In Search of Graceful Communication

As we all know, the Internet is a hungry beast that feeds on information. Therefore, something that was posted, say, at the end of 2008, has now been buried under an avalanche of newer content. One of the things I like to do at this blog is “resurrect” older content that still speaks to us today.

With this in mind I remembered an excellent editorial from Don Carson in the December 2008 issue of Themelios. In it he argues that, given our technological age, Christians are facing unprecedented challenges in their efforts to “not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). As Carson notes, at the dawn of the twenty-first century there are a whole host of challenges that “never faced Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Turretin.” And one of these challenges is the Internet. Specifically, Carson considers the speed of the Internet:

The speed of the Internet is stunning. A few years ago I was attending a meeting of pastors, most of us with our laptops out taking notes during the complex discussions, when the chap next to me turned his screen to me and invited me to read what was there. About fifteen minutes earlier he had said something to the group. What he had said was summarized and sent by another member of the group to his associate back home. The associate blogged the information, and that blog was picked up by an RSS feed that brought the information to the blog of one of the assistants of the chap beside me. That assistant emailed his boss, and there was the question on the screen: “Did you really say that?” Amusing, even fun — but such speed is encouraging us to bash out responses before we’ve heard another side, before we’ve had time to evaluate, before we’ve pondered whether or not it is wise and godly to respond at all, before we’ve cooled down and been careful in our choice of words. When you set out to write a book, a good editor fosters such virtues, but most blogs pass through the hands of no editors, and graceful communication is not thereby enhanced.

Please do read the whole editorial. And let us redouble our efforts in the New Year to advance “graceful communication” at Immanuel. For I am convinced that even with an Internet that shows no signs of slowing down (indeed, it is speeding up), graceful communication can still happen — and must. It is a gospel issue.

***

“Let your speech always be gracious . . .”  -Colossians 4:6

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  -Colossians 3:17

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