Would Jesus Have a Facebook Page? Yes . . .

Part 2 of series:
Would Jesus Have a Facebook Page?

In one of yesterday’s posts, I asked the question: Would Jesus have a Facebook page? I was moved to ask this question by a statement in a USA Today article on technology in the church. In this article, Drew Goodmanson, the CEO of a company that helps Christian organizations use the Internet in their ministries, confidently said that Jesus would not have a Facebook page. This got me thinking. If Jesus were on earth today, would he really have a Facebook page? If so, why? If not, why not?

In typical fashion, my answer to “Would Jesus have a Facebook page?” is “Yes . . . and no.” Remember, I spent a good chunk of my life in academia, where simple answers are rare. But, more to the point, I believe there are good reasons for believing that today’s Jesus would have a Facebook page, even as there are good reasons for believing that he would not. Today, I’ll focus on some reasons why Jesus would have a Facebook page.

Jesus’ Communication Strategy in Cultural Context

Jesus as played by Robert Wilson in The Living Christ series by Cathedral Films, 1951. This version of Jesus is better known for his dislike of football.

When I picture Jesus communicating with people, my imagination is fueled by the films I saw in Sunday school. The Anglo-Saxon Son of God is dressed in clean Bible-land robes and dustless sandals, with long brown hair and an impressive beard. He speaks in hallowed tones to small groups of people in the countryside or small villages. Surely, this Jesus would not have a Facebook page even if he were on earth today. No, he’d be dressed like, well, Jesus, and speak in hallowed tones to folk who lived in the country.

Yet, when I put aside my childish views of Jesus and think about his ministry, I’m struck by how he communicated in the modes of his day. Jesus told stories, gripping stories, in fact. He engaged in theological dialogue. He provided dramatic illustrations of his teaching in the form of miracles and even exorcisms. Unlike many of the rabbis and popular philosophers of his day, Jesus didn’t sit back and wait for people to come to him. Rather, he spoke to people where they were, both literally and figuratively.

When I take this Jesus and plop him down in 2012, it seems at least possible if not likely that Jesus would communicate in the modes of our culture. Would this include Facebook? Perhaps. Twitter? Maybe. We should expect Jesus to use the means of communication available to him, unless these means were somehow intrinsically opposed to his message. (I’ll consider this possibility in my next post on this topic. However, if it is clear that Jesus would not have a Facebook page for theological or strategic reasons, then it seems reasonable to conclude that his followers shouldn’t either.)

Jesus as the Incarnation of the Word of God

Christians believe that Jesus was far more than simply a “good teacher.” We confess that he was (and is) the very Word of God made flesh. We affirm that, in Jesus, God entered into human life fully, though without sinning. Thus, from a theological point of view, if Jesus were to be incarnate in 2012, he would be fully engaged in this life. This suggests, it seems to me, that Jesus would be fluent in the language of the Internet, that he would have a Facebook page, and maybe even a blog.

Now I freely admit that this seems strange, even counter-intuitive, because I think of Jesus so much in terms of his own culture. He was the Word Incarnate in first-century Galilean Jewish culture. Yet, if Jesus were to show up today, I doubt he’d be wearing a costume from the annual Christmas pageant. He’d be dressed like any other 30-year-old in today’s culture (whatever that means!). And, given his mission to communicate and connect with people, I expect he would do this through the means of social media.

Unless, of course, there is something intrinsically sinful about social media, something that would be so inconsistent with the message and ministry of Jesus that he intentionally rejected it. I’ll consider this possibility in the next post in this series.

  • James Pereira,bombay,india

    Hi, jesus christ Loves man,but hates sin.He reaches out to man everywhere,on earth,in space station,in facebook,gmail,yahoo…..he also works together with the true christians,reaching out to unsaved,unloved,wherever they may be.

  • http://twitter.com/purisomniapura Kathleen A. Peck

    I doubt it….not with his schedule…

  • markdroberts

    Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  • markdroberts

    Meaning he would be too busy? Or . . . ?

  • Capitoldach

    This is horrible as if The Son Of God would need mans inventionsx

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BN6M3ZMOWGCO2E3SVSYFYWYTFQ Steve Greco

    He would not have a Facebook account.  He is interested in intimate personal relationships and you can’t do that using the internet.  He would be busy performing  miracles  face-to-face having a more powerful impact on the people he comes in contact with.  Eyewitnesses to his miracles have a more powerful impact than having him say what he did over the internet.  Besides, anyone can name themselves “Jesus” on blogs, Facebook and Twitter; he would be just another name that no one could physically relate to; another name having his own opinions.  Just go to any Christian blog (or even a christian bookstore) and you’ll find a plethora of different opinions each saying that his or her opinion is right. He would be flamed because he would not conform to any worldly denominational church doctrine (each having their own rituals, traditions, ways of living, and interpretations of the bible), much like the way the last two prophets mentioned in Revelation will be mocked by most end-time “Christians.”  Jesus would not put himself in a position that readers would question his “opinions” even thought what he would say is the truth.

  • markdroberts

    Well, that’s one way to look at it. Thanks for adding your comment.

  • markdroberts

    Well, that’s interesting. He certainly one put himself out there so that people questions his “opinions.” And, actually, he got much worse than just “flamed.” I get what you’re saying about intimate personal relationships. The funny thing is that, for me, Facebook is mostly a way of keeping in touch with those with whom I have intimate personal relationships. At any rate, I appreciate your comment.

  • Drwillard

     The notion that  online media is not “intimate” or “personal” enough to
    be “real” misses the fact that technology ALWAYS shapes social bonds.

    Automobiles changed where we live and how we understand a “neighbor”

    The printing press changed the way we imagine ourselves as a nation

    The industrial revolution changed the reasons we get married

    Ancient advances in farming  techniques and technologies transformed us from nomads into townspeople

    The internet is a new technology that is merely changing the ways we relate to and communicate with each other.  I think Jesus would indeed have a facebook page,

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZJCRTSRAQ7CROXKBLWI6EODE7U Steve

    You may also consider prophesy: One says that the entire world will be preached to; the other says there will be a great falling away.  Technolgy surely brought the Word of God to all corners of the world, but at the same time brought a lot of misinformation about the gospel. Misinformation won.

  • markdroberts

    Thanks for your comment. Good to have you thoughts in the mix.

  • markdroberts

    I’m not sure I agree with you there. History isn’t over yet. But thanks for you comment.

  • Evan

    Well, at the outset, it should be pointed out that you can “friend” Jesus already without the use of Facebook (John 15:14-14).

    That said, Jesus was continually doing the unpredictable. Knowing what is revealed about Jesus elsewhere in the Gospels, I NEVER would have predicted His behavior and dialogue with the Syrophoenician woman (Matt 15:21-28). But there it is.

    I tend to agree with Bill Goff that Jesus would have a very scandalous Friends list. We might also be surprised at the identity of some folks whose Friend requests languish. But I think Facebook would simply be another tool. I think Jesus would be using phone, text and other mediums as He deemed best effective to the individual. Some folks might only get a Tweet and it would change their lives forever while someone like the rich young ruler, who got a face-to-face meeting and dialogue, departs from Jesus deeply grieved and unchanged. It is apparent that Jesus will do both whatever it takes and only the best approach for each individual.

    I cannot say if I would respond as well as the Syrophoenician woman or any better at all than the rich young ruler. I think I am doing well enough just to be on the Friends list at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.vandagriff Ben Vandagriff

    “In the information age, you don’t teach philosophy as they did after feudalism. You perform it. If Aristotle were alive today he’d have a talk show.”~TIMOTHY LEARY~ 

  • markdroberts

    Great thoughts. Thanks, Evan.

  • markdroberts

    Leary did have a way with words (and other things).

  • Roger

    Did He not chase the money changers out of the Church…a commen practice of the Jews at the time….I do not think Jesus would think too highly of facebook as a way to reach and help people….His was a personal voyage into our Soul, not as shallow as the contacts made on facebook….no, I do not think facebook would be His way!


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