Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Death of Twitter

I realize the irony in talking about twitter on your blog. Full disclosure: I use twitter, I like it. If you want to see my defense of it, I'll make some parenthetical comments at the end.

But no matter what you think about twitter, the following link could be a sign of its impending doom:

Christian Chirp

Hey kids! Tired of tweeting with all those dirty "secular people"!? Now there's "the Christian alternative to twitter!!!"

If parents are ruining social media like facebook, what happens when the Christians get a hold of it?

Oh man, where to start.

First the practical, then the theological. Even if a "christian twitter alternative" was a defensible concept (which its not) there is no way that this thing will be technologically nor aesthetically comparable to If you're not going to offer a viable alternative, don't at all. Imitations are never good. Take for example, the "soft fleece blanket with sleeves" or this knock-off iPhone or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or Scientology. Clearly, originality and authenticity are often linked to quality.

From a theological perspective, this is a microcosm of a massive problem within Christianity. Lets stop and ask, why do we need "christian alternatives" to anything? What is wrong with people who are Christians, just using what everyone is already using? What is this need to form a lamer and anemic version of popular things? There's a phrase Christians love to use, adopted from the Book of John chapter 17 that goes "in the world but not of the world" meaning Christians are to be present in the world and responding to it's needs without adopting the values and practices of that same world. If you've been around long enough, you sort of roll your eyes when someone says that just because you've heard the trite phrase so many times. However, my cynicism is another blog post altogether. What "Christian chirp" is symptomatic of is the withdrawal of Christians from mainstream America; a tepid faith that only seeks to culturally shield instead of courageously redeem.

Look, I listen to Z107.7. I understand why folks don't want their kids to hear some of that stuff. Lets take for example Britney Spears' latest single "3" which is ironically number 8 on the charts. That is a raunchy song, I would be somewhat embarrassed to listen to it in the same car as my Dad, and I'm a grown man. There are some things in there I'm not even sure I've heard of.

But merely sticking our head in the sand and getting our kids to listen to Barlow Girl instead of Britney isn't going to keep them from confronting cultural issues.

So the concept of "Christan alternatives" is a retreat and imitate approach which I believe does a disservice not only to the Christians trying to salvage their crumbling cultural strongholds, but more importantly it robs the world by continuing to reinforce the cultural concept that Christians are haughty prudes who don't want to have anything to do with anyone except their own kind.

My Dad would tell me "not to major in the minors" and "to develop several subjects on which I have no opinion." Which is good advice, some might wonder why a little website would incite such a rant. The problem is not the basically insignificant URL which will inevitably fail and fold. No, the problem is what this website represents within the faith I love and devote my life to, and the problem I have attempted to describe above is very, very significant.

(On twitter: I have found several practical uses for twitter. While on trips with kids we can keep parents and those who weren't able to come a glimpse into whats going on in real time. I have become aware of events and opportunities that without twitter I wouldn't have heard about. Its an easy way to pass along photos to family, and several of my family members are on it, which is a neat way to stay connected. However, the idea that twitter could be some cultural boon through which "the gospel is advanced" I seriously doubt.)


Jim said...

Adam, once again, great insight. Look into "Guitar Praise" as well. Unfortunately, people want to make their own Christian spin on existing ideas to become profitable. Just like the "Jesus-it's that easy" t-shirt that you mentioned a while back. It is also sad that people use John 17 for certain things in life. If they truly believed that, then EVERYTHING would be different, not just for the things they pick and choose to be different. I mean, can't we play the same videos from GodTube on YouTube?
Hope is all going well in the Mustoe household. Eli turns 3 on Friday. I still can't believe that!

Professor RJ Gumby said...

I am going to have to do a search on how many verses of Scripture are less than 140 characters - and see if Christian Chirp limits itself. Or do they do Jn3:16NIV, which loses the spontinaety of apply the verse altogether. Another example of ready-fire-aim theology.