If nothing else, this past year has taught us the importance of social media and the ability to stay connected. It has been a valuable resource for faith communities attempting to reach out their parishioners in a time where social distancing and isolation have been more prevalent.
We have also witnessed the toxicity of social media as we have journeyed through a fraught national election which some people are still trying to sow discord around in the social media world. In light of all of this, where does that leave Christians in the realm of this new reality? Douglas Bursch addresses the divide we find ourselves in and how we can go about in healthy interactions in his new book, Posting Peace.
It is important to realize we are in a different time and place then we were even twenty year ago. The rampant growth of social media has led to many advancements and the ability to obtain news instantaneously regardless of your location as long as you have a signal or Wi-Fi. Social media has shaped the world as we now encounter it and Bursch acknowledges such, “social media modifies who we are and what we are becoming” (26). In doing so, he argues we have lost a sense of our spirituality and this is not a good thing. It is his argument that God has been separated from the world and as Christians we have the ability to bring the incarnation back into the scope of conversation. We do so by approaching people with love and compassion and not getting in arguments on social media. A great point Bursch makes, is do you ask yourself before posting something if God would approve?
I don’t believe the author is attempting to sound righteous in anyway, but I believe it could be conceived in that manner by some people. The song, “They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love,” comes to mind when thinking of positing on any social media platform. While, social media could be an evangelizing tool, it should be used only in a way that you are showing love for all and the world around you.
Keeping these points in mind, perhaps we can turn the temperature down a little on whatever our favorite social media outlet maybe. Yes, there will always be those looking for an argument, but we can find them in person as well. Bursch’s goal is to bring Peace to a place that has seemed to boil over with anger and discontent over the last year. It is a great start!
Thanks to Speakeasy for a copy of the book and an opportunity to review it.