The Unwritten Rules of Talking About Your Faith Online

by Paul on July 30, 2008

I’m starting to get an idea of how and where I can talk about Jesus online. I nudge the boundaries and note when and how people respond. Sometimes they accept what I’m talking about. Sometimes they push back. Here are just a few random observations.

Twitter and Plurk are great places to meet non-Christians online. Meeting new people is in the DNA of the medium, so people are very open.

As you know, I actively pray for Christians and non-Christians on Twitter and Plurk. I start by searching for people who ask for prayer. I always send them a Twitter or Plurk when I pray for them. I’ve never had a negative response to this approach. People don’t respond, or they welcome the prayer.

As my network expands, I pray for people when they face all kinds of challenges – whether they ask for it or not. I’ve never had a bad response. An Atheist even thanked me for the sentiment even though they didn’t believe in God!

When I tried to be more overtly spiritual on Twitter and Plurk, I got some push back. I once twittered, “Learned something new about God today.” A UK-based Twitter accused me of being cliche. A more overtly spiritual approach was either ignored by non-Christian members of my network or ill received.

I re-tooled my blog so that it would be spiritual without being in-your-face and dominated by Christianese. I’ve had excellent response. People say that it’s helping them through some things and is a good encouragement.

Interestingly enough, I can promote my blog on Twitter, Plurk, and Facebook without any push back from non-Christians. I know they are reading it, but they aren’t negative and they are talking with me like they always do.

Conclusions (so far): It is ok to pray for strangers in need via Twitter and Plurk. It is even acceptable to pray for members of your extended network. Twitter and Plurk are not the place for overt and uninvited attempts to start spiritual conversations. A blog, however, is the place to begin spiritual conversations if they are weaved into stories about life. You can use Twitter, Plurk, and Facebook to promote a spiritual blog without push back. If you are going to be spiritual, you have to weave it into conversations about life. You have to show how you live what you believe before you talk about what you believe.

Is this anything like your experiences with the Online Generation? What are some of your observations?

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