Serving Millennials on the Journey Toward Significant Life
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The Kick Back

I’ve said it plenty of times…social media has a lot of power and a lot of positives. I referred to some of the positives in this post a few months ago.

With all the power for positives in social media, there is an equal and maybe greater power for negative influence. I saw a couple things happen in the past weeks that have reminded me of this in a huge way.

You never know when something you say over Facebook, Twitter, or a blog will come back to bite you. Just ask Larry Johnson, the now former running back for the Kansas City Chiefs. He bashed his coach over Twitter and called a fan some extremely insensitive words regarding sexuality several times on Twitter as well (no I’m not making this up). Yesterday he was released from the team after having been previously suspended by the team. It is likely he’ll be playing for another team by next Sunday, but he has tarnished his image. Read that story here.

Over the weekend John Piper had this to say on Twitter:

john piper twitter

And then yesterday he had this “insight” on elders and porn:

john piper twitter elders

Let me say this. I have no reason not to respect John Piper. He has served Jesus faithfully and never, ever compromised preaching the gospel during his service as a pastor and author. He is a man I look up to and learn from quite often.

I would summarize my thoughts on Piper’s two tweets with this one word: curious. If it isn’t curious, then maybe confusing. I don’t really understand what he is saying, but if you take them at face value he has done a horrible job of referencing Scripture with context (Ez. 8:12) and he has completely offended those who do feel addicted to porn.

The bad part of all this with Piper is that he has absolutely no idea people have been offended or confused by his tweets on porn. He obviously doesn’t check his @ replies because he has never replied to anyone on Twitter, nor has he responded with any sort of follow up after those 2 note worthy statements. So not only has he turned many on Twitter against him, he is not engaging with them in any way. 2 strikes.

I know a lot of people who are truly offended by Piper’s remarks and my only hope is that they continue to be rooted in grace as they reference him (here is a response to Piper that goes too far for me).

I’ve even been guilty of stupid statements on social media myself plenty of times. I said this on Twitter last week:

@tylerbraun tweetI meant nothing racial about it. Just about every winner of every major marathon has been from Kenya or Ethiopia in the past 20 years. BUT several people wrote me a message on Twitter warning me that I was dangerously close to offending many with my statement, because it was a stupid thing to say. I apologized to all of those people and kept the lesson learned in my memory bank.

This is just one example when I’ve done something completely stupid on Twitter or this blog. I could name plenty of other examples.

Too often we flippantly say whatever random thought passes through our brains without thinking of the repercussions.

Have you seen the power of social media turn on you in a negative way?

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  • http://mentormeproject.wordpress.com mentormeproject

    It is crazy when something that was created for good turns bad…oh wait that is us right? We are sinful people that often distort things, say stupid stuff, and then proclaim Christ name and yet we continue to fail and fall.

    It has been a crazy two weeks with everything going on.
    I even wrote this post: http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com/what-a-crazy-day-on-the-blogosphere/
    and it as well got a lot of traffic and comments.

    I think we like controversy and arguments. That is why people continue to come back to blogs and read conversations and continue to weigh in. Often times I just want to say, “lets stop beating a dead horse.” But you are right Tyler, there is so much that i say that I never even knew was offensive or that others say that I do not take offensive but someone else does.

    On the Piper stuff…I am glad MPT said something, it did go a bit far, but I read his stuff with a grain of salt and usually just overlook it all, but after reading again it was way to much.
    I really believe that Piper did not write that. I cannot imagine him tweeting on his own, and so my hope is that something got lost in translation. It just does not seem like something he would say.

    I do hope that some follow up comes from all of this.

  • http://www.contentunderpressure.net Josh

    The Ezekiel 8:12 reference is just flat-out absurd. I also agree with SOME of what MPT said, but that it went a taaaaaaad too far…

    I would also agree that there is no way Piper sends those tweets out. But, as a “big-namer” he may want to have some sort of system of checks before anything goes out with his name on it. Of course, he also could have meant exactly what it said, which both disappoints me and doesn’t surprise me. I don’t necessarily agree with everything the man says, but I do respect him.

    I haven’t seen it turn on me….yet. My day will come if I just keep plugging along. :)

  • http://theycallmepastorbryan.com theycallmepastorbryan

    I figure it’s only a matter of time before I have something turn on me. I’ll do it eventually.

    As for the Piper tweet, I appreciate the idea of representing how dangerou it really is, I just think that the writing makes it seem like he has no conception of how addiction works. Most addicts know the thing they’re addicted to is harmful for them, it’s not usually a matter of “if you only knew how bad this is.”

  • Yonas

    Have you seen the power of social media turn on you in a negative way?

    Yes.

  • http://www.benlemery.com Ben

    And sometimes people just have their undies in a bunch because we have to be so politically correct.

    I am surprised at some of the things people get offended over; it makes me want to shout “GET OVER IT!”

    On a side note, do we know if Piper actually wrote the tweets, there have been a lot of hackings lately. If he did, I think he should expound on it through his blog to at least get into his mind.

    I know how I think something, write it out and I know what I meant, but nobody else knows what I mean. That can be frustrating and usually leads to another “special” tweet or blog post to explain myself.

    Think before we speak? Yes. Sometimes though, people have to stop being so easily offended.

  • http://ryanguard.net ryanguard

    Yeah Matthew went way too far. I’ve done the same.

    At my last church I was actually scolded for saying something on Twitter. My executive pastor said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I was suddenly 5 years old. I deleted a blog post to work there too- one that was about the doctrine of Hell. It created too many false perceptions about me. Or WERE they false ;)

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

    Made this comment earlier but was logged in under another name:

    It is crazy when something that was created for good turns bad…oh wait that is us right? We are sinful people that often distort things, say stupid stuff, and then proclaim Christ name and yet we continue to fail and fall.

    It has been a crazy two weeks with everything going on.
    I even wrote this post: http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com/what-a-crazy-day-on-the-blogosphere/
    and it as well got a lot of traffic and comments.

    I think we like controversy and arguments. That is why people continue to come back to blogs and read conversations and continue to weigh in. Often times I just want to say, “lets stop beating a dead horse.” But you are right Tyler, there is so much that i say that I never even knew was offensive or that others say that I do not take offensive but someone else does.

    On the Piper stuff…I am glad MPT said something, it did go a bit far, but I read his stuff with a grain of salt and usually just overlook it all, but after reading again it was way to much.
    I really believe that Piper did not write that. I cannot imagine him tweeting on his own, and so my hope is that something got lost in translation. It just does not seem like something he would say.

    I do hope that some follow up comes from all of this.

  • http://www.lynseleanne.com/blog Lynse Leanne

    sorta kinda….one of the main reasons i am no longer on staff with the church i worked with is because of social media. my boss sensed a little bit of disdain in my tweets about my life and assumed it was about my job….so it started a dialogue about my position of if i was happy and such. but it also put me out of a job….

    so yes…ish. cause i am a lot happier now.

  • http://www.spintheaxis.com Jason

    I don’t understand all the anger against Piper. I was addicted to porn for over 15 years and I thought he was right on the money with the statement. I think we need to stop always trying to soft-pedal things just to keep from offending someone. Porn to an addict is just as damaging as someone sticking a blow-torch in someone’s face. It’s reality. Going after someone who speaks that plain and simple truth really makes those condemning him look foolish.

    In the depths of my addiction I knew it was bad for me but I kept going back…because I never let it hit home to be how bad it REALLY was for me. An addict may say they know it’s bad but they also find ways to temper down that “bad for me” angle. Sometimes you just have to look at sin and call it out for what it is.

    Sorry to vent here but I’ve been having to sit by frustrated watching people attack John Piper for something that’s completely true & your post was just the last straw on the stack. :) “Understanding the nature of addiction” is really irrelevant from the fact porn to an addict is as harmful as a blowtorch to the face.

    As for social media turning against you…I’ll probably find out about that after I submit this comment. ;)

  • http://randrambles.com Rand

    Personally I was very confused with John Piper’s tweet. I couldn’t understand it. The more I read it I see in it something like:” Are you addicted to porn? Be radical. It will end up killing you if you don’t” Which for me is not a bad thing.

    I do believe people are being very, very hard on him. I’ve been addicted to porn and know about the horrible consequences but is bashing him the best way to go about this? I really don’t think so and I don’t see Jesus in all the bashing against Piper. I know some people try to be satyrical about it but there’s a thin line between being a comedian and kicking someone in the face, even more as Christians.

    Whatever Piper’s reasons were to post something like that, I believe he needs to be more careful and emphatic on what he says, you never know when you will be the one being destroyed by porn.

    Tyler, thank you for approaching this the way you did, you showed maturity.

    PS: Is it too harsh to put a blowtorch on your face? Try cutting your hand or gouging an eye out.

  • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron Armstrong

    Tyler, this is a great post and very well handled. Thank you for writing this.

    Interesting thing: Piper’s reference actually does seem to make sense after looking at the verse in context (Ezekiel being shown a vision of Israel’s leaders worshipping their false gods in the temple, beleiving that God can’t see what they’re doing). Just throwing that out there for whatever it’s worth.

    Again, great post.

    • http://manofdepravity.com Tyler

      I guess I am not disagreeing with the context so much as it seems weird to think that Piper’s statement was how God desires for all of us to read it today.

      • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron Armstrong

        Fair point, Tyler. I guess the tough thing with all of the hoopla surrounding these tweets is that we don’t know exactly why he wrote what he did. Who knows? Maybe a fuller explanation is on the way at some point.

  • http://rethinkmonthly.com Bo Lane

    Thanks for handling this the way you did. Though, personally, I see no harm in what John Piper wrote about, but I do see how that could’ve been mishandled by those struggling with addictions. I think that most people, especially this guy, took what was said a little too far.

    Often we plead for grace on so many levels, and then when someone like Piper goes a little extreme, we scream heresy and light our torches. Where is the balance? That’s my question.

  • http://www.fredmckinnon.com Fred McKinnon

    once I tweeted “trying to stay awake during newcomer’s orientation”. I mean, after all, we’d just finished a long morning of Sunday worship services, eaten the classic south georgia fried chicken and mashed potatos, and then had to sit on the floor (all the seats were taken by our wonderful guests) and hear the “who we are” lecture …

    It was quickly brought to my attention the next day that it was a lame tweet, and it twas!

  • http://stephanieamber.wordpress.com stephanie

    people tend to assume that because they have a way to get a bunch of people to pay attention to what they’re saying, that they should say something.

    there are some pastors I know who update their facebook status DAILY with complaints about how busy they are in their ministry… how much they need to be reminded of God’s goodness.. lots of really right-winged political statements…

    and it just disgusts me. I struggle so much with not judging them.. but my gosh.

    I posted on my fb status recently about how if we were to look at our status updates as testimonies of our faith, what would they say about us? my friend kyle said that Facebook is too new to use it as a ministry tool, and that response blew me away. isn’t it an extension of us? doesn’t it affect what people think of us or how they perceive us?

    perhaps I’m just overly sensitive to this idea and refuse to update things when I am angry/unhappy/woeisme.. but I wish more people updated less and prayed more. probably a lot less offensive stuff and more beneficial stuff going on if that were the case.

    that was a rant, and a bit irrelevant.

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