Church to speak to such challenges?
LS: This isn’t something completely new.
I don’t think it has changed much. I grew
up with slam books. They were composition books. You would open it and at the
top would be a person’s name and people
would write what they
thought of that person. It could be nice.
It could be nasty. But
those words stayed.
The only thing worse
than opening the
book and finding out
what they had written about you was not
finding your name. If
you were not ranked,
rated or talked about, you just didn’t count.
So there has always been this type of thing.
It’s not something new that has just appeared. In this world of social media there
is a levelling, and so everyone has to have
an equal voice.
It is not just kids that are being cyber-
bullied. I have hate sites out there. I have
a lot of them, but some of my friends have
some really nasty ones. Some people be-
lieve what they read just because it is on
the web. I had one of my most savvy stu-
dents who saw one of these sites come to
me and say, “So sorry about what happened
to your friend.” What,
are you kidding me?
This is just not true.
LS: That’s a real problem. That sort of
flaunting is very common and it is part
of our celebrity culture. It comes down to
our methodology. We are in the culture,
but we are not of it. Would Jesus tweet?
Of course He would tweet. The question
is what would Jesus tweet? Jesus would
tweet, but not as the world tweets.
In my travels, where can I point to
what God is up to or what God is doing?
Not what are you doing, but what is God
doing? We use social media not to sell
ourselves, but to point to God. Now if I
publish a book, I see that as something
God does do. So I will mention that.
It is a danger. It was John Calvin who
said that the mind is the factory of idols.
That’s something we have always done.
Social media allows us to do it faster. The
challenge for those who become a part of
this celebrity culture is to use their celebrity status not to become an idol, but to
become an icon – an icon that points toward Christ. Christian celebrities should
work hard at not becoming idols.
FT: Thank you, Leonard. Ft
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