40 blogs of Lent – Day 33
Church is like Facebook
What is church – Day 2
Social media. If you read some of the local papers you would think it consisted of all the evils in the world. All it is is a communications medium, and it reflects the personalities of the people who are on it. There is nothing inherently evil in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and the rest, it is all down to the users.
I used to be involved in an online church, St Pixels, which grew out of the Church of Fools which was launched by Ship of Fools in 2004. It started as an experiment with a 3D church for 3 months and continued to hold online services. St Pixels as a company was wound down earlier this year, but still has an online presence on Facebook and Twitter. The influence goes further. i-Church launched around the same time as Church of fools and their priest-in-charge was previously active in St Pixels. Partakers WOW ministries on Facebook is run by someone who is ex St Pixels as well. Another St Pixels leader is involved in Life.Church and is translating for the YouVersion Bible app.
Online communities are made up of real people
But the church has something in common with Instagram. We only try to show our good side. We try to paint the most positive picture of ourselves on social media rather than the honest one.
But social media has a dark side. People post hate under the cover of internet anonymity. Church has its dark side too. People hate under the cover of the gospel. The former is illegal. The latter should not be done at all.
Jesus Christ said that he came to save sinners. The gospel is for all, He accepted a prayer requst from a Syro-Phonecian woman, a pagan, and did not condemn a woman who was brought to him who was caught in the act of adultery. But neither did he commend her. Jesus accepted all who came to him and said he will never cast out those who come.
In contrast some in the church go against what Jesus said. They say it is OK to hate a sinner.I’ll grab one of the hot potato topics here, the church’s attitude to homosexuals. Some say homosexuals are sinners. But so what? Jesus came to save sinners. They say homosexuals are unwelcome in church. Jesus invites all without restriction. They say homosexuals have to change their lifestyle first. The Gospel of grace is that we come as we are. We are saved through grace not by works. If we say that one group has to change first before they can come we have reversed the Gospel of grace. Any change is worked by the Holy Spirit in their lives afterwards.
Church is like Twitter. Church is like Facebook. Church is like WhatsApp.
We all have people who revel in the sinful side of their life. We all have people who would rather tear people down than build them up.