Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Twitter, the Media, and Third Use of the Law

A friend and former colleague/pastor of mine, Randy Greenwald of Covenant Presbyterian in Orlando sent me a fascinating article from the Orlando Sentinel about athletes and twittering. This article, which is well worth reading, came out just after Jay Cutler seriously injured, or slightly injured (depending upon whether you believe athlete or media) his knee in the NFC Championship game against the Packers. 

I never really cared for the writer Mike Bianci on sports talk because he always blasted the Bucs, who were quite easy to blast after winning the Super Bowl my first year in seminary but went down the drain my final two years. 

But his take on twittering and media is spot on. Here it is. For a number of years, athletes thought they needed protection from the media. It was the media, they figured, who would turn people against them, who would make them look evil or dumb. But in reality it was the media protecting them from themselves. Now their every typo, their every cuss word, their every stupid and immediate thought goes public. Sometimes these athletes don't even have the facts straight about themselves.

Jones-Drew later tweeted later: "All I'm saying is that he (Cutler) can finish the game on a hurt knee … I played the whole season on one." Talk about not getting your facts straight. Actually, Jones-Drew missed the final two games of the season — two very important games when the Jags were fighting for a playoff berth — with a knee injury.

They've now actually lost the protection of media who really did make them look smarter and more decent than many actually were. Bianci writes

Now athletes on iPhones are sending out tweets without the common sense to edit themselves. Fuelled by their massive egos, they have become addicted to instantaneously dispersing their every thought — no matter how inane or profane — on Twitter. The real and responsible media would never even consider snapping a cell phone picture of a naked player in the locker room and transmitting it into cyberspace.

One way of looking at God's commands is to look at them in the way that athletes view the media: as something which suppresses, not which guides and directs and helps protect us from ourselves. We often forget that God knows us better than ourselves (even beyond just knowing facts about us like the media) and His law can do more than just reveal our sin and drive us to Christ. It is also there to protect us from ourselves, our own stupidity, rash impulsiveness, and desire to immediately self promote. Provided that God's law has driven you to Jesus, and you rest in the gospel, God's commands do serve as a helpful guide for moral living. Through the power of the Spirit, the law can be something which protects you from saying or doing things which you will soon regret. 

Of course you will still fail. So it's necessary to remember that the Christian is justified not by his/her performance of the law but by Jesus' performance of the law. So the law, provided you don't trust in your performance, can and should be something helpful for the Christian.

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