What we do 

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The Rector Writes... 

“WHAT WOULD JESUS TWEET?”

I wonder what your reaction to that question is?

- “How dare he put a question like that! That’s blasphemy”.

- Jesus would have nothing to do with all that online computer ‘stuff’!”

- “How do you ‘tweet’… and what is ‘tweeting’?”

- “I reckon Jesus would be all over social media!”
 
Perhaps I ought to explain for those who don’t know… the question “What would Jesus tweet?” is based on the phrase “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?” or “WWJD”, which many Christians wear as a wristband, on a bracelet or necklace. This “saying” became popular in the 1990s, encouraging Christians to evaluate all they do in the light of the love of Jesus for everyone.

However, it is said, “There’s nothing new under the sun”, and the phrase “WWJD” actually goes way back to 1886 when an American evangelist called Charles Sheldon preached and then published a series of sermons entitled “In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?”
 
But we can equally ask “What would Jesus say?” or “What would Jesus… communicate on social media/“tweet”?”
 
Now, the easy answer would be to say that he wouldn’t use social media at all… he would wander around talking to folk face-to-face as he met them. And… yes… I believe he would, but I do believe he would use our modern forms of communication too. Our God is a God of communication.

Jesus is called “the Word of God” and St Paul in his letter to the Galatians, chapter 4 verse 4, tells us that “…when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son…”. The old Bible says “in the fullness of time”. In other words, God sent Jesus to be born when the time was right, at just the right time. And it was!
 
Because of the Roman Empire, the lines of communication were wide open at the time Jesus was born. Goods and skills were being traded, journeys across the known world were being made and letters and other writings were being distributed widely. “In the fullness of time” the good news of Jesus Christ could be circulated more widely than ever before.

In the same way, we have wonderful opportunities in our modern world to use social media to spread the good news of Jesus. We can worship together online, we can share teaching sessions online, we can communicate with one another online. But, two things we must never forget. Firstly, we must never forget or ignore those who are not computer “savvy”, and, secondly, we must never abuse the freedoms social media give us.
 
A number of celebrities are turning their backs on social media because of anonymous abuse they receive, and we have seen recently the effect that “fake news” and inciting language can have on certain groups and individuals… culminating in the invasion of the United States Senate.
 
Respecting one another before God is an important tenet of the Christian way of life. As Jesus says in Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”

Maybe “WWJT” bands would be a reminder to us as Christians to use social media wisely and justly and respectfully.
 
kevin for rector writes  The Revd Kevin Ashby
 

 

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