With the advent of social media as a repository for conversations on faith, it is becoming even more imperative that we supplement our spiritual formation with people in real-time and in real-flesh. I’ve noticed in myself an affinity to certain writers and thinkers without having read any of their books. My sole immersion into their works are their tweets and blog entries. Is this the new frontier of spiritual formation?
After participating in Communion this morning, I’m reminded of how this ritual is a wholistic act of nutritionally-dense proportions that no blog, tweet, or meme could ever replace. (Especially even more so in our digitally disembodied state of “likes” and hashtags.)
I liken the current tension as knowing a film through the lens of a critic versus watching the film on your own. The critic might have pedantic insights and educated opinions worth considering, but they do not own the experience. That is still left up to you to enjoy and for you to contribute to the conversation, no matter how simple your offering is.
There are too many Christians who espouse faith through the lens of “expert” critics and owning it as if it was their own. I’ve been guilty of that many times so I’m an “expert” on the matter. However, I’ve been slowly (very slowly) retracing my steps in order to re-experience faith through my very simple lens. (We can argue the fidelity of how much of that lens is actually my own later!) This, of course, does not mean that I discount the scholars, teachers, and writers who’ve deeply impacted me in the last 7 years. Their lens are invaluable to me and I seek to learn from even more diverse narratives. However, I must resist the urge to make their words mine. I have not lived their lives and they have not lived mine. What some have taken decades to arrive at, suddenly I’m arriving there in 140 characters.
Is this what maturity looks like these days?
I want out.