Monday, June 08, 2009

Why John Piper (and Dan Bowen) Tweets ...

I loved this blog entry of John Piper's - "Why and How I am Tweeting". There's a rebel in me somewhere that really dislikes the latest "fad". I know that may be a surprise to some. But there is! It explains why I am always one step behind everyone else. I'll get on board if I feel there's pluses to it but until my heart is in it, I'm not very good at it! Traditionally my sort of heroes don't tend to be the sort of men and women who tweet/blog/facebook (although some do - such as Stanley Jebb recently beginning his own blog thanks to Mark Heath!).

I was thrilled and encouraged to read this by John Piper - and be re-challenged by his biblical/God-obsessed perspective and focus on all of these mediums of technology. I've seen some facilities that you can post on your blog saying "This is the 999,999th post I've blogged consecutively" (or something like that) and at times I've felt pressurised to do that. What rubbish! There's only one proper vision to blogging/tweeting/etc-ing and it's expressed by Piper as such;

"Dangers, dangers everywhere. Yes. But it seems to us that aggressive efforts to saturate a media with the supremacy of God, the truth of Scripture, the glory of Christ, the joy of the gospel, the insanity of sin, and the radical nature of Christian living is a good choice for some Christians. Not all".

Piper accurately sees two approaches to these forms of technology;

"One says: These media tend to shorten attention spans, weaken discursive reasoning, lure people away from Scripture and prayer, disembody relationships, feed the fires of narcissism, cater to the craving for attention, fill the world with drivel, shrink the soul’s capacity for greatness, and make us second-handers who comment on life when we ought to be living it. So boycott them and write books (not blogs) about the problem.

The other response says: Yes, there is truth in all of that, but instead of boycotting, try to fill these media with as much provocative, reasonable, Bible-saturated, prayerful, relational, Christ-exalting, truth-driven, serious, creative pointers to true greatness as you can".

Obviously Piper (and I) lean towards respose 2. I think I found that summary really helpful. There is an unhealthy and narcisstic Christian attitude to "come out and not be part of them". Piper for example has chosen not to have a television and I respect and applaud and understand that. My mum and dad never allowed us to have a television when we were growing up and I am forever grateful - it made me the bibliophile that I am! I do have a television now and enjoy it. The absolute key is that legalism is kept out of it.

Not having a television does not make you "more spiritual" and "more accepted" in the eyes of God than having a television. Not drinking alcohol does not make you "more spiritual" or "more accepted" in the eyes of God than those who drink alcohol. These are decisions that should be reached personally and I think we should be cautious of pastor/teachers who try and influence such participatory decisions for you.

I love this poem of John Piper's to end;

The sovereign Lord of the earth and sky
Puts camels through a needle’s eye.
And if his wisdom see it mete,
He will put worlds inside a tweet.

I will try and see this in the future. I won't blog or tweet unless the sovereign Lord puts words there. Otherwise they are just my words. And frankly the media world is saturated-full of people and their own words! I don't want to add to that - I have nothing to add to that. But if the Lord chooses to speak through me then I will indeed "speak what I see".

Oh and John Piper tweets here!

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