We have been seduced.
We have been seduced into believing a post on a social media platform is talk.
There. I said it. The emperor has no clothes.
Anyone who believes electronically-produced words distributed over electronically-based platforms is conversation or dialogue has been seduced by a culture of I, me, me, mine which accepts such chatter as a form of talk. Let’s admit posts on social media platforms are more for the benefit of the one posting than the one reading. Comments, re-tweets, and counter posts bring additional personally-biased information to the flow of ideas, but this exchange is not talk. Minds and hearts are seldom if ever changed through these electronic exchanges.
Have I not fallen into the arms of my seductress by typing and posting my thoughts in this blog? I have fallen into her arms, only I believe my typing and your reading this blog equal talk.
Talk is the exchange of ideas and meaning through spoken word between two or more people present in the exchange. The spoken word in relationship between those speaking is the true platform for human dialogue.
Our current culture (get it, electronic, current?) says dialogue happens through the posting of ideas, images, and clips and those comments written in response or reaction to them. Even the words I type here, which are images of spoken words, convey some meaning, but they are not talk. How has this “exchange of ideas” worked out for us?
Why is talk an issue important to Christians in a culture who believe reality and truth can be known through social media?
Here is why it is:
The Gospel is spoken word delivered on the platform of genuine relationship.
We who trust Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead on the third day truly is the Christ, the Son of God, must remember, “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” The Second Person of the Godhead became a human being and lived among real people in real-time. Jesus spoke to people in real-time to tell them truth and to invite them into the kingdom of God. He demonstrated his spoken words through acts of mercy toward people and power over creation.
Jesus did not write anything which was preserved for us. Jesus, the One through whom we know God, spoke, and hearts were changed and creation responded to his words.
The Gospel spoken in authentic relationship is how God has chosen to change the human heart.
Yes, there are instances when the Holy Spirit touches a reader’s heart and begins to draw him or her to a relationship with God through Christ. However, dialogue through speech wrapped in true relationship is the platform for a changed heart. The Risen Lord comes and speaks in dreams to those who seek him. The Holy Spirit empowers the spoken words between friends to encourage the soul. Spoken words are the platform of truth.
We who equip men and women called to serve Christ and the church through theological education must remind those we equip for service that it is only when two people speak words in real-time within a genuine relationship can truth be told. Yes, we must teach technological techniques to share ideas on the bridges of electronic platforms, but the essence of our instruction must lead to talk of truth in real relationship.
Yes, church leader, write and use Bible study curriculum (I do) in written and video form and let it spur talk about one’s relationship with the three-in-one God we know through Jesus. Preaching through spoken word must remain central to the church’s mission to make disciples. Dialogue in small groups around Scripture and personal need is core to ekklesia community. But talk is the platform God uses to change hearts and minds, not media.
Both the Guttenberg press and the Internet have changed how humans communicate. But for the followers of Jesus who desire to see heart change in others, we must seek honest talk within true friendship. Don’t tell me, “but Jesus didn’t have the Internet. He would have used it if he did.” No, he would not have, nor would he have had a television ministry. I believe an aspect of “the fullness of time” when God became flesh in Jesus of Nazareth was the fact that there was no Internet or television. The changed hearts happened as a result of Jesus talking with people who then talked to others. That is how the Good was spread around the known world. This is who truth spreads now.
“But, what about the letters Paul and the Apostles wrote?” Those letters were mostly read to the churches gathered in Christ-centered relationships. The first century was mostly an oral culture. Only a very small percentage of the population could read and write. Even now, oral cultures outnumber literate ones. The Gospel spread more through Paul’s personal interaction with real people in real-time than through the letters he wrote. His letters simply reinforced what he had said to the readers/hearers when he was with them. (I know he had not been to Rome when he wrote that letter, but he later was there and spoke the Gospel he wrote about.)
I admit this post is not talk but it has a broader audience I can get to when seeking talk with those I have a relationship with. However, until you, the reader, and I, the writer, can truly know one another through authentic relationship and speak in real-time, what I type is simply information transfer. Your comment is only that too.
I have to stop now because I’ve reached the word limit for a blog or you’ll quit reading. That’s what my seductress just whispered to me.