How Can I Shine Online? (pt 3)From series How Can I Shine Online?.
Beatitudes for the online disciple
If the Word of God bids us to go online by sending us into all the world (Matthew 28:19-20) and if the voice of Jesus bids us to act as salt and light, how should we behave when we get there? With my tongue slightly in cheek – let me suggest a set of online beatitudes:
-Blessed are the meek, for they shall be retweeted. Nobody likes a show-off, and if your online presence is always and only about your personal brand, then people will quickly tire of it. Let others decide whether your work is worth passing on, rather than plaintively begging them to do it.
-Blessed are the generous, for as you give, so shall you receive. Take every opportunity online to be generous and encouraging about the work of others. You can do this without ever being dishonest, and you may just find it comes back around to bless you.
-Blessed are the personally positive, for they shall be productive. There is absolutely no reason why Christians should be afraid of engaging with arguments or points of view online which they find to be counter to the Gospel. However, if they can do this without being personally negative they will bless the world by their flavour as well as their argument.
-Blessed are those who read before they type. As a blogger, I know that few things are more irritating than a person who has read the first few lines, or just the title, of a post, and then rushes to comment on it. Christian – have the decency to read a person’s argument before you engage with it.
-Blessed are those who acknowledge carefully, for they shall be carefully acknowledged. Make every effort to acknowledge the source of images and words which you share online. In this way, you maintain the integrity of your material, respect the creative talent of others, and help to make the internet a positive and productive place for all.
-Neither devalue offline friendship nor exalt online friendship by misusing the word – for such things are precious. True friendship is a messy business, where our true selves are exposed and we learn to live with each other’s weaknesses. Online relationships give lots of scope for pretence, and we should not forget this.
Biblical scholars will recognise that when he preached his sermon on the mount, Jesus was reworking old truths and applying them in his contemporary context (Matthew 5:1-7:29). This is the reason why the phrase ‘it is written’ crops up so many times. He was not innovating so much as applying. I wonder what he would say today if he were conducting a webinar?
(This is the third of a three part series).