Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What Would Jesus Post? (Book Review)

"With great power comes great responsibility." ... And make no mistake:  social media gives us great power indeed.

We're all online, so what responsibility do we have as Christians?  This is the question addressed by author Brian D. Wassom in What Would Jesus Post?  I received a free-to-me e-book in order to review this title.

Wassom breaks down his thoughts into seven principles:
  1. Think before you post
  2. To your own self be true
  3. Guard your heart
  4. Don't miss the forest for the trees
  5. Don't be a stumbling block
  6. Be a peacemaker
  7. Build genuine community
Of course you'll have to read the book to see how he expounds on these principles.

Here are some of the ideas that I found interesting enough to highlight.  Parts in [brackets] are my own notes.
  • "If you're not paying for it, then you're not the customer--you're the product."  Social media companies make money by gathering, and selling access to, as much information about us as possible.
  • We may be drawn to think and behave in a certain way online that we would have never done anywhere else.  But if we nurture that second life to the point that it becomes what we truly desire, the role becomes our true self, both inside and out.  [That is, if we allow ourselves to get carried away with our online lives, we risk compromising our real lives.]
  • Social media magnifies the temptation to covet ... by showing us the things and relationships possessed by hundreds, if not thousands, of people on a daily basis.
  • [Some sites may cause us direct spiritual harm.]  But in many cases, the indirect effect of distraction is just as consequential.  By constantly providing new streams of data tailored to our personal interests and inclinations, social media can become an enormous time-suck, distracting us from more meaningful activity and effectively putting our souls to sleep.
  • Is love evident in what we're saying online?  And if it isn't, what are we accomplishing for God's kingdom?
That one about distraction really hit home for me!

What Would Jesus Post? is a short book:  I read it in two sittings.  While some of the points are common sense, quite a few were worded in thought-provoking ways or are things that I'd never really thought about.  I appreciated the reminder that we are ambassadors for Christ, and people are watching everything we do through that lens.

For more information, including a Google preview, an author bio, and purchasing information, visit the WestBow Press Product Page.

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