Josh Harris posted some good thoughts about how his church recommends that worshippers not to use Twitter during services. John Piper agrees. Harris brings six points, which I think are helpful. This one is particularly good:
The most important thing I can do while I’m sitting under the preaching of God’s word is to listen to what God is saying to me. I need to actively engage my heart and mind to receive. Twitter, takes the focus off of hearing and receiving and and makes it broadcasting and sharing. So instead of my mind being engaged with thoughts of “What is the Word of God saying to me?” when I start “tweeting” my focus becomes, “What do I want to say? What do Iwant to express? What am I thinking?”
Along those lines, Piper adds these thoughts:
There is an assumption that Josh and I share, which is not understood or embraced by all. Preaching and hearing preaching are worship. Preaching is expository exultation. The preacher is explaining the Bible and applying the Bible and EXULTING over the truth in the Bible. The listener is understanding, and applying, and joining in the exultation. Hearing preaching is heart-felt engagement in the exposition and exultation of the Word of God.
This is a fragile bond. The fact that an electric cord is easily cut, does not mean that the power flowing through it is small. It produces bright and wonderful effects. So it is with preaching. Great power flows through fragile wires of spiritual focus.
The point is, we already need to battle the temptation for distraction when we are worshipping. It isn’t just twittering. Before Twitter ever came along there were myriads of things that come before us to break the focus on what God is revealing to us through worship. Don’t add another one.
And, finally, when it is over both men make clear that then yes, by all means twitter. Tell people what you have heard. Share it. Exult in it. But get the message first, that’s all.
One thought on “Hold your twittering, please”
I’ve observed this burgeoning phenomenon with confusion. WITHOUT the internet I’m usually much too distracted. I’ve been thinking that a more traditional liturgy might help me with that (read more on this old post: http://theaestheticelevator.com/2008/09/06/why-she-walked-out-of-church/).
I like Piper’s comment on worship. However, the definition is ideally much broader yet, applying to a multitude of human activities not limited to Sunday mornings or even church buildings or Bible studies. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people refer to worship in such a way that the action is bound to church on Sunday morning — and in particular singing to music at church on Sunday morning.