Tag Archives: twitter

Ethics or Magic: More Questions

I recently posted the following status update on Facebook:

There is a tension that I have yet to wrap my mind around. In one sense, we are called to take dominion of this earth and to take it from glory to glory. But, at some point, our dominion can become manipulation–a point at which we are no longer glorifying God through our dominion but using the creation, manipulating the creation, to get around God for our own happiness/pleasure/whims. Is that tension definable? Or is it just a tension we live with on a case by case basis?

To which I received this response from Mike Bull:

It’s the difference between ethics and magic. Either we achieve the miraculous increase through obedience, or we attempt to achieve it through “stimulus” (Baalism). That’s a mix of Sutton and Jordan – Covenant is the Key.

I’ve since pondered and have a few more thoughts (and questions) on the topic.

First, I think definition is difficult (like Plato’s chair.) But with enough examples or cases, we can begin seeing the definition. So, consider

NUCLEAR POWER: On the one hand, one could argue that it is dominion to create clean, affordable energy. On the other hand, one could argue that it is manipulation to create something so devastating and destructive of human life. On the third hand(?), one could might argue that the energy is not clean and therefore cannot be dominion, while another could argue that the weapon is destructive only of evil and therefore is dominion. The example isn’t as clear-cut as I’d like.

GENETICS: On the one hand, one could argue that a greater understanding of our biological and chemical make-up leads to cures and healing for Alzheimer’s and other diseases, therefore dominion. On the other hand, one could argue that it is being used to genetically engineer super-babies and is therefore manipulation.

Second, I don’t want to be too quick to call everything dominion. I may even utterly disagree with whole segments of the population that oppose a certain activity or advancement, but I don’t want to define something as dominion, and therefore good, as a reaction against the liberals who hate it. Primarily, I don’t want to do this because even a broken clock is right twice a day. I want to know something is good when I call it good.

Third, I don’t want to be too quick to call something manipulation, and therefore evil. I may believe it to be so because I cannot see the good in it, but that doesn’t make it so. Imagine the early humans when it was the pagan line of Cain that invented music and tools. They could easily have argued (and may have, initially) that those things were anti-God and a manipulation of Him and His creation. But later, the church would find the good dominion uses of those tools, to the point that musical instruments would make their way into the Temple worship of God! (Thanks to Brandon for making that connection for me!)

So, what about the hormone-filled, antibiotic-laden meats we eat today? Dominion-based, healthy meals? Or manipulation-based products to dump off on gullible consumers?

What about cellular technology? Dominion-based tools for communication and shrinking this world? Or manipulation-based, cancer-causing tools?

What about Facebook and Twitter? Again, dominion-based tools for communication and shrinking this world? Or manipulation-based anti-incarnational, anti-loving-your-neighbor tools?

The church needs to start working through these issues, before the tools work us over.

Ethics of Revolution and Elephants in the Room

Duke University Chapel

A couple of weeks ago I drove up to Duke University to attend an “iThink Cafe” forum on the ethics of revolution. Panelists were professors from the university. One of the sites I was able to behold was the chapel, pictured to the right.

One of the other sites I was able to behold was the lunacy of this conversation on ethics. I had hoped to be able to hear the panelists and participating students wrangle with the ethical validity of revolution–and, specifically, violent revolution. Instead, I had the opportunity to hear two Duke professors (Michael Hardt, Chair of Literature, and Guillermo Trejo, Assistant Professor of Political Science) simply declare that revolution–event violent revolution–was ethical. And, I was able to hear a room of students agree without questioning.

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Why Church?

The ancients asked Who is God? And tried to answer the question by creating images they thought best representedFacebook him. The Bible explicitly forbid such images, partly because they cannot accurately depict who God is. A bull (Exo 32:4-5) might represent the power and authority of God, but it doesn’t represent the love (well, except maybe to Pasiphae), mercy, or grace of God. When we try to define God, we often do it too narrowly and leave it important aspects of God’s attributes.

Likewise, we dangerously define the Church too narrowly. The Church, being the Bride of Christ for whom He died, and the body of Christ of which He is the head, is united to Him and therefore one with Him. Where we tread dangerously in defining Christ, we tread dangerously in defining the Church.

A few weeks ago, First Thoughts pointed me to this blog post by Richard Beck at Experimental Theology called “How Facebook Killed the Church“. In it, Beck asks and answers the question:

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Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, Oh My!

As the video says, “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question IS how well we do it.”

Or, as the Borg would say, “Resistance is futile.”

To my friends who are unwilling to join the bandwagon, you are fighting a losing battle. You will not ride out the social media fad anymore than my parents were going to ride out the personal computer fad.

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#God Approves of #Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. (Ecc 5:2)
Twitter‘s 140 character limit helps us to speak in few words…
A fool multiplies words, though no man knows what is to be, and who can tell him what will be after him? (Ecc 10:14)
They are the realms of Facebook and Blogging that allow us to multiply our words. (And yes, I realize the irony of my blogging this!)
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