Whatever you want to call them, twits or tweets (“I thought I saw a puddy tat…I did, I did see a puddy tat!” Ops, wrong tweet.), I find them distracting. On the other hand, I may end up doing it just to keep up with the six billion people on the planet. I need to know when they are at Starbucks, doing yard work, picking up their kids, and cooking supper. These are facts people obviously think we all care about.
Okay, I get it, folks like to be informed. But how much information do I really need? And why, for the love of Pete, do I need to twitter in church. Supposedly this micro-blogging will bring people closer to God and each other. TIME Magazine recently ran a story about two pastors who have taught their churches to “be profound in 140 characters or less.” They encourage their members to bring their laptops, iPhones, BlackBerrys and other handy devices to church. Nothing is said in the article about bringing something like, say, a Bible and a pen to take notes.
These pastors are getting everything from trivial to honest questions. This is a growing trend in churches. Let’s face it: we want to be trendy if we can’t be truthful, or we want to be relevant in applying the Word to our lives. What better to do during a sermon from the Holy Scriptures than to watch your friend be a twit and tweet?
This feeds the inability to think in today’s society. We can twitter, but we can’t meditate. We can try to think through compressing our thoughts into 140 characters, but we can’t be still and know that He is God. How do you twitter and hear from God at the same time? After all, when I’m talking, I’m not learning anything. So if I’m tweeting, am I learning or just trying to find one more way not to hear the truth that God is trying to drive home to my heart?
In one church the members are “free to tweet any time, at any service, wherever the spirit moves them.” The spirit might move them, I’m just not sure it’s the Holy Spirit we’re talking about. The dumbing down of America has allowed such shallow thinking to become a part of our DNA. Thus the seed falls on shallow soil, and the birds eat it or it takes little root. While you may find people who can do this and, at the same time, go deeper with God in a worship experience, they will be the exception and not the rule.
I know that in my own church, when people have their cell phones on or if they are texting during the service, they are not paying full attention. They are waiting, almost wanting a distraction. On top of that, it’s just flat out rude to be such a twit and tweet when the God of glory is demanding your heart and life. Let’s quit trying to be cool and let’s find a way to connect with God. To do that, turn off your electronic devices or set them on stun.
© Michael Catt
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.