unending stream of “content”. I fear that many Christians today genuinely don’t know what it means to be truly enraptured with the glory and joy of Christ.
Here are some of the symptoms of this cancer:
Bibles get replaced by great human Bible teachers
Bible reflection gets replaced by Bible-verse sharing
Prayer time gets replaced by prayer-comments and prayer-messages
Fasting gets replaced by social media resolutions
Quiet time spent in pursuit of God gets replaced with social media conversations about God
Now I realize that sharing this on my Christian blog may not be the best strategy for growing my social media presence, because in the event that my readers actually take my advice, I will lose traffic, and in the event that they don’t take my advice, I’m also likely to lose traffic from those who don’t like what I’m saying. But my goal is to help my Christian brothers and sisters grow closer to God, not drain all your time so that I can build a bigger social media platform.
The first point that I want to make about this cancer is to point out the nature of cancers: we know that cancers are basically “healthy cells gone awry”. That means that by calling Christian social media a “cancer”, I’m really just saying that the good and healthy function that Christian social media can perform in the body has, for many people, gone awry and is, in some cases, causing more harm than good because it is sapping people of the time they need to pursue God.
The second point that I want to make about this cancer is that it is largely going undiagnosed and untreated, with many of its symptoms being wrongly attributed to other causes. We do not seem to realize the effect Christian social media is having on the temperament, behavior, spiritual appetite, and public testimony of the Church body. We really do need to pause and seek sound Biblical counsel from God about how we consume and use social media in this world because, as someone who has lost my temper online more than once, I can tell you that it is incredibly difficult to “walk in the light” online.
The final point that I want to make about this cancer is to identify what I mean when I say “Christian social media”. I think in the early 2000’s there was a social media platform called “Revelife” that was a spin-off of the Xanga blogging platform. That’s not what I’m talking about. For the most part, exclusively “Christian” social media platforms have all died out. What I’m talking about when I say “Christian social media” are the Christian circles that we form online when we use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the other platforms that host our podcasts and blogs. I may run an exclusively Christian blog like BibleExposition.blog, but it gets integrated into the broader social media landscape anyway. So, that’s what I’m talking about when I talk about “Christian social media”. I’m talking about all the Christian memes, music, podcasts, blogs, jokes, Bible-verse pictures, and so forth that we consume and produce as Christians.
In this section of our series on the Quiet Pursuit of God, we’re going to examine in three posts how we use social media:
- Error & Replacing the Bible
- Church & Sectarianism
- Ego, Consumerism, & Spiritual Maturity