(Everybody else gets to add “T” to words, so why can’t I?)

After the panel discussion on social media today, I heard grumbles of frustration from the audience. To be honest, I felt the same way. And I am sure some people were frustrated with me. But that happens when you ask a small group of people to try and define what something new means to a larger group of people. It was an interesting conversation and brought new topics to light, but it was certainly not authoritative and I don’t believe anyone on the panel pretended for it to be so.

There was (at least) one idea that rubbed me the wrong way: worship through Twitter and Facebook can be the same as worship in the presence of other Christians. I certainly do not wish to attack another person’s evolving perspective, since that is not how I would want to be treated. Still, I would like to share my evolving perspective. And I begin by asking “How did Abraham worship?”

This may seem odd if you are unfamiliar with the context (or maybe even if you are familiar). Abraham worshiped by taking his promised and beloved son to a distant hill to place him on an altar of true sacrifice (God never planned for Abraham to go through with the sacrifice and stopped Abraham just in time). That is worship. I repeat, that sacrifice and effort is worship. Can that be traded out for Twitter? When I think substitution I think of Christ being the substitute for us, not substituting the fellowship of the believers with Facebook.

This not to say people who are physically or even mentally unable to gather with other Christians are “evil.” But if we have the opportunity to fellowship with real human Christians and we choose Facebook instead, what does that say about us? (And what does it say about the people we would rather not interact with?) What are we missing out on and what are we withholding from others?

There are many other things I would love to talk about in detail from the panel, but that was the biggie for me. The question of quantity vs. quality may never be answered. Though, I do want to clarify that when I voted for quantity over quality, that was coming from the perspective that 1.) quality content is still out there, perhaps just harder to find, and 2.) in a democratic society, it is better for someone to have an imperfect voice than no voice at all.

So, that’s all beside the main point. And the main point for me is this: We can worship God wherever we are, but if Abraham and Christ were willing to worship in the sacrificial and difficult ways they did, shouldn’t we do more than click a mouse?


4 thoughts on “Tworship

  1. Daniel says:

    Yes, if the definition of worship is saying nice things about god, I can worship by leaving messages on a public restroom wall to be shared will all future Christians that attend that stall. Is there something wrong with that? Is twitter or facebook any different, really?

    But what really is worship? In many churches, it is about my feelings toward God. If I feel gushy enough, I am having a “worship experience”. Wait… I am having a worship experience? Where is God in that? What should be the result of worship? A feeling? In the Eastern Orthodox church, our service on Sundays is called Great Liturgy. It is almost entirely prayers and hymns, but the term liturgy means “the work of the people”. This is our work, our effort, our obligation of love toward God. You might relate this to the routine adoration shared with a spouse, or within a family. In our house, the evening routine includes hugs, kisses, and telling each other “I love you”. It is our effort to continue a thread of love and adoration for each other. It does not have to be packed with meaning and emotion, or bring one to tears. It is a steadying force to contrast the arguments, slights, and hurts of the day. It reaffirms our true stance: love. But it takes effort. We don’t always feel like doing it, but that is why it is routine. It is not a matter of emotions, but of an underlying relationship. I imagine this is the same with worship. But at best it only translates to twitter/facebook/etc. as well any other relationship does: incompletely, and self-consciously. Much like public extemporaneous prayer.

    I have a friend who consistently posts verses for status updates. From some people this might bug me as being false. But I also know that she has covered her coffee table in psalms and proverbs (years ago before their 5 kids) and this is really how she is. I can appreciate the status updates because I know she would probably say the same thing if I was sitting in her living room.

  2. First, I must say, I hope to have this conversation with you soon. In person, that is. I really want to contribute and comment but for some reason I cannot think of the words to type.

    Heres a couple of things:
    -Did discussion happen on the use of twitter in a service?
    -If so, it could be that twitter is an act of worship as people respond during a certain part of a service. Not really sure how I feel about that but just a thought.

    I do like the comparison you made about Abrahams act of sacrificial obedience but I do not think that encompasses worship. Nor do I think liturgy or routine adoration is the main thing. If a click of a button provides an outlet and potential conversation than I think it can be an act of worship. One of the ways we love God is with our mind and sharing something online, even in blog form such as yourself can be a small part of our lifestyle of worship. No matter the varying degree of planned, crafted, well thought out, or completely spontaneous, it is all part of a lifestyle of worship where the Christian transforms his/her mind by the Word and by the fellowship of believers, online and in person, than we can work out the will of God in an act of love and service to Him while serving others. If anything, I think online environments have a large potential in carrying out daily or at least often through the week, the conversations and the learning taking place in our more intimate settings be it bible study, small group, or church service.

    • Hi Ben,

      Yes, we should commune in person. I may need to listen to the recording first to make sure I answer you correctly.

      Your passion is, as always, evident. But I still believe Abraham’s act was worship. I was once told that obedience is the highest form of worship. So far, I have not found reason to discount that. So Christ worshiped the Father through his obedience and Abraham worshiped through his (and it was credited to him as faith).

      Let’s throw some ideas back and forth next time you are at the Repair Center.

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