I refuse to get a Twitter account. First; I find it difficult to even flatulate in less than 140 characters. And having been cursed by attending two of High School teacher John Strebig’s English classes, my stomach churns if I dare proffer opinions without substantiation. Finally, as consequence of a spiritual odyssey, which required the dotting of every i and crossing of every t, in order to navigate to safe harbours; I am inclined to want to stomp on the snake of every objection until the guts of each argument has been thoroughly expelled. Consequently, I am verbose. Why write an eight line poem, or even a two page executive summary when a twenty page dissertation will do?
However, Pastor John Piper provides the best reason to stay clear of Twitter when pontificating great nostrums of wisdom.
To quote from the Desiring God site:
Monday night, in the wake of the devastating tornado in Oklahoma, John Piper posted two tweets at 11:00pm (CST).
· @JohnPiper: “Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they are dead.” Job 1:19
· @JohnPiper: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.” Job 1:20
These tweets were taken down two days later with explanations you can look up for yourself.
My concern with tweeting has always been that with the limited ability to fully explain oneself in 140 characters, one is prone to make utterances that will be misconstrued; innocently or malevolently. However, it appears that Mr. Piper cannot restrain himself from framing every disastrous event into some moral or spiritual point. There might be some moral or spiritual point. However, although I am a continualist; I am pretty certain that I am not privy to every thought of the Sovereign God.
When that idiot from Virginia Beach ranted about the Haitian pact with devil after the Port-Au-Prince earthquake, in which that buffoon even got the details of the timeline wrong; this quickly came to mind.
There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said to them, Suppose you that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think you that they were sinners above all men that dwelled in Jerusalem? I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.(Luke 13:1-5)
Because of the genesis of sin in the cosmos, a tempest of disastrous consequences has ensued. And like Jonathan Edwards expressed in his infamous sermon; our human condition is consequently as one exposed to sudden destruction and dangling over the pit of hell. We are kept from immediate justice but by the forbearance and long-suffering of God.
However, unless one prophecies ahead of a disaster, the credibility of mapping a particular event as a particular punishment for a particular sin or sinner strains credulity. Post facto predictions are an oxymoron.
Evil occurs even to the ‘righteous’ for reasons too varied to explicate in a Tweet. Therefore, if a theologian feels a narcissistic compulsion to make a point in the aftermath of a disaster, take many a cold shower. Such pontifications are grating to the hurting recipients. As it is the ‘victim’, who is primarily hurting, his/her first priority is not likely to be to care how a theologian is particularly feeling.
Having been one who has suffered immensely over my life, this I can advise to those who seek to give counsel in times of grief.
a) Do not offer solicit counsel until it is asked for.
b) If it is asked for, solicit it in private.
c) If you solicit counsel, deposit your doctrinal headgear at the coat check and speak from the heart.
d) Better yet, sit in the ashes with the person who is suffering and SHUT THE HELL UP.