“I need to take a break from Facebook so I can spend time with the Lord.” Generally, whenever faith and social media are linked together with the people I am friends with online, technology is often getting in the way of our relationship with God. I think there’s a fundamental shift in the way we view social media that can help it become a benefit to our faith, rather than something that gets in the way.
For most people, social media is something we consume. We open the app and look at pictures, comment on statuses, and update our own. We become a part of the “sharing economy”, but rarely do we create our own content. Most often we are just interacting with and passing on something created by others.
This attitude is most easily seen during Lent, when people go on a “social media fast”. Typically people fast from things they consume: chocolate, coffee, etc. When we view social media the same way, it makes total sense that it would interfere with our relationship with God.
But what if we began to view Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks as places for us to create? Through that lens the conversation is changed. Now, instead of taking us away from time with God, social media becomes a place for us to express what God is doing in our lives?
Scribo Divina – Sketching Lectio Divina
This summer I was coming off a particularly difficult time in life and my relationship with God. There were painful emotions deep down in my gut that I was having trouble expressing, to myself, to others, and to the Lord. The church we’ve been attending for the past year if full of creatives, and I have seen how art has evoked emotion in a unique way. I wanted to find a way to incorporate more art and creativity in my times with God.
Scribo Divina is the result. The idea is simple: read a passage of Scripture how you would while going through Lectio Divina. But, instead of writing down what you feel like God is saying to you through the passage, draw it. I started in the Psalms and have been amazed at the way emotion has jumped off the page at me. So many times the Psalmist is expressing similar emotions to what I have been sharing.
Scribo Divina is not inherently social. You can do it in your journal or any piece of paper. But what I started to do was upload my drawings to a tumblr site and post them to twitter. It’s been great. People have commented on the passages (despite my lack of artistic ability) and shared them with others. It has helped for my time in the Psalms to be more communal than it would have been otherwise.
Two of my friends started a great trend this summer on twitter that they’re calling Lectio Tweeto. The idea is to read through a passage of Scripture and then post a summary, question, or lesson learned to twitter. This is genius in a variety of ways.
— Steve Tamayo (@yostevetamayo) September 19, 2013
— Matt Peavyhouse (@mpeavyhouse) June 16, 2013
Summarizing what you’ve read, whether you share it on social media or not, is a fantastic way to help you remember and meditate on the passage. Then, sharing the thought on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lectiotweeto allows others to be influenced by the passage. Friends may read it while scanning their timeline and may even be prompted to respond. The idea is simple, anyone can do it. As a result, it can increase engagement with friends over spiritual topic and help to communalize what for Americans can be an overly individualistic faith.
What about you?
Social media doesn’t have to be something we passively consume. We can be creators, even on the small scale of 140 characters at a time. How might social media begin to enhance your time with God?
- Could you get together with a group of friends and do #lectiotweeto through a book of the Bible?
- What if at your next small group you did Scribo Divina and had everyone post their drawings to Instagram?
- What new creative idea could you come up with to link social media and personal spiritual disciplines?
Photo credit: Jason Howie