Thursday, May 28, 2009

Since The Sermon On The Mount Is Longer Than 140 Characters, How Can It Be Relevant?

My church recently added a service where they encourage the congregants to tweet during the proceedings -- how's the music moving you, what questions do you have or ideas you want to add to the preaching, are you bored with the prayer and think they should move on already -- that sort of thing.

To tweet or not to twitter is the big question that has hit churches. The arguments for tend to be about twitter being a form of sharing (and sharing can never be a bad thing) and besides, this is a way to get the whippersnappers interested.

Most of my thoughts on the topic are summed up pretty well by Josh Harris (although I would quibble with his point #4).

My personal summary deals with biology: the human brain can not focus on two things at the same time, even if the said human is young and fashionable. ( I know this from Brain Rules!)

Which is why we now ban talking on the cell phone while driving - no matter what age the driver happens to be.

So the guy twittering during a lecture can not be giving full attention to both things.

Thus my opinion: if you believe that what your pastor and worship leaders are doing up front is rather shallow and not really worthy of attention, please by all means, encourage twittering during the service. It might help.

If you are striving to make what is going on up front something with depth, something profound and maybe even personal, encouraging distraction is, perhaps, not the best choice.

Just my thoughts,



Linds said...

I'm right there with you. I also think it's a bad idea for me to constantly be wondering what I feel about what's going on during church - sometimes, I have to let church orient me, not the other way around (of course, that's from an Anglican perspective, but I think it still counts in non-liturgical churches).

David Goulet said...

I wonder what the Twitter traffic would have been like during the Sermon on the Mount.

"Blessed be the cheesemakers?"

(riffing Life of Brian)

Janet said...

Can I just click "like" somewhere here?

Breadwig said...

writing (and tweeting) and listening at the same time I think is very hard for the brain to do. However, I always draw/doodle during sermons, and anywhere else where I'm trying to pay attention, and it actually helps a ton to keep me focused.

Gaffney said...

I'm guessing that you aren't focused on the doodles -- which is a different sort of thing. It's like bouncing a ball against the wall, or walking around during a brain storming session. Medina talks about how movement does help us think.

An activity that uses a different part of the brain, sure. But tweeting and reading tweets and composing the next tweet is in direct competition with the listening brain...

Omar Poppenlander said...

I attended an unprogrammed Quaker meeting with some friends last weekend. This meeting involved one hour of (mostly) uninterrupted silence focused on listening for the voice of God within and around us. I wonder what a Twitter-friendly church would say to that kind of service? Are we Quakers in danger of becoming irrelevant to the world? Or does this just make me (us) highly counter-cultural?

Gaffney said...

Listening? Who has time for listening? If G-d had something to say to us, he would do it through television or bumper stickers. He wouldn't want us to have to be still to know anything. Sheesh, where do you guys get your crazy ideas?