By Allan Buckingham
The question of how Jesus would use social media is not a new one. I’ve read more than a couple of posts referencing this topic, but I still feel like it’s worth giving my two cents on the matter. This might be because I read a couple of posts last week that brought this to my attention once again.
One post I read questioned whether or not un-friending was un-Christian . It’s an interesting proposition. And while I sort of understand why people might un-friend someone, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me. It’s true I do have more Facebook friends that are really mainly acquaintances or people I’ve met once, then I have actual friends, but this doesn’t really bother me much. I know many people complain that their news feed is too full with updates from people they don’t really have a relationship with, but if you use Facebook’s lists feature then you can prioritize who you see updates from and who you don’t. There are also different methods you can use to prioritize how often posts from people show up in your news feed.
All that said, the question remains unanswered, just avoided. Reading the comments to the un-friending post got me thinking about whether using lists, or choosing not to have updates from people showing up in your news feed etc. is un-Christian, and thus unlike how Jesus would use social media. After reflecting on it for a while, I’ve decided that using various sorts of lists is no different than calling the people you care about most. I see it like only calling your friends to catch up and not calling acquaintances as well. You’re still open to hearing from others you just aren’t going out of your way all the time to do so. Un-friending however I see like intentionally avoiding people, something Jesus would definitely not do.
Which brings me back to my original question, how would Jesus use social media? I say how and notwould because Jesus was pretty apt at using the media of his time to get his message across. This included speaking in the temples where some people hung out and speaking in the streets where others did. So while I’m sure Jesus would use social media, I’m less confident with the how.
One of Jesus’ main goals as I see it was to give hope and justice to the outcasts, and the people on the edge of society. In my view, today, at least in Canada, many of those on the edges of society are not those using social media.
So what does that mean for us? How does that answer my original question? Of course there’s no way to know for sure how Jesus would use social media, but here are a couple of my thoughts.
I’m pretty sure Jesus would have used social media to raise the profile of the marginalized somehow. I also think he would have tried to increase access to technology so that there are fewer people marginalized by technology.
I also think Jesus would have accepted every friend request, even from that annoying kid from high school, and been happy to do so. I also don’t think Jesus would have been into un-friending. He was all about loving you neighbour no matter who that is, or how often they play Farmville. I also don’t think he’d be huge on Facebook lists that let you pay less attention to those you don’t like as much. It seems to me he would also dislike the competition that can go on for the most friends/followers and the desire for klout, that is all about influence and power.
That’s a few of my thoughts anyway, but what do I know.
Do you agree that Jesus would use social media? If not, how come? If yes, how do you think he’d use it?
Image courtesy of crosswalk.com