"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

25 October 2013

Jesus Didn't Tweet.

Back when the Church was splitting and my own parish was going through "the vote" to decide if they would stay in TEC or join the new Anglican movement (my second parish to go through the vote...  not many can say they went through that twice!) a colleague asked me if I used Twitter.  He had hoped I could live "tweet" the meeting results for the rest of the diocese to know immediately.

Twitter was new.  The whole microblogging idea was new.  And to me it seemed (and really still does) like the communication equivalent of points and grunts.  (Oh, alas how our communications have de-evolved from formal letters saved for all time and personal conversations often undertaken at some risk due to the difficulty of travel, to notes and postcards, to phone calls (as an introvert I hate phone calls because body language is utterly lost... how many times do you have a silence on the phone and not know if the person is thinking or the call is lost, for me, too often), to email and blogging (blogging is admittedly narcissistic but I have come to occasionally enjoy it... that probably says something) to "leet" speak and texting and microblogging.

I refuse to use "U" for you.  If I'm talking to you, I will have the courtesy of giving you all the letters in your pronoun.  I also prefer to actually spell.  I worked hard in school to learn to spell.  Allow me to exercise my skill.  Especially now that computers help where my skill fails.

For the curious, this also explains my entire aversion to bumper stickers and billboards and any other visual clutter that thinks it can convincingly demand, in a drive-by one liner, how we should live our lives.

All this is the long way (see? you can't do that in microblogging) to say that when my colleague asked me "Do you use Twitter?" I probably revealed more than a little of my disdain in a rather unpastoral response:
"I don't twit."

I occasionally wonder why I have such distain for Twitter, especially since I do use Facebook.  And I think it is because Twitter is a unique place where two of the internet's greatest failings merge.

The desire to broadcast every little narcissistic detail of our lives to no one in particular.
And the lack of artistry in modern communication.

And so I don't, well, I guess the word for it is "tweet."

But given more thought....

I fired into the Facebook-relationship-realm an idea today.  I tagged a few friends, some of whom do not know the others.  And a discussion occurred on my Facebook page.  I'm not smart enough to bring the ideas to the table; I just had an original thought and real people brought ideas together.  And maybe it will go somewhere.  And maybe it won't.

But it made me smile when two people became "friends" as a result of the conversation.

And then I took my little self over to Gittip (which was part of the conversation, too) and snooped around and eventually signed up.  And one of the questions Gittip asked when I signed up was 'how are you making the world a better place.'  Cool.

And this was my reply: I am making the world better by bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world through mission and education and especially by building real relationships between those who can and those who need.... one life at a time.

Sometimes I write and think about it later.
But I am totally, all about relationships.  Real relationships.  Partnerships. 

I hate when we throw money at the poor and expect them to go away.  And we think it works because we haven't bothered to look at their faces, know their story, recognize them the next time they come along in need.  The faceless billions.

I can always make more money; I can't make more time.  Isn't it more valuable to give of our time?  Our relationships?  Our selves.

Isn't it more important to build relationships, one at a time (because that's the only way to do it) between the person who has (and that doesn't always mean money) and the person who needs (because a need is actually a commodity too.... if I have resources and no depth to my world, your need brings me depth... if we build relationship.)  Isn't formation, education, ministry, mission, and aid all done in relationship?

How many tales are there about missionary groups who raise funds to bungee in and paint the same church basement year after year because they haven't taken time to know what the real need is?

How many giving projects have destroyed local economies because the local leaders were never consulted?

And how many self-righteous jerks are created by their own self-assessment of their generosity when they have no idea what it means to love one another.

And so it occurred to me... Jesus didn't tweet.  He didn't throw money without relationship.  He didn't broadcast himself (or throw himself off that Temple.)  He just built relationships, one disciple at a time.  With a simple model... this is what the Kingdom of God looks like.  Get to know it so you can reflect it.  Be an icon.  Go out there and make the next icon.  

The truer the image, the better the copy.