Why I don’t follow Rick Warren

Thank you to the original author of this article Julia Kate Swodeck for giving us permission to use her post.

First off, I love and appreciate Rick Warren.  I have been to his church on several occasions, read The Purpose Driven Life, and even defended his choice of Hawaiian shirts & khakis, but when it comes to Twitter I just can’t bring myself to click the Follow button.  He is just one of the many christian influencers of our time that consistently unsocialize the social media.  “How’s that?” you say.  It’s quite simple actually…

according to Twitter, Twitter may be used for any number of purposes, but originally it was for the purpose of connection.

Twitter is a real-time information network,

powered by people all around the world

that lets you share and discover what’s happening now.

That’s why I enjoy twitter, for the sharing and the discovering.  I mean, how cool was it that the Kutcher’s took pics of themselves on their way to meet with Letterman and actually @ replied fans?  very cool.   That was just the beginning.  Since then, those that seemed so “special” and “distant” have become semi-normal & near.  Not so, for many in the Christian celebrity realm.  Heck, not so for even some Christian pseudo celebrities (local church leaders, staff members, bloggers, singers and musicians that are way too cool for Sunday school).  As usual, Christians are most skilled at the “one-sided” conversation.  We love to encourage our followers with scriptures, inspirational quotes, RTs of Rick Warren’s admonishments to pastors and lovely exaggerations of how AMAZING our churches are. [note: there are amazing churches, but it is impossible for there to be as many as we claim, for if there were, we would have a very different world.]  This behavior results in the following:

the #christianunsocialmedia where advice is plentiful, but humanity is sparse .

I don’t follow Rick Warren, but I get his tweets daily thanks to the Rick Warren Retweet Disciples. You know who you are… you’re those people that would love to tell your pastors how you really feel, but instead you let big daddy Rick say it, by way of retweet.  But does Rick ever RT your RT or @ reply your gratefulness of his wisdom?  He doesn’t.  I know he doesn’t because he set up his twitter to speak, not hear.  Rick’s tweets read like a page from a book and I’d rather just buy the book.  In case you weren’t aware, it’s for pastors to receive wisdom as he tweets it out.  Here is an actual tweet I pulled from his page:

Twitter can be a useful discipline for commuicators* communicators

if u use it to practice saying big ideas in brief ways. 2:11 PM Apr 17th via web

On the other hand, a week ago I purchased a book, Plan B, from Amazon.com and tweeted that I was looking forward to its arrival… the author, @pwilson (lead pastor @crosspoint_tv) direct messaged me & thanked me for buying his book.  He even wished me a great weekend.  When the book arrived I tweeted of its arrival and sure enough, @pwilson messaged me again “enjoy the book & the rain.”  I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be to manage tens of thousands of followers, but somehow @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher) seems to manage nearly 5,000,000 followers and still has the time to bring awareness to social causes, share wisdom, share twitpics, home videos, and even @ reply followers internationally.   Here’s the point… I am not so sure that it’s okay for us to be so busy that we can’t be normal and reachable, that we can’t discreetly reveal our humanity to those that have been kind enough to click the Follow button.  This is our chance as Christians to reveal our humanity to the masses.  After all, within the masses are skeptics, critics, wanderers, and seekers… the harvest is plenty tweeps.

So that’s that.  That’s why I don’t follow Rick Warren.  It’s nothing personal, I just don’t use twitter to be communicated at, but rather to communicate with.  Why do you use Twitter?  Are you tweeter and a listener?  Do you think @ replies and other interaction between followees & followers is beneficial?  What say you Tweeps?

go to www.titherofinnovation.com to see the comment discussion, including a kind and generous reply from Pete Wilson, author of Plan B, lead pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville.

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