How fast our words move

Have you seen the guy from Focus on the Family who was asking people to pray for rain on Obama’s acceptance speech? (click here if you haven’t) The speech at the close of the Democratic convention will be outside so this guy who does a sort of light humor show online asked people to pray for rain.

When viewed by a few hundred Christians in a church many of them might chuckle about it while seeing the inherant tongue-in-cheekness of it all. But when it is out and on the web suddenly it looks like something very different. Suddenly a simple joke becomes a national media extravaganza with this guy even being named the Worst Guy in the World by Keith Oberman (very hard to be worse that Bill O’Reilly according to Oberman, btw).

I am not a huge fan of how he handled things after it all went sort of crazy. He seems to be acting like he was actually sort of serious about the thing.

But aside from all that I wanted to look at how quickly something that we say can move beyond who we intend to hear them and can damage not only how people view us, but also how people view the church, and even worse Jesus. As someone who makes stands for Jesus online this is my constant fear. I am afraid that something that I say offhand that I feel is funny will turn around and become some huge ordeal. I am afraid that my words will turn someone away from seeking after Jesus.

There have been times in my blog when that has happened (back when I didn’t realize that people actually read this site you can check out the most famous one: start with this link and then read forward a few days, be sure to read to the point where I realized I was being stupid and apologized.). And each time I am reminded to 2 things. 1) Words have a life of their own. Once spoken you can’t control where they go or what the do. 2) The internet has no context. The very nature of things being instanced in one place or on one page means that things aren’t part of a larger work. Few people had heard of this guy before he started asking for a downpour on Obama. There was no context for his comments and as such people were able to read whatever context they wanted.

I don’t really have a big ending to this post. I guess it is just a reminder for me and a warning to the rest of my blogging friends.

One thought on “How fast our words move

  • August 17, 2008 at 4:35 AM

    This is such a good reminder that words that are written down – and read – can never include the total manner in which they were intended, which you see when you talk to someone face to face. Thanks for a reminder – which we all can use!



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