The Sins Forbidden by the Ninth Commandment in a Social Media World

In an article I shared a couple of days ago, we began to take a look at the ninth commandment (“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”) and its relevance in a world in which so much of our communication takes place through social media. Specifically, we considered some of the duties required by the commandment. Today we want to look at the flip side and consider the sins it forbids. As with the first article, I will …

The Duties Required by the Ninth Commandment in a Social Media World

You must be familiar with the ninth commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” On a surface level it’s simple enough: Don’t tell lies about other people. But Christians have traditionally understood it to entail far more than this. With the rise of modern communications technologies, and especially social media, I am convinced we need to diligently apply ourselves to a fresh consideration of all this commandment requires of us. I plan to do this in two …

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Social Media and Churches / Are You Addicted to Your Cell Phone?

At a recent event in Johannesburg, South Africa, I was asked about the relationship of churches and social media, and also asked about cell phone addiction (and information about my experiment in getting rid of my smart phone for a time). In these two videos I give my answers.   Transcript What problems can the internet and social media cause for churches? Problems for churches with internet and social media; I do think the gossip factor is huge. I think …

Peaceful Polemics Online

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. This wonderfully pessimistic French phrase roughly translates to “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” It points us to one of the undeniable facts about life in this world: that though times and contexts change, humanity remains the same. Today, we find ourselves at a fascinating point in history, a point when we are witnessing a radical shift in the way we communicate. We are transitioning from old media to new …

Chili’s, Guacamole, and @JohnPiper

A few years ago I was at a conference to lead a breakout session and perhaps to do some writing about the event. There were a couple of keynote speakers there, John Piper among them, and they were carrying a much heavier load. If I remember correctly, the first day ended with an informal Q&A session held in the lobby rather than the main auditorium. Hundreds of us crowded into that lobby to eat dessert and to hear answers to …

Can I Ask a Dumb Question?

Have you ever said something dumb—something really, really dumb? Have you ever said something so dumb that you cringe to even allow the memory to crawl back into your mind? We all have at one time or another, haven’t we? Few things are more painful than realizing we’ve displayed ignorance or arrogance through dumb statements or dumb questions. Really, the only thing more painful is having our dumbness met with anger, outrage, or mockery. Such responses only compound the pain …

7 Rules for Online Engagement

Christians have had their share of social media successes in over the past few years, many of them related to identifying theological error and defending theological truth. This work has been carried on through blogs, of course, but also through Facebook and YouTube and other forms of digital communication. But for all of the success, there have also been a lot of failures. Many of the most egregious failures have been in discussing or debating controversial topics. As we learn …

Ashley Madison and Who You Are Online

You have heard by now that the site AshleyMadison.com was hacked and that millions of users had their information made public. Ashley Madison is a company that exists to facilitate (and even guarantee) adulterous relationships, and now those people who wanted to be quietly unfaithful to their spouses have been suddenly outed. As I read the headlines and heard of some of those caught up in the scandal (including, sadly, Josh Duggar), I thought back to one of the first …

Howard Schultz, Tim Keller and Commandment #9

If you hold to a traditional marriage, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, wants you to know that he is not interested in your business. On the other side of America pastor Tim Keller says, no problem, you can be a Christian and believe that gay marriage is perfectly acceptable. These are two things you may have read in the news or in the blogosphere over the past couple of weeks. Both made headlines, but both were based on at least …

The Blogs, the Battles and the Gospel

The blogosphere in general and the Christian blogosphere in particular has had its share of successes, but also its share of failures. Many of its most egregious and public failures have been in the realm of polemics—discussing or debating controversial topics. Many bloggers have mastered all the practical rules of blogging, the short paragraphs, the use of subheadings, the best times and dates to post their articles. But these same bloggers, myself included, would do well to work toward mastering …