Not So Social Media

Simon

Daniel

Daniel, of Jewish royalty, was exiled to and raised in Babylon, and chosen to be schooled in its language and literature.  In other words, Daniel was steeped in Babylonian culture: he was adept at their cultural, moral, and philosophical structures, which, at points were anathema to his monotheistic heritage.

Early on in his education, he forced a point of difference, and in so doing proved the wisdom, the observable difference of his separation, when he refused the rich fare from the king’s table.  He was applauded for this.

Later he came into life-threatening conflict with the powers when refusing to obey the King’s edict concerning to whom one could pray.  His disobedience was almost the occasion of his demise.  He was thrown to the lions for this.

Admired and despised, loved, and hated.

And yet, remarkably, he out-lasted the suzerainty of four Kings.

Daniel is a remarkable example of being culturally aufait and counter-cultural.

He understood and utilized the culture, but he was not captive to it. 

Where needed he faced into the raging wind of Babylonian power, and where required he worked within it.

 

Us

Social media is a tsunami of facts, opinions, misinformation, vitriol, and accusation without defense.  It assumes to be judge, jury, and executioner.  Its damage ranges from being a nuisance to a cause of suicide.  Any appeal to impartiality is a lost cause, as Facebook is currently discovering with massive losses of advertising revenue over its seeming inability to cull hate-speech invective.

On the other hand, social media can be social – it can be used to inform, entertain, and delight.  It depends on who wields the s/word or the pict/ure.  And as with any tool, it quickly loses its neutrality in the hands of the aggrieved, the thoughtless, and the malcontent.

But for many, it is a way to keep in touch, to foster connections.  Fun and beauty can be mediated by social media, along with thoughtfulness, kindness, and truth.

This is all obvious though – nothing new here.

 

Daniel

Of greater concern is not its use, but that it may be using us.  We need the dexterity of Daniel in being able to weave our way between employing and being employed by, between mastering and being mastered by.

The easy option is to simply condemn it – avoid at all costs.  But this is problematic, as it is a tool that, wielded correctly, has positive benefits – even in our Babylon.  Daniel didn’t fail to employ his knowledge of the “language and literature” of Babylon with acuity.  Much of his task was a human/creational endeavor as much as a Babylonian/fallen perspective.  Administration of a kingdom is still administration; of itself, the administration is a noble task.

But where Babylon defied Jerusalem, Daniel was no longer carried along with the tide.  At a great personal cost, he swam upstream.  He would not become the mindless pawn of the powers that demand fawning obsequiousness.  His failure to bow was their opportunity to crucify him, but his resolution shut the mouths of lions.

 

Us

Vortexes of opinion agitate and swirl around social media.  We must take care we don’t become a repeating station of ill-informed and spiteful words.

Jesus can be proclaimed on social media, but Jesus can as easily be defamed on social media.  How?  By God’s people reacting, retweeting, entering slanging matches, picking up on point-proving diatribe, all of which does little to advance the kingdom of God and the cause of Christ’s love.  Not for no reason did Jesus teach in the Lord’s prayer – “Hallowed be your name,” or make your name holy in your people, juxtaposed to God’s people bringing into ill repute to his holy name.

 

Daniel got it right.

 

Simon Circle

Simon McIntyre
July 27, 2020

One Reply to “Not So Social Media”

And one of our conferences it was mentioned that as Daniel excelled and was elevated in the kingdom of Babylon he maintained and perhaps increased his spiritual disciplines. Three times a day he open the window and prayed towards Jerusalem. Remembering the past and why they were there in captivity and having hope for the future release, return and rebuild. Prayer is always a long these two axis.

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