There is a point at which being sensitive to cultural norms in how things are communicated becomes giving in to cultural ills in how things are communicated. When that happens, truth suffers enormously. I don’t know where that point is, and I don’t know who has reached it and who hasn’t. I do know that it is common now to hear admonitions in the Christian world to reduce everything to 140 characters or 30 second videos. A short blog post or a 2 minute video are too much – you’ve already lost your audience. Either you wake up and realize who you are talking to and how they have been conditioned by media, or you are not an effective communicator. What?
The insurmountable problem with these statements that should be be so glaringly obvious is that if you apply those standards of effectiveness to God, He is a failing miserably at communication. In His inscrutable wisdom God ordained that a very, very long book would be the authoritative source of truth for His people. While it contains many individual books, each one is part of a narrative progression that makes it impossible to fully understand them independent from one another. Furthermore, within those books there are many chapters. These chapters were never meant to be read apart from those before them and after them. It is impossible to grasp the meaning of Romans 10 without having read Romans 1-9. Am I doubting the power of the Holy Spirit? No. He is the One who inspired the Bible and made it this way.
While being sensitive to where people are coming from, I believe it is our modern standards that need to be questioned and not God’s chosen means of communicating. Let’s use Twitter, Facebook, and 30 second videos. Let’s use them to call a generation languishing from a famine of the knowledge of God to militate against the stupor that entertainment is placing upon them and actually read large portions of the Bible with clarity. Let’s not try to reduce the ocean of the glorious truths of Jesus to the dripping faucet of social media. Instead, let’s use social media to wet their parched tongues and call them to something vast in its grandeur.
Perhaps it would be helpful to recall that God made people. He made their brains, He made their eyes, and I am not convinced that the current arguments for the limitations of this generation are very impressive to Him. If scrolling through your news feed on Facebook for hours every day renders you unable to read a weighty book about Jesus that is over 250 pages, I promise the problem is with Facebook. And if thumbing through thousands upon thousands of tweets on your iPhone over the course of a week makes it so you can’t focus long enough to read through one of the gospels, the issue is Twitter. For most people under 25, just deleting one social media app from their smartphone would give them easily enough time to read through the entire Bible in a year. So why would we entertain for a moment the suggestion that sermons addressing high school or college students just can’t assume a real working knowledge of the biblical story? Let’s challenge the appalling waste of time and mental atrophy that is robbing Jesus of receiving the attention and affection of the people who He created with astonishing capacities for both. Let’s use social media to fight the the effects of social media and call a generation to magnify Jesus with their minds and their eyes.