Bri Johns – Student Pastor & Director of Student Programming
I’m from the generation of kids who grew up without technology, rode bikes everywhere, and drank from the hose. But I’m also of the generation of teens who were introduced to social media in its first years. There’s a pretty cool article out there about it. You can check it out here.
I am a big fan of social media. It’s a way for me to connect with my out-of-state family by sharing pictures. It’s become a tool to get to know new friends better. I love seeing and hearing about what people are up to. But if I’m really being honest, there is one big pet peeve I have about living on the world wide web. It’s an article that starts with the same title every time, but ends with a different subject: “An Open Letter to…”
Sometimes these letters are positive and inspiring, sending off thanks to their favorite celebrity, or illustrating a perspective that is often overlooked, but more than not these letters are a passive aggressive attack on someone or something a person is against.
An Open Letter to… Barack Obama
An Open Letter to… Moms who breastfeed in public
An Open Letter to… “Caitlyn” Jenner
An Open Letter to… The girl who cheated with my boyfriend
An Open Letter to… The guy who wouldn’t stop talking in the seat in front of me at the movie theater
An Open Letter to… is a way to indirectly insult, “school someone,” or confront a specific topic or human being without consequence or accountability. Someone will write a letter like this and post it to the web slinging off negative thoughts, opinions, and feelings with no desire to face the reaction of the individual or subject that’s being attacked. It’s a grenade thrown to sting and vent, but also to collect allies and fans.
I’m watching this generation of writers become complainers, victims, bullies, anti-bullies all for the sake of venting. And they’re getting a lot of attention for it.
“Brothers and sisters this should not be!” (James 3:10)
Let me back up a bit…
“With the tongue (or type, emphasis mine) we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10)
Basically I’m writing an Open Letter (the irony of which is not lost on me) and pleading with this generation of Christian social media users – Please don’t participate in this kind of stuff, whether as a writer or a “liker.” It’s arrogant, self-righteous, and makes us line-drawers.
“…in humility value others above yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3b)
“By this everyone will know that you’re my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
Let’s be radically different as we evolve into a generation that is social media driven. That part doesn’t look like it’s going to change. Let’s be people with humility, love, and respect for all. Then maybe people will get to see this type of letter…
“You show that you are a letter from Christ… written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:3)