[This post is part of a roundtable conversation on the new book @stickyJesus, now featured at the Patheos Book Club.]
In @stickyJesus, authors Toni Birdsong and Tami Heim counsel us to use the internet in a Christ-like way. They ask Christians using the internet and social media to reflect on the following questions: Does our use of social media glorify God and encourage others? Does our use of social media reflect our faith and values as Christians? I couldn’t agree with them more. I see my use of the internet and social media as a means of blessing.
To bless is to wish well, to affirm well-being, and to mediate a grace to another. Blessing is a way of life, a way we encounter the world and other people, moment by moment and event by event. Blessing involves bringing goodness to others, but it also means bringing goodness to God. Blessing brings glory to God by giving a better world to others and consequently to God, to whom all hearts are open and all desires known. Mother Teresa saw our vocation as doing something beautiful for God. When we bless, we bring beauty to the world and to God.
In my own use of Facebook, for example, I “share” in a prayerful way. My goal is to share good ideas that bring something new to people, that respond to peoples’ needs, and provide a pathway to blessing to everyone who reads my posts. I recognize that my words shape other peoples’ experiences of God and the world. My words can be stimuli to healing and creative transformation. Accordingly, my use of the internet reflects my commitment to bless everyone I meet, in all the diverse circumstances of life, including my use of the internet. Although I may at times contrast my position with posts on Facebook, I always respond in a way that affirms rather than tears down.
I always ask myself: Will my words heal? Will my words enable others to experience Christ – God’s movement toward wholeness – as a life-transforming reality? Will my words teach in creative ways, rather than merely correct? Let us bless one another whenever we log on to Facebook, Twitter, blog, or send notes on e-mail.
Bruce Epperly is a theologian, pastor, spiritual guide, blogger, and the author of twenty two books including Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed, Emerging Process: Adventurous Theology for a Missional Church, and Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living.