Hi all, as promised, here is the rebuttal that I sent to the editor of the Methodist Message regarding Dr Goh’s article. (See below for The Editor’s reply).
Disclaimer: I cannot stress this enough: I agree that Twitter can be a distraction, just as talking, or sms-ing during worship can be distractions. My main objections with the article were the arguments he used to substantiate his point.
So here are Dr Goh’s arguments, and my subsequent rebuttal:
1) Moods and feelings have no part in worship, and Twitter is all about your own feelings and emotions.
We are commanded to worship God with our emotions – "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind" (Luke 10:27).
When David dances with joy in his linen in 2 Samuel 6, or when Isaiah feels guilt at having seen the living God in Isaiah 6, are their personal emotions not a
valid essential component of their worship? They are both means by which David and Isaiah express their response to the Glory of God.
2) Twitter is about the self, and that is not right in corporate worship.
This is a gross misunderstanding of Twitter. Twitter is merely a tool. You can use it to draw attention to yourself, or you can use it to draw attention to God.
Using this same argument, would not preaching from a stage or a pulpit be said to be drawing attention to the preacher, and not to God? Should we abolish it from our worship services? Surely not!
3) It is distracting and disrespectful to God.
Only if you let it be. If you use if for personal communication e.g. “hey guys where shall we go for lunch later?”, yes, it is distracting.
Twitter is a tool. The result is not a reflection of the condition of the tool – it is a reflection of the condition of the heart of the user.
4) It fails the condition of worship being inclusive because some people can’t or don’t know how to use Twitter.
I can’t believe he actually used this as an argument. Shall we exclude dumb people who cannot sing hymns? Shall we exclude the lame because they cannot stand? Or the blind because they cannot read our liturgy? Enough said.
5) Worship is not virtual, it is physical – we should be present in worship.
Twittering about the sermon may actually increase my levels of engagement with the worship service. Just as taking notes helps one to remember the applicable points of the pastor’s sermon, Twittering forces you to listen, process, and reproduce what the preacher is saying.
It really depends on how you use Twitter.
6) God does not have a Twitter account.
*Slaps head*. Do I really have to explain this one?
There are ways in which Twitter can be creatively used in church. Dr Goh has simply dismissed Twitter without examining the ways in which Churches can and are creatively using Twitter to engage youth during a service.
As mentioned, the editor, Mr Peter Teo, did reply and thanked me “for my views”. He also asked me to write a 500 word article supporting the use of Twitter in church/worship.
I will publish that 500 word article in my next blog post, so stay tuned!
What do you think of Dr Goh’s arguments? Leave a comment.