More thoughts (and links) on public debate and social media

Following on from yesterday’s article on public discourse and social media, here’s some other links relating to the topic that might be of interest.First of all, Chris Green has written on his blog Ministry Nuts and Bolts about when people get caught saying something they shouldn’t have said. He offers four helpful questions to ask

Secondly, if a lot of comment about social media is often negative, here’s a helpful post from Ricard Perkins on the positive Gospel use of facebook.

Kevin DeYoung has written here about deciding when to speak and when to remain silent on hot topics on the internet.

I find two things particularly pertinent here. First of all, that Kevin doesn’t see the need to comment on everything, rather he writes specifically about issues directly relevant to his pastoral ministry.  I identify with that here.  Faithroots is publically available on the internet which means anyone can read the articles and comment etc.  You’re all welcome and it’s lovely to see visitors from all around the world. Some of you, I know visit the site because you have ties to Bearwood Chapel, you used to worship here, have been on mission teams or have friends & family still here.  We appreciate your continued interest and prayer support for us.

Primarily though, was started because we saw and wanted to meet needs within the Bearwood Church family and so that’s my primary motive for writing. I write first of all as a member and pastor of a local congregation.  That of course shapes my priorities when choosing what to comment on and when.  If what I write is helpful to the wider church then that’s a bonus.

Also, linked to that, I primarily focus here on writing for Christians and then to people who are seriously considering Christian faith. There’s space in the world for debate with those who disagree with you and who want to win an argument. In fact, debating can be good fun and one way of learning from others.  However, not every context has to be a forum for debate and argument.

This leads to the second thing I like from Kevin’s article. He unashamedly says that he treats his social media contribution as “one way communication.”  He notes that he could be accused of living “in a narcissistic echo chamber!”  Except, as he points out, that the internet isn’t the only place he communicates.  So he says I listen to my wife, my friends, my co-workers, my secretary, my elders, the members of my church, the members of my presbytery, and on and on.”  I personally find his approach here grace filled and liberating.

Kevin goes on to talk about being teachable.  I think that’s an important principle for all of our communication.  This is particularly important for those of us involved in church leadership. We talk about elders needing the qualification of being “able to teach” but I think it’s also important that we are teachable too.  This means being eager to learn, curious, wanting to keep on studying, listening to the nsights of others, finding joy in discovering something new and in growing in our knowledge and wisdom.

Hopefully, the internet can be a place that contributes to that.