I have conversations almost daily with church leaders about the subject of social media. I continue to be amazed at the number of leaders who see it as a bonus or an add-on at best and at worst, a time-wasting nuisance. One of the common questions I hear is "Do we really need to be doing this? Do I really need to be making time for this?"
The assumption is that real ministry in real relationships happen in the real world, not the online realm. And herein lies the fallacy of our dated thinking. Some of us are still in the mode of thinking in which there is a barrier between the online world and the "real" world. But that barrier is gone. It only exists in the minds who haven't bothered to notice its absence yet.
I grew up in the age of the "information superhighway." Most of us thought the Internet was all about information and data. We would connect to it to do our research or surf the web for fun, then disconnect and end our online session. Now we know that information is only part of what the web is all about. It's not just about what we can know anymore. It's now about who we can know, and how what we know gets passed around among the people with whom we interact online. more >>
I am defensive of social media. Yes, it's easy to make fun of when you're just not into it. And it's also easy to criticize when you've been negatively affected by it. But I still believe that it's going to be more and more like air – an unavoidable and ubiquitous part of the atmosphere in which we live life.
That being said, social media can destroy your life. Quickly. Consider the recent story of a PR executive who, on her way to Africa, tweeted something with rather racist implications. She lost her job and six-figure salary and probably won't find employment again soon in the industry she's built her career in. Or the many thousands of couples whose divorce proceedings include details of an affair that started with flirting over Facebook.
Social media will destroy your life. Or perhaps more accurately, social media will allow you to destroy your own life quickly and painfully. How? more >>
The National Security Agency (NSA) has the capability to access to the personal information of millions of Americans via apps on smartphones, according to documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. A civil liberties expert denounced the misuse of this technology as a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
"Monitoring someone through an app is as valid a means as any other to spy on a legitimate target; monitoring everyone – whether through their apps, their web browsing, or their phone records — is dangerous," Julian Sanchez, research fellow at the Cato Institute, told The Christian Post in a Tuesday statement.
According to reports from The New York Times, the Guardian, and ProPublica, the NSA can discover a person's location, political leanings, and even sexual orientation through mobile mapping, gaming, and social networking apps common to the world's estimated 1 billion smartphones. The documents do not say whether or not NSA has used this capability. more >>
Pope Francis said in a papal statement Thursday that the Internet is a "gift from God" that brings humanity closer together, thus promoting universal solidarity.
"A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive," Francis said in the papal statement released Thursday. "Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances. The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity."
Pop singer Justin Bieber's arrest in Miami Beach for allegedly drag racing while intoxicated has prompted some Christians on Twitter to suggest that the Canadian singer's pastor, Judah Smith, and close friend Carl Lentz of Hillsong NYC may need to get involved. Meanwhile, the teen's fans of faith are using the hashtag #PrayforJustin to rally support for the 19-year-old star.
Bieber, arrested in the early morning hours Thursday, was charged in court later in the day with drunken driving, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license. The pop star, who was grinning ear to ear in his mug shot, showed no trace of a smile or amusement during his on-camera court appearance.
His run-in with the law comes after months of other troublesome incidents for Bieber, who was recently investigated for an egging incident and illegal spray painting, and scrutinized for an alleged fisticuff incident with a photographer. Bieber's arrest has prompted fans to wonder if it's time for an intervention, and if perhaps Christian pastors Judah Smith and Carl Lentz should step in. more >>
Social networking has a reputation. A lot of people make assumptions about it. Such as, "social networking is for narcissists," or " social networking is shallow and prevents us from going deep." I'm a guy who loves social networking and even wrote a book about it. But I agree with people who say these things. Let me explain.
While I do believe that her modern technology and culture have afforded us tools we've never had before for sharing the gospel, forging relationships, and making a difference in the world, I also believe that modern technology has brought a whole new set of risks with it. Of course, I would say that about the technology of any era.
As far as I am concerned, the Internet and the social networking platforms that exist on it are tools. Therefore, it's all in how we use the tools. Social networking can be used for good or for bad. And it can bring out the worst of us and the best of us. But so that we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, let me emphatically say that social networking is absolutely a tool that modern Christians need to be using to share the good news of Jesus. We simply need to be on guard. more >>