Last week I posted a link on my Facebook page to an informal quiz that asked the question, Is it okay to twitter during worship? You would have thought that I was proposing making pants optional by some of the responses ;-) Well it may not have been THAT bad, but it was clear that there is some energy around the topic. Now I am obviously a huge participant of the twitter-lifestyle and but I have been surprised at the level of oppositional energy directed at those who are engaging in this form of social media and communal life.
- While my next post will deal with The Benefits of Twittering in Worship, for now I will simply respond to what I see as the biggest basic critique of "allowing" or encouraging *gasp* people to twitter in worship.
To summarize, here is what I think is the general critique:
Twittering in worship is disrespectful, distracting and narcissistic as it pulls focus away from the communal experience of worshiping.
My first response is, "Well duh, of course it can be disrespectful, distracting and narcissistic." But, like all worship practices, used to an extreme or at inappropriate times, anything we do can be any of those things. So here is my push-back on those who would seek to not even entertain the idea of worship tweeting:
Regardless of the practice, discovering how to meaningfully respond to the movement of Spirit is a vital aspect of participating in the communal act of worship.
If you think about the breadth of ways in which we encourage folks to connect to God in worship, don't many of our worship practices have the potential to be just as distracting, disrespectful and unfocused? Somehow though, we have discovered ways to move beyond simply seeing acts of worship as acceptable vehicles of communication to seeing them as profound practices that allow us to more fully connect with the beloved community and to God.
Take for instance . . .
- Taking notes
- Praying w/eyes down, w/eyes and hands lifted upward or out loud
- Moving through worship stations: prayer, anointing, art, etc.
Again, I believe any of these practices have the potential to disrupt the worship experience in unhelpful or unhealthy ways. How many times have people lifted up prayers that were obviously more about THEM than the people they were praying for? Then there are those times during the passing of the peace that is hijacked by church business. And don't get me started on you knitters and the constant click click click click of your blasted needles 😉
Sure Twittering is new and it may not be appropriate for every community, but let us not rush to judgment, react with fear and take a posture of rejection simply because it is new and different. It may not be for you or your congregation, but who knows, it just might be for someone else.
And yes, I twittered this.