Don’t be a Bible Bot What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say. (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Some of the most shared content online is random Bible verses, and images of Jesus on the Cross. We’ll consider how helpful these are, and whether there are ways that we can make any public sharing more authentic. What does it mean to be a disciple in the digital age? Are we called to “e-vangelise” and what might that look like? Come thinking about what might be your 10 commandments for engaging online.
If you were in my previous session, we looked some of this – who are you online and offline … and do you ever feel that as Christians we may get judged more harshly for what we are doing – including for the things that we do outside church?See: http://society6.com/product/Actions-Speak-Louder-Than-Words-2cy_Print
Take some time to introduce self to someone you don’t know, and discuss how you’d feel if you’d just friended them on Facebook, and they started sharing lots of these? Some people enjoy them … but I want you to think about the value people might get out of them, and whether this is the best way to do these things?
Darren, who until recently worked for Scripture Union … asked strong questions on the Big Bible site – what is the VALUE of these tweets –e.g. Jeremiah 29, if we look into the background – ‘know the plans I have… for devastation if you continue to turn away’ … to ourselves and to others … and that this is not a NEW thing … his mother used to keep a box with single verses in it that she’d pull out on a (bad) day … a modern/faster/more shareable way of that…
There’s a hope that people will be ‘real’ … some of the major Christian leaders ‘broadcast’ Bible verses/platitudes, which some people find hard … but to be fair – many people find them helpful – they get widely shared! But in this space – plenty of opportunities to react.. Feel about these?
… along with the speed is more responsibility … we need to highlight the word SOCIAL in social media – so many focus on the ‘technology’ of it, but it’s about the relationships, the conversations [people always asking me about fixing computers – not my thing – learn as much as I need to… !]We need to ground ourselves more … so that being confident in what we believe, we are able to explain to others without decontextualised Bible bashing … and I speak as a non-academically trained theologian.
Not a conversation = trying to ‘show your own cool’ .. (2 mins)
Remember… and shouting louder/more persistently – does it achieve it? Does it make people want to engage with the Bible?Come back to that in ‘say’..
These days there are much better returns on the words ‘Jesus’ or ‘Bible’ on Google (although be aware search results are personalised somewhat) than when we first started – when atheist or fundamentalist rants were all that were available… and remember that lots of people are not even LOOKING…
You’ll see that majority of images of Jesus are stereotypical…
… so we can go off and look elsewhere… ask others we trust… recommendation economy – it’s what many are doing… are we amongst those that our friends trust, or do our words/actions not seem to reflect the Jesus that we avow to follow?
How do we find the gospel online? In people’s blogs, etc. In people’s stories … Question of whether ‘better together’ – and we deliberately want to send people off elsewhere … or whether encourage people in their own spaces…
hyper-local, taking time online – not sending a quick tweet and thinking that’s fulfilled requirement to ‘be online’ in a space where many are… Want 2 show you 3 people who have particularly been placed in the digital space … 2 using only free software/their time/their own thoughts, whilst the other draws on a wide range of voices…
What about if you think that you are only Christ, the only Bible that some people might ever see… this doesn’t mean that God “needs” your help, or that you need to do a “Godslot sweet” – show by your vibrant lives, in which you fulfill the passions God gave you, and share nuggets from church as you do the rest of your life – how powerful does that seem? (see BB FB page for origin)
This verse might be quite familiar to you … but what happens if we re-read it more slowly (get some of the group to read – possibly in diff translations from their smart phones) …
Brings us to the bigger question… which I want us to discuss – who is our neighbour… we’re in a church which talks a lot about embodiment, and Jesus came/incarnational… but we are part of a global world (look more in ‘do’ as we look at e.g. international efforts … think also we live in a world where people move around a lot – how does online allow us to keep connected/make longer term friendships, etc.? Think also – it’s a space where the past is continuously documented – what do we do with that knowledge? Place/location (geography, history, socially, globally) – being truly present where God has placed us – being willing to ‘stick around’ and commit to an area – how can we be a placemaker in the digital space? In ‘say’ we’ll think more about learning the etiquette of the online spaces… and seek to fill those with salt & light…
Something else to think about in this mix… a subtle difference… as with social media – it’s not about ‘metrics’ … no one but God knows how he works…
Something that those of you on Twitter may observe is people sharing Bible verses… and many are short enough to fit under the 140 character limit, and software such as YouVersion (the Bible app) encourage you to do this… though I tend only to do this if I’m tweeting a #sermon… because of what we talked about earlier – but when people ask “did Jesus talk in soundbites” – yes – sometimes – and social media is sometimes – not replace everything!
He gives us the tools to do so in the Bible, and here in the Western world we have many translations, etc.. Image Credit: Seed Resources
… and now we have another raft of tools to work with in the Bible online – try looking for what there is – the biggest is @YouVersion … DISCUSS – any thoughts on using a Bible online? What do you (not) like about it? Image Source: Ministry Best Practice Blog
One of note – Chris Juby – reducing every chapter to 140 characters … did this personally, but decided to send out a local press release – got picked up by national & international press – got lots of people engaged with the Bible – even if they were only interested in language/the novelty of what he was done… it’s still a touchpoint (online = lots of touchpoints)…
What about sharing visually – who’s used Pinterest?
Do you have creative talents – this is quite old, but what do you think of this? How might you choose to share the story of Christmas these days?
This was kinda summed up at a recent conference… Take some time to think about what you’ve potentially shared that you wish you hadn’t, have learnt from, and could share?
This is something we’ve done a couple of times with Big Bible – love to see more – great way to get people to engage with the Bible – think about how to “change” the words to apply in the digital age… // tie in with cyber-bullying…
If this inspires you.. Come join us … love to get more contributors AND more people commenting..
These I WOULD love to see shared online … http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/moses-sinai/
Prayers appreciated as this is due 9th July (revised deadline!) … covers a lot of digital culture, designed to take the fear out of using it – seen as the biggest sticking point for most… so useful for all, but with particular focus on those aspects that affect kids
Final word – remember – there is always a human being at the other end of the keyboard… think before you type…Questions?
Don't be a Bible bot
DON’T BE A
DR BEX LEWIS, CODEC, DURHAM
UNIVERSITY; SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT,
WHAT YOU DO
SPEAKS SO LOUD
THAT I CANNOT HEAR
WHAT YOU SAY.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
DARREN HILL, SEED
All these great Bible
verses arrive on my
feed without any
or explanation. As
believers we are fine
with this, we of course
know the context to
any text that appears
online… don’t we? But
what about everyone
Image Credit: Darren Hill
1 PETER 3:15 (NIV)
But in your hearts revere Christ
as Lord. Always be prepared to
give an answer to everyone who
asks you to give the reason for
the hope that you have. But do
this with gentleness and respect
WHO IS MY
What does it mean to ‘love your
neighbour’ in a world in which a
‘friend’ might as easily be the kid
from down the street you grew up
with as a woman in Botswana
whom you’ve never seen in
person and only know in the
context of Facebook status
updates, photos, and notes?
Relax, enjoy your friends. Enjoy their
company along with the company of
Jesus. Point him out, freely, without
fear or intimidation. You’re not
responsible to sell him to them.
You’re simply saying what you’ve
seen. You're not the judge. You’re the
The greatest single cause
of atheism in the world
today is Christians who
acknowledge Jesus with
their lips and walk out the
door and deny him by
their life style. That is
what an unbelieving
world simply finds
"On average, verses in the
King James Version are about
100 characters long, leaving
room to slip in a #bible
hashtag and still come in
under the 140-character limit”
EVANGELISM IS NOT (1)
The model of conversational, story-based faith-
sharing in the context of relaxed relationship helps
us to establish what evangelism isn’t. In this
setting it is not:
A series of clichés, platitudes or motivational
catch-phrases. Real communication, linked to real
events and experiences, doesn’t need to fall back
on such short-cuts.
The whole gospel. Faith-sharing in a relationship is
part of a process, not all of it. Who knows what
other initiatives and resources God is going to call
H/T Gerard Kelly, Spring Harvest
EVANGELISM IS NOT (2)
A task whose success or failure is on
your shoulders. Your responsibility is to
be authentic; truthful; sensitive;
compassionate: to tell your story well.
The rest, according to Jesus, is the work
of the Holy Spirit. - A theology exam.
Nobody is waiting to pass or fail you.
A combination lock where only one
specific sequence works.
H/T Gerard Kelly, Spring Harvest
EVANGELISM MAY WELL
An invitation to journey. If there comes a context in which
you are encouraging someone to take the next step in their
journey with Jesus, it is always just that - one step. Effective
discipleship is not counted in scalps but in growth and
fruitfulness. What is the next thing that God might be inviting
this person to do?
A link in a chain. You will never be the only voice an
individual hears. Even if there’s no one else about, the Trinity
make three, so you’re at least one of four. More likely one of
many, many more.
A challenge to know and tell your own story. It’s surprising
how difficult it can be to answer the simplest of questions.
How has the encounter with Jesus impacted your life?
H/T Gerard Kelly, Spring Harvest
EVANGELISM MAY WELL
An integration of words and actions. You may well value
words above actions, but in the end those who see and hear
you will draw from both.
An expression of dialogue. The best conversations are
mutually edifying. Genuine exchange always, in some
measure, goes both ways.
Grounded in listening. Listen early, speak late is a good rule.
Better still; listen early, listen again, then listen to make sure
you’ve heard well, then consider speaking a possible option,
unless more listening would be more helpful.
A kingdom operation, shaped by the widest possible view of
God’s purposes. What makes your words good news? To
H/T Gerard Kelly, Spring Harvest
WE ARE RICH IN
Image Credit:Seed Resources
… AND RICH IN
MEANS TO ACCESS
Image Credit: Ministry Best Practice Blog