Why and How I Am Tweeting
I see two kinds of response to social Internet media like blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and others.
One says: These media tend to shorten attention spans, weaken discursive reasoning, lure people away from Scripture and prayer, disembody relationships, feed the fires of narcissism, cater to the craving for attention, fill the world with drivel, shrink the soul’s capacity for greatness, and make us second-handers who comment on life when we ought to be living it. So boycott them and write books (not blogs) about the problem.
The other response says: Yes, there is truth in all of that, but instead of boycotting, try to fill these media with as much provocative, reasonable, Bible-saturated, prayerful, relational, Christ-exalting, truth-driven, serious, creative pointers to true greatness as you can.
Together with the team at Desiring God, I lean toward the second response. “Lean” is different from “leap.” We are aware that the medium tends to shape the message. This has been true, more or less, with every new medium that has come along—speech, drawing, handwriting, print, books, magazines, newspapers, tracts, 16mm home movies, flannel-graph, Cinerama, movies, Gospel Blimps, TV, radio, cassette tapes, 8-Tracks, blackboards, whiteboards, overhead projection, PowerPoint, skits, drama, banners, CDs, MP3s, sky-writing, video, texting, blogging, tweeting, and more.
Dangers, dangers everywhere. Yes. But it seems to us that aggressive efforts to saturate a media with the supremacy of God, the truth of Scripture, the glory of Christ, the joy of the gospel, the insanity of sin, and the radical nature of Christian living is a good choice for some Christians. Not all. Everyone should abstain from some of these media. For example, we don’t have a television.
That’s my general disposition toward media.
Now what about Twitter? I find Twitter to be a kind of taunt: “Okay, truth-lover, see what you can do with 140 characters! You say your mission is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things! Well, this is one of those ‘all things.’ Can you magnify Christ with this thimble-full of letters?”
To which I respond:
The sovereign Lord of the earth and sky
Puts camels through a needle’s eye.
And if his wisdom see it mete,
He will put worlds inside a tweet.
It also seems that the book of Proverbs is God’s Twitter compilation for us. So when I think of my life goal, and when I think about how God uses proverbs, I am not inclined to tweet that at 10 AM the cat pulled the curtains down. But I am inclined to tweet: The Lion of Judah will roll up the heavens like a scroll and put the sun out with his brighter glory (128 characters) If God answers my prayer, that tweet might distract someone from pornography and make him look up to something greater.
In spite of all the dangers, Twitter seems like a risk worth taking. “All things were created through Christ and for Christ” (Colossians 1:16). The world does not know it, but that is why Twitter exists, and that’s why I tweet.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org