rebuke thy brother, in 140 characters or less

Right now I’m surfing the Internet while my students are taking their exam, because turnabout is fair play. I see that Christianity Today has a story about Andy Stanley’s disturbingly ambiguous sermon illustration on homosexuality, which ends with a link to Rick Warren tweeting at Al Mohler to apologize for the over-generalizing title of his blogpost on Stanley’s sermon. Mohler tweeted back at Warren (quite well, in my opinion), and Warren retweeted his concern.

I understand that Mohler’s blog was a public document, so Warren doesn’t have to confront him in private. But on Twitter? I don’t think the medium fits the message. Can you have a dialogue about important matters on something called “Twitter”? I know, I’m trying to have this conversation on something called a “blog.” Fair enough.

But I think the terseness of Twitter makes this especially difficult. If you look at the Warren and Mohler exchange, each one has only 140 characters to make his point. It’s hard to look pastoral or presidential in a flurry of short bursts.

I’m not sure if I can put my finger on it exactly, but I feel that something important has been lost. Our leaders seem diminished by the medium, and I don’t like it. But my last student turned in his exam, so I’ll post this and go home to think some more.

7 Comments

Add yours →

  1. Perhaps they should take a lesson from George Whitefield’s response to John Wesley’s sermon. If twitter was around back in their day, “No, dear Sir, you mistake”, may have been all that was written in Whitefield’s response. Thankfully, it was not.

  2. And yet to not twitter would be, well…un-presidential. Effective leaders must get used to it, and new rules for handling difficult issues will have to be worked out. I agree with you, that it diminishes them and reduces them to pot-shots. This is where those little things called links are helpful.

  3. Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin – about 16 characters in Hebrew

  4. Rev. Z. Bartels May 4, 2012 — 12:21 pm

    “Goodbye, Rob Bell” fit in a tweet. But not even one of the 95 theses would… Interesting times we live in. (112 characters)

  5. As I have previouslystated, “All that ‘Twitters’ isn’t gold.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: