140 Character Gospel

Quote from Shelly Miller in a Share the Hope Post / 2014

I read an article a while back that looked at inspirational quotes and how we have become so addicted to them. If you google ‘inspirational quotes’ you get over 55,000,000 matches. And we see them everywhere don’t we? My Twitter timeline is full of them, magazines use them as illustrations, coffee shops write them on chalk boards – in fact that is so on trend that you can get your own chalk board quote designed for you…  A few short words to make you feel better, to tell you you’re not on your own, or to help you feel part of something. Some are quotes from well known people, others are just feel-good phrases, and they are usually funked up with a nice photo stuck behind them too.

Inspirational quotes are everywhere.

Quote found here.

And I’m not anti them at all, I love them! I’ve put a few together myself, and in fact for a project I am involved in called ‘Share the Hope‘, we have used many to illustrate the posts and help spread the word about the project. But it’s not just inspirational quotes that litter our lives with soundbites, is it? it’s everything. I’ll admit the most news I get is through the BBC’s tweets, 140 character headlines and the occasional picture to explain it. Promotional emails have even cottoned on to this, so the subject tells you in one line all you need to know, and let’s face it, how many of us actually read promotional email theses days, even if we have signed up to them?

What’s it all about? Are we all really so busy that we don’t have time to actually watch the news, or read a book that inspires us? Even though many are busy I’m not sure that’s the answer, I think it’s got more to do with the fact that we are bombarded with information, all day every day. The communication revolution has taken over so much that we have to actively choose an escape if we want it, turn off our phone, leave Facebook alone for a while, for example. Our minds are assaulted by ideas and thoughts and images all day, so then if something’s going to stick, it’s got to grab us by the whatnots and grab them quickly. So, 140 characters? Perfect. A one line inspiration? Just what we need. We make snap decisions and that’s about all we can take.


So then I ask myself, what does all this mean for the church? We have a message to get across and I wonder, are we actually doing that in that in the age of the sound bite? Last week I had to put together a 60 second sermon. I thought it would be a sinch, but my first draft was 5 minutes long! I came away thinking what can you actually say in 60 seconds? but the more I think about it the more I think, maybe we should be doing more of this. If the rest of the world has cottoned on to the need for short snappy statements, has the church? In some ways yes and even the CofE has several Twitter accounts, but what about individual churches? What about us as Christians? Are we reaching people with the gospel in 140 characters? It’s a challenge where every word counts and I’m not sure we’ve even taken up the gauntlet yet…

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