This post by Fuller Seminary Professor Kirk brings up a topic dear to my heart – use of internet media in church environments.
I’ve gone back and forth on this, recently deciding that it is more important to be true to the media even if people might misunderstand. Here is what I mean by that. Blogging and the internet as a media are about experimentation, dialog and thinking process. It is not that you don’t state thoughts, but that you have to be able to say, oops or I was wrong there. The church supposedly is a place for repentance (and it is), but having a pastor potentially say oops in a public space and under a church banner is something that is still shocking. But as I said, I’ve landed on the side of being more open.
Here is why – I think it is more true to what both the church and the Word should be. The commands about the Word are to talk about it when you lie down and when you get up, when you walk along the road and when you rest at home. (Deut 6:7). That is what is noticeably missing from many American Christian’s lives. They firmly believe the authority of the scriptures which then go unread, unreflected and not talked about in their lives. The Word of God is a risky thing. It asks us to do stuff, stuff we probably would rather not. It is uncontrollable. But you know the Word when you hear it. It is self-authenticating. In the same manner the church is really called to be the community of people gathered by that Word who live by that Word. The church is an active servant here. It will get its rest later. When in action, you can’t help but err. The church is a place of repentance and absolution. This media is somewhat unique in exhibiting the best of Christian life: Reflective, word-y, active, messy, reaching, repenting, absolving. We may not “get it” right now, but it can be a real gift. It gives communities a chance to live in front of others they might not otherwise talk too.
But I do have to add something. Right now, it probably does mean professional suicide as Prof Kirk blogs. (That is probably not a good thing to admit at budget time. I can hear the congregation already – you mean we are stuck with him!) I’m sure there are things that I’ve posted that would easily exclude me from any call process, and the answer that oops, doesn’t go over well in those meetings. In a smart world a call committee would look at the larger picture, understand the media and realize they have a fuller picture. In the world we live in the more person with ‘less out there’ just has less reason to exclude them. Before really opening up online, any religious organization leader needs to decide on the depth of the call to a place.