Twitter, Outrage, and Jesus

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It happens over and over.

First: the offensive statement, the easily misunderstood opinion, the flattened phrase.

A victim is created and shouts. They claim space, a part of the territory. Here I am. They say. Look, I’m bleeding. You hit me. You meant to hit me. In cyberspace, within the pixels, there is blood.

Someone says the rules. One rule is this: they are always right. I do not know who made these rules, but someone says it, so it must be so. The sensitive and righteous tweet support and tell their own stories. They demand an apology. Twitter has spoken. They determine what will be a satisfactory penance. There are other rules, and there are hashtags.

In 140 characters we will sort through all the mixed motivations of human desire. We will make it clear; we will judge, and correct, and make right with our succinct and brief tweets.

I will feel good if I can make you feel bad. Or if you do not feel bad, if you at least retweet what I tweeted, unless it makes me look bad, then I will delete it.

I have dishes to do and a living room to clean up and I should probably return some phone calls, but I must send this tweet because it will change someone’s mind, and it’s the perfect phrase that someone will notice especially if they have an amusing hashtag to add or maybe they will have a million followers and I’ll be noticed.

Twitter shall not be for the nuanced, the thoughtful, or the reconciling.

Those do not get retweeted.

Then backlash against the hurt. There is a retort and a riposte. Who wins? The most clever, or the most retweeted? We love the attention, and then the attention is too much. Hugo Schwyzer needs meds and a little love; no, he needs to go away because the man is a trigger, and he triggers everything, and nobody controls over their emotions anymore, I will tweet everything, because patriarchy and feelings oppress us all.

And so the outrage machine will make its little idols, through its perpetual series of distractions, puffery and self-indulgence.

Twitter allows us to be like Gods, worshiped by our followers with retweets and personal messages. And then we do battle with other Gods.

We need not seek healing, for we have these weapons in 140 characters. If there is the hope of winning, we will continue to place hashtags.

What would Jesus do?

He would look up from the screen.

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79 comments on “Twitter, Outrage, and Jesus

  1. Really and truly enjoyed reading this!

  2. Facebook’s like that too, only with more than 140 characters. The social network world in general encourages all that kind of stuff

    • Fr Gawain says:

      That’s right. I find twitter slightly more ephemeral, (at least in my case, FB is a smaller party), but there’s plenty of overlap. Thanks for commenting and reading!

  3. segmation says:

    Funny! I wish we knew what Jesus would do. He probably would love the creativity that social media invokes!

    • Fr Gawain says:

      I’d buy that! I actually don’t have any real idea what Jesus would do. I suspect he’d tweet, but have some wise thing to say about not worshiping the God twitter. Is the hashtage that God’s symbol?

  4. erajithmani says:

    Reblogged this on Chithalaricha Swapnangal and commented:
    Tweet from Jesus

  5. Britt says:

    I read this twice… and tried to “like” it again. A brilliant economy of words. Thank you for this.

  6. Crystal says:

    I do not use twitter but I found your article intriguing and I follow Jesus too.

  7. “He would look up from the screen.”

    Amen!

  8. Mariam says:

    Loved it!!! :)

  9. I got a good chuckle. Our culture is certainly fooled into our worth being how many retweets and how many likes I get. Great post, I do think Jesus would keep the twitter world on its toes! LOL

  10. That is why I chucked them all, Father! The drama overload of social networking is just so pathetic anymore. Nothing beats good ol’ fashioned face-to-face convo, where it is only said (not “tweeted”) if someone has got the guts to say it! Love your spot-on analysts, btw! Good job!

    • Fr Gawain says:

      You are a righteous person. Liberation only happens face to face. That said, I remain captivated by the medium. Pray for me, a sinner.

    • Kay says:

      All well and good, but what if you’re so far away that you’re unable to have a face to face conversation? I live over 200 miles from my family and see them once a year, but through Facebook we can share photos and news easily.
      I’m not saying that all of social media – and the reliance upon it – is a good thing, but it certainly has its pros as well as cons.

      • Fr Gawain says:

        I’m not a puritan about these things. I still tweet and use FB. It’s when the medium, by hastening time and relocating our physical space, makes us less aware of the bodies behind the screen. Being half-Indian, I find FB a great way to keep in touch with family in India and England. Twitter also has its amusements.

      • I do see your point, and for all of your perfectly valid reasons (my wife still has a FB for those reasoned as well). I just got hooked in with a bunch of drama queens (most of whom were dudes), and that just kinda soured it for me, not to mention how time consuming it became for me. So I basically wimped out of it and went to skype and facetime to solve the LD dilemma. Thanks for your input and nice meeting you here on WP.

  11. shantel9891 says:

    Nice read. Sad truth but this is the world we live in. We have to fight to change it.

    • Fr Gawain says:

      Let us remember what matters. Not the screen, but where we are now, in the relationships around us. The battle has begun.

  12. vladojanjicbg says:

    Reblogged this on WLADOJANJIC BLOG.

  13. Andy says:

    Enjoyable read, at least we have 140 characters of potentional Godly influence where we may normally might have none. :)

    • Fr Gawain says:

      Thank you. I agree, Twitter has its uses. It’s a good way to practice being succinct. Still, its a tool, but one that works at such speed that it requires greater diligence to create the space to be thoughtful.

  14. Good read! How sad this reality of our generation, tweeting your problems among your followers first instead of just talking and start solving it with your family or friends. We must not forget to rely on Jesus, NOT on twitter or Facebook. Just saying :)

  15. Whew! You make me even more grateful that I’m not on Twitter. What a waste of time!

    I imagine Jesus would be more of a face-to-face kind of guy. He might blog, though, to get his message out. And *maybe* Facebook to post beautiful photos of God’s glorious creation. Even cute kitten pictures. Beyond that, I don’t see him in front of a screen. I doubt he would even watch TV.

  16. Reblogged this on danettenell29 and commented:
    I woke up this morning with a double mind-set about reposting a very judgmental wall post. One that would cause an enormous stir among fellow face-bookers, and atheists vs. Christians. I wanted to repost because it would create a debate, which I thought could enlighten many. …enlighten….

    How can one be “enlightened”, when most people will retort in anger to such a post/tweet/blog? When we realize that no one tries seeing matters from the side of someone else’s mountain? When the only aim is to prove their own point, instead of gaining knowledge from someone else’s? Facebook and various other platforms have become a cheap form of entertainment for attention seekers…and before you judge these “retorters”- when was the last time you tried to walk over to your opponents side, and see the world from their side?

  17. Charity says:

    True of so much more than Twitter.

    Wonderful piece.

    • Fr Gawain says:

      Yes – I would say the internet itself makes sabbath living more challenging.

      • Charity says:

        That comment wasn’t nuanced nearly enough, and now I’m offended!

        Prepare for vitriolic outrage!

      • Fr Gawain says:

        Woo hoo! Let the flame wars begin. As long as we can increase my stats.

      • Charity says:

        I begin with a red herring emotional appeal that over simplifies and misrepresents the intent of your original post.

      • Fr Gawain says:

        I respond with a condescending eyeroll and a lengthy explanation of all the terms with a link to an article you will never read.

      • Charity says:

        I retort with a link to an article defaming the author of the article I haven’t read, thereby invalidating the article’s content and exonerating me from having to consider the perspectives presented.

        In conjunction, I construct a straw man argument based loosely on your character and proceed to loudly proclaim your *insert emotionally-charged buzz word* ness.

      • Fr Gawain says:

        I link to another article by that same author and disparage the website you link to. Then I bring up a totally unrelated subject to show that I know more things. Then I quote someone famous, out of context. I insult a family member.

      • Charity says:

        I then write a blog post featuring quotations taken out of context from your lengthy explanation, encouraging my cohorts troll any future posts you write and tell you what a bad person you are.

      • Fr Gawain says:

        I write an article on my website carefully explaining my logic in a post that is too long to read. I make references to slavery or Hitler or some terrible event, insinuating you are just like them because Freedom.

  18. fungalspore says:

    Would the beatitudes work as tweets?

  19. Amlakyaran says:

    very nice post…

  20. peterjfoster says:

    What a challenging Post! I’m thinking carefully ‘what would Jesus do’ – because I don’t truly know what to do.

    • Fr Gawain says:

      We can only speculate. Most importantly – what would we do? Fan the flames? Or get to work? Cheers!

  21. mithriluna says:

    Excellent Father! I love the last line.

  22. rules are for people to lazy to make their own

  23. The only time Jesus wrote anything it was in the dirt with a stick. And the only thing we know about what was on his mind when he was writing in the dirt was that when he looked up he refused to condemn a woman. Kinda makes you think. Unlike hashtag campaigns.

  24. Jeremy amrith lay says:

    since i followed your blog please follow mine at
    http://www.jeremyamrithlay.wordpress.com
    as i have entered to a blogging competition and i desperately need followers.

  25. Hello. Freshly Pressed brought me here. I’m not religious but I enjoyed this post. #imnotreligious :)

  26. profoundfull insight of the life of a twitteratti

  27. MissFit says:

    If only we could get back to simpler times. living in the real world and the multitude of social media worlds is exhausting. I hope more than Jesus steps away from the glow…

  28. lorevalkyrie says:

    I don’t know if this was supposed to be amusing, but because I find it true, it was rather amusing to me. Well-written and kudos!

  29. Very nicely written, sir–and thoughts well worth writing, I might add.

  30. Defiant Girl says:

    I enjoyed reading this

  31. readmylipps says:

    Loved it, and you really zeroed in on life on Twitter: “Tweet at your own risk”.

  32. […] Twitter allows us to be like Gods, worshipped by our followers with retweets and personal messages. And then we do battle with other Gods. {Twitter, Outrage, and Jesus} […]

  33. jendefig says:

    Well done! So true!

  34. […] several placed their little pieces   and their little stories on Facebook. Recently they added Twitter to give some shouts into the internet world, or they threw in a nod to Google+ or Circles. We may […]

  35. uparekh says:

    i really enjoyed this story and post. thank you very much.

    uparekh

    http://vajajewelry.com/

  36. sunburst2014 says:

    Reblogged this on LIFE ON A CHANGING PLANET and commented:
    I wonder what Noah would tweet

  37. […] Twitter, Outrage, and Jesus. […]

  38. Fran Sisco says:

    6/12/14- I agree with so much you’ve said. I love the last sentence. I may add “… and took his hands off the keyboard and hugged the person in front of him.”

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