Discover more from Jeff Noble - "Notes from the Trail"
Love one another... on social media
Since I’ve been back on Twitter/X, I’ve had to re-follow and begin all over again becoming worth following.1 I’ve met new folks since I’ve been back on, and I’ve attempted to follow accounts of diverse opinions and backgrounds just to know what everyone is saying.2
In my attempt to find Christian leaders worthy of following, I have simply followed accounts that others have recommended. That created some interesting dynamics in my feed.
Here’s what I’ve observed over the past year on “Christian” Twitter:
Debates about Christian nationalism 🍿
Debates about Calvinism 🥱
He/she is a heretic!!!!
Attempts to paint others into liberalism or Qanon corners
Tribalism - who’s theological group is hipper, edgier and likes craft beer more
Teetotalers’ smug abstinence from everything posts
At least the “smoking hot wife” tweets and posts from the early 2000s have faded out of the Christian social mediasphere.3
What Jesus said
There’s a profound comment in John 13 about Jesus’ awareness of His last hours before crucifixion:
“…when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1)
Keep in mind that “His own” that He “loved to the end” were 12 disciples who didn’t always see eye to eye, who argued, who vilified one another and who often were more earthly-minded than spiritual. So I take great comfort in Jesus’ constant love of them as I consider my own behavior towards other believers at times.
However, the assurance of His constant love doesn’t exempt me (or you) from relentlessly pursuing a posture of truthful affection toward other Christians. Later in the same chapter of John, Jesus is recorded as clearly issuing a “new command:”
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)
The “love command” - oh, how we must learn to apply it - especially on social media! In this secular venue, how in the world can it be appropriate to tear one another down, to castigate, to ridicule and to air out doctrinal minutiae without grace and loving dialogue?! We should be asking how we can treat one another as family and work hard to take disagreements and debates into a more private arena. We look foolish. In addition, we are being disobedient.
When we air out “faith family” business on social media, are we not being immature and even Corinthian-like? Christians, we should be earnestly asking how we can love one another, show respect and grace AND propose doctrinal clarifications and understandings without devolving into demeaning snark, sarcasm and mean-spiritedness. There are no victory laps for the ultimate, top-rope take-down.
This is what I imagine some Christians acting like when they post their snarky one-liners:
Our love for one another is a proof of Jesus being who He said He was. When we are “one” - unified and mutually respectful to each other, this posture positions the church to offer proof that Jesus was the Prince of Peace.
Jesus prayed for us to be one:
“…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21)
When we love one another… when we are one… the world has a much easier time in believing that Jesus was sent by the Father. The world sees the miraculous impact that shared faith in Christ has on people. Our faith in Christ should draw us together, not apart -especially where the world can see it - on social media.
A quick note
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Caveat: a lot of the left-leaning accounts I try to follow are just… nasty and detestable, so I don’t follow them long. I appreciate open-minded Leftism, but those perspectives are truly hard to find. (Please leave suggestions!) And many of them have left X in favor of Threads because they didn’t enjoy responding to 1) a constant barrage of criticism from the Angry Right, or 2) legitimate questions, points of disagreement from dissent.