For some time the subject of “being an online Christian” has been attracting me. This might be because I have started writing regular digi-disciple posts for the Big Bible project or it may be that I just find it interesting. Even though I’ve used the phrase to open this post I’m not sure I agree with the ideas that online and offline are different worlds. Yes we interact differently when online but I do that when I am the bus from when I am at home. I see no difference and certainly do not want to further any idea that “online” differs from what some people refer to as “real life”.
Further I think there are lessons to be learned from how we interact online, where we are restricted by the medium because we are restricted from using all our senses during a conversation. Online interactions can – if we let – them – remind us of the need to pause before responding, not jump to conclusions and consider how our reponses may be received (even if that is not what we intended).
By sheer coincidence I recently finished a book I first picked up about five years ago but had managed to not read until now. The book is called “Before I close my eyes” and lists a genuine eMail conversation which took place in Denmark in 2002/2003. The conversation stemmed from when Stine asked her (Christian) friend Mikael the following question at the end of an eMail:
“If you could explain to me the meaning of life before I close my eyes tonight, I would be content.”
How would you respond to that in the wee hours? Here’s an extract from a review I recently added on Goodreads:
The book is primarily a perfect example of how Christians should communicate with enquiring non-Christians. It’s easy to read and well presented but it is a real problem trying to put it down! I’ve read books presented in eMail conversation format before but this one is different because you get a real affinity with both the contributors and you start to read into what they are saying and the journey they are both taking.
What you end up with is feeling privileged to have accompanied them on those journeys. If you are interested in the topic of “being a Christian online” (define those terms how you will) or just in “living your faith” then I highly recommend reading this book.