Dustin Messer on What Would Jesus Tweet?

Twitter calls for proposals from people who want to help build a healthier public atmosphere. | Reuters/Kacper Pempel

If you’re involved in online discussions that touch on religion or politics, you’ve encountered a persona that’s remarkably similar to a shock-jock DJ: belligerent, crass, sarcastic — all in the name of “Truth” with an emphatically capital T. In “owning the libs,” they see themselves as making the world better place, one hastily fired-off tweet at a time.

In Christian circles, these are the young men who mockingly call those believers who emphasize grace and humility “the tone police,” claiming those people are unable to say hard things because it’d be “off brand.” Truth be told, they have a point.

There is another online persona you’re bound to come across. Their opinion is never firm; their words are always equivocal. If the first persona adopts the voice of a shock-jock, this persona is ripped from the airways of NPR. They’re quick to apply their faith when it puts them in line with the progressive zeitgeist, but the moment that same faith puts them on the uncool side of the culture war, they demur.

Always at odds online, these two personas may seem to be opposites, but in fact they’re cut from the same cloth — two sides of the same coin. Both, prioritize image over message. Both allow tone to ride roughshod over content. Perhaps one tone can’t give voice to Mat 5:30 (dealing with hell), but the other can’t handle Mat 5:5 (dealing with meekness)?

The root of their problem is that these twinned personas assume gentleness and biblical fidelity are mutually exclusive options. In reality, kindness need not be sacrificed for boldness, nor boldness for kindness. While such a false dichotomy is found in spades today, Christians in the past have modeled another way, a better way.

Indeed, you can’t read the Puritans without being struck by how many preachers of old explicitly connected the dots between (1) faith, (2) kindness, and (3) the common good. They weren’t soft and they weren’t kowtowing, they just really believed the Bible was God’s word and wanted to live it out.

The preaching of British Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs is a good example:

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Dustin Messer