Thursday, April 7, 2011

Facebook, Twitter and Fortune Cookie Christianity

I'm sure we've all done it at one time or another. We enjoy our delicious Chinese food, and then the waitress comes by with those funny little cookies with the fortune inside. Now to be honest with you, I don't like to eat fortune cookies, but I am always curious what it says on the inside. So, I crack open that cookie, rip out that tiny piece of paper and read what great wisdom it has for me today. It's usually something really deep like "Friends are good." Wow! now there is some revelation. After I have digested this amazing piece of advice from my cookie, I usually throw the paper on my plate, and go pay for my food and leave. For that one moment, I can't wait to see what the paper says, but after that it's on with life.

I LOVE Social Networking. I've loved it for quite a while now. I started out on MSN Spaces, until everyone migrated to Myspace. You know, Myspace, You remember that don't you? Well anyway, All of the sudden, after all the time I spent choosing my song and choosing a super-cool background, getting some sweet music videos and getting all of my BFF's up on my page, everyone bailed on myspace. Myspace became "so five minutes ago." Everyone was talking about this thing called facebook. I resisted at first. I mean surely there is nothing more cool than myspace. After a while I realized that resistance was futile, and I signed up for my very own facebook page. Shortly after signing up for facebook, everyone started talking about "twittering." I thought to myself, what is this "twittering" the people speak of? Is it some sort of condition you need medication for? Is it something that requires a restroom? I don't know! What is twittering?

Then I found out. Twitter was another avenue for social networking, where I would face the incredible challenge of taking this vast sum of information in my head and condensing it down to 140 characters or less. I MUST do it! So, I signed up for my twitter account. Then I found out you could link it to your facebook account so you would only have to make one post and it would post on both pages! I Can't believe it!!! I'm in Social Networking heaven!!! Now I, Tom Osborne, can let the whole world know that I am going to get gas in my car. Or that I'm way excited that my favorite football team just scored a touchdown, or that I'm having an amazing cup of green tea with just the right amount of honey, and that it is YUMMY!!! Followed up by a couple of these :) :) so you now I'm very happy about it. You know, it's the stuff the entire world is waiting on pins and needles to hear from me.
Come to think of it, I guess Social networking does have it's ridiculous side.

On the flip side though, as a pastor, I've found social networking can be a pretty useful tool. I can share information, or announcements. I can share what I feel like God is doing in my life and the life of the church, and on several occasions, I've been able to have some very serious discussions with people that don't go to my church, or that live in other places. Sometimes, I just read a scripture in The Bible that inspires me, and I want to share it with everyone. Social networking also has a very useful and powerful side.

There is one thing though that I've been pondering. For the Christian, Social networking can become sort of a place for "fortune cookie Christianity." What I mean by that is, I see people all the time posting scripture, or quotes by famous Christians, or maybe just some deep thought that came to some persons mind. That's all great, but the question is this. Does it become like a fortune cookie? I mean honestly, we can read a quote someone posts and think, wow they must be some sort of spiritual giant. When the truth is, maybe they googled "Cool christian quotes," and posted the first thing that popped up, but it really doesn't have any true impact on their lives, or ours.

How about us? We read that tweet or facebook post or for that last 2 or 3 of you that myspace post, and we say to ourselves, wow that's cool. However, just like me after my Chinese food, we scroll right on down to the next tweet or post and forget what we just read. Do we post a cool scripture on prayer, but at the same time we spend more time on facebook, than actually praying? Do we post our 140 or less character Bible verse without really stopping to consider how that verse applies to our life? Worse yet, are there times when we live our entire lives like a giant tweet. Everything is quick, fast and in a hurry. No time carved out to really seek the deep things of God, or to hear the voice of God. Just a quick 140 characters worth of "devotion" and then off to the rat race.

I'm not trying to throw some hyper-religious condemnation at anyone. It's just a thought. Do we really think about what we are posting, or think about what someone else is posting, or is it just another fortune cookie to us. Sometimes, right in the middle of the ridiculous, we can find some real wisdom from God, if we would just slow down and pay attention. You never know, maybe God likes social networking too. Instead of having an @IAMGOD account, maybe He just likes to borrow yours and mine. Maybe when I read someone elses tweet or post, God is trying to break into my crazy paced life, and speak to me in 140 characters of less. Am I paying attention?

BTW if you don't follow me on twitter(@TRC3) or facebook(, you really should. My posts and tweets will be the most inspiring, thought provoking and life-changing things you will ever read!.................or they may be completely ridiculous. :) :)
Be Blessed Tom

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