Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Being a Christian online

Isn't it strange the amount of power individual Christians have in the media, especially through social media.

The views of a Christian often become the views a all Christians. The words of a Christian become the words of all Christians.

And what makes this more dangerous is that it much more likely to be the negative words and views that get picked up, while all the loving, graceful, caring, Christ-like words and views are lost. How often have we heard stories of people who claim that they aren't a Christian because of a they see Christians as judgmental, sexist, holier-than-thou. Now my experience of Christians is usually different than this. I'm not going to say there are no Christians like that, stereotypes have to come from somewhere, but most of the Christians I know are awesome people. It is the negative that makes more of an impact, that is more noticeable, and often more quotable.

In my twitter profile, I describe myself as '22yo Christian, Rugby fan, interest in politics, and ginger!' I've never (to my knowledge) had my views taken to be the views of all 22 year olds, of all rugby fans (or even all England fans), or of all gingers. So what is it about Christianity that draws such scrutiny? I don't have an answer to this. Maybe it's that people are always looking to criticise the 'holier-than-thou' Christians they believe we are. Maybe it's a belief that our faith makes us one single homogenous blob who all believe the same thing. Whatever it is, I believe that it puts quite a burden on us. One angry tweet, one sarcastic Facebook post, could turn someone of Christianity, and could drive a wedge between them and a relationship with Christ. Man, having just seen that written down makes it a very daunting thought.

When using social networking, I always think twice before sending a post. Often I write something, leave the curser hovering over the send button... then delete it. Maybe someone won't get the friendly sarcasm, the inside joke, the silliness of my brain (in which case it usually goes into a private message rather than on a public stage). Maybe I'm being too negative, and my post isn't what Jesus would post. There are times I'll get into debates or arguments and get to a point where I just have to leave it, because I'm getting angry and will say something I regret. (A case in point, I have decided to take a 'sabbatical' from a group on Facebook because I found I was getting very negative and being on it wasn't helping me. I'll give it a try again in a few weeks).

I'm not perfect, I know I have made comments I shouldn't have, said things that weren't helpful. But I'm trying. Jesus calls us to be the light to the world, and we need to ensure that we are shining a good light that we want people to see, the light of Jesus, the loving, caring, Saviour.

(PS, Please note, all views expressed are my own, not those of all Christians :-p )

(PPS, I had to get this proof-read before posting to ensure I wasn't being too negative or holier than thou. If you think it is, blame my proof-reader.)

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