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When Twitter Visited Third Baptist Church

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What Church can learn from Business #1: Acknowledge the Pain

Scene from a Sunday Service

Pastor Smith: We’ve jumped into the 21st century today with our projector up there tuned to the Twitter Channel! Today: don’t silence your smartphones. And you Twitterites, dial in your Twitter smart app and shoot your questions, comments and tweets to At ThirdBaptistRightNow. And remember to use the hash ticket number sign SubmitAndLove!

Acknowledge questions to unlock the door you’ve invited your audience to walk through

Acknowledge questions to unlock the door you’ve invited your audience to walk through

Pastor Smith: Open up your Bibles to Ephesians 5 and let’s get right down to the text and how wives need to submit to their husbands and husbands should love their wives.

@ElderEli: You’ll acknowledge how the passage has been abused for years, right? ThirdBaptist is just as guilty as anyone.

Pastor Smith: Now let’s start reading right from verse…what’s that? AtElderEli—I sort of mention that, but I’ll not spend a lot of time on it. Wait—let me see if I can work that in. Now, let’s start with verse…

@SingleSally: Go to the Bahamas in my mind or the coffee shop with my feet? Either way is more interesting than another sermon about marriage.

Pastor Smith: Now you stick around AtSingleSally, I can promise you’ll find something interesting in…

@ILikeBigBibles: Preach it! Submit and love!

@MsBankCEO: Before you go all gender-wars, can you at least acknowledge that in Christ there is no male or female (Gal 3.28). Seems worth mentioning.

Pastor Smith: Well now, AtMsBankCEO, this passage is pretty specific about the ancient household code, but, well. Let me think for a moment how that verse from Galatians might augment my comments about roles. But turn to verse 22 and…

@BlancheWife: You’ve got to start with 5:21! Mutual submission turns your old role argument on its head!

@BlancheWife: All that follows is an outworking of 5:1-21! Please at least acknowledge that!

Pastor Smith: Hoo boy. Preaching and Twitter make an uneasy couple. Let me do something different today. Blanche, why don’t you come up here and let’s start with an old-fashioned conversation. Just you and I and the microphone and all these fine friends out here. Let’s do something new and get your perspective…

@ILikeBigBibles: No! That’s not right. The brother should preach!

@SingleSally: You have my attention.

Consider Starting with People Rather than Texts

This is not heresy. This is basic pedagogy: when explaining an ancient text, gently help people over the hurdles by showing what it meant as well as how it has been understood over the years. Because your audience is thinking these thoughts already.

Twitter is a huge help in the work of naming the things people are already thinking. While churches are not likely to employ Twitter for anything beyond amplifying their monologue, they should begin to see that the conversations they once directed are happening without them.

Learning to listen and then getting at the truth together—that’s worth exploring.

###

Image credit: Kirk Livingston

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Written by kirkistan

September 22, 2013 at 5:00 am

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