For some reason today I came upon at least 3 articles addressing the concept of twittering in church. For some reason it's a real hot topic and I've been surprised at the number of strict opponents of the phenomenon. But this particular blog post I came across really took the words out of my mouth and it applies to most everything in life that deals with battles of extremes. My reply I posted to the article deals with what the essence of my blog is about... that being/doing the extreme of any certain thing leads to unbalance (and usually idolatry) and that the key is to "keep balance".
I replied specifically to others in the thread and I won't post those here, but you can view them on the original article's page which is linked here.
by Bruce Reyes-Chow
Every area of life carries potential of becoming idolatrous. Anything that is abused or excessively acted out as to detract from one's relationship with God is an idol. However what most people overlook is that the opposite of excessively acting out or abusing something is to deny one's participation or association with the subject altogether. And the problem that gets misunderstood is that this denial is in and of itself an idol.
In the context of this article, Twitter use is being questioned because it has the potential to become an idol and take the place of our communication with God during the specific setting of worship services. However, what is overlooked by many is that to argue the opposite of using Twitter in church is to have the wrong answer as well. To try to argue that no one should ever use it during service is to create an idol of solitude and concentration that must be acted out in order to communicate with God. That is to say that this demeanor is the requirement for getting the proper effect intended for church gathering times.
I would say this mentality is wrong because it denies the Holy Spirit to work through any atmosphere except that of silence held by the congregation during preaching and possibly singing if applicable. I have come to learn that most areas where two sides are debated like this (to do/not to do) that it must be understood that balance is the key to avoiding idolatry. If one is truly a Christ-follower and attends church in order to commune with believers and to be fed by the Spirit, then who can deny him the opportunity to share that with the online community? For one to cast judgement that he is either right or wrong for tweeting or not tweeting is to deny that person of their own convictions by casting legalistic demands on them.
For me, the balance happens by tweeting when I feel necessary and not tweeting when I am aware that it is a distraction to others or to myself. But to declare a universal mandate of right or wrong for the whole church community is to create a rule with no justification that only denies both parties of letting spiritual conviction(not social conviction) guide their actions.
In response to the typical arguments against twittering I would answer their questions this way: Are there people that only tweet to glorify themselves? YES... But are there those that use this technology to further the impact of the message? I would say even more so! Can the tweeting be done at other times? Possibly, but it seems to me that the impact of an audience that is (digitally) engaging in what's being presented is so great during the time it's happening.An example from Mars Hill Church shows what people tweet during church and I can't help but see how excitement and community would grow from using technology in this way.http://blog.marshillchurch.org/2009/03/02/sunday-in-the-life/
I don't even feel the need to address how tweeting hardly differs in the slightest from note taking and could be a huge benefit in that way. My church does not specifically utilize twitter or texting as a dedicated tool in our services, and that's ok! But that has never stopped me from tweeting my thoughts on the experience/message when I feel the need.
Thanks for the words Bruce.