I periodically get an automated email from Facebook telling me that I have notifications pending. I think it’s a nice way of saying, “Hey you jerk, there are people out there wanting to know of you’ll be their friend!” Confession #1: I do have a Facebook page, and on the day I set it up I accepted a few friend requests that immediately came in. Confession #2: That was four years ago, and I haven’t touched it since then. I am told someone posted a more updated picture of me on my page. That was nice of them, I think. A little creepy too. At any rate, if you’ve sent a friend request to me and I haven’t responded, don’t be offended. There are 167 others out there just like you.
Obviously, I’ve been slow to accept the social media craze. Maybe it’s a generational thing. I grew up thinking that if you tweeted you were supposed to say “Excuse me.” But now the experts are telling me that tweets and tumbles and hashtags are essential to staying relevant in ministry. (And yes, I realize I just spelled out “hashtag” instead of using the “pound key” on my keyboard. For those born before 1998 that’s what that little symbol meant for the first 1500 years of the English language. Maybe you can understand why I have been slow to catch on! Friend is a noun.)
I suppose that just like the electric light bulb, central air conditioning, and Elvis impersonations, social media are here to stay. Get on the train, or get left behind, right? I would just offer this one word of caution. With all the cacophony of words being thrown around on the blogo-titwitto-facebooko-sphere, there is only one reason any of us have anything to say at all: Because God spoke first.
How did the universe come into being? According to Genesis, it is because when there was nothing but a dark, chaotic void, God said, “Let there be…” God’s word is the initiating act. Every other word we ever will say is only a response to that word. If God hadn’t spoken first, we’d have nothing to say and no way to say it. In the beginning was the word, says John 1:1.
Think of the Bible, then, as the original social media. It’s way more than 160 characters, and it’s a message that eventually took on flesh and made his dwelling among us, but God friended us with his Word. That’s worth responding to.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go tweet.