In 1987 a large star exploded in a nearby galaxy. If that would’ve been our sun, it would’ve radically altered a couple trillion mile radius of our local neighborhood in space. In a cosmic twinkling of an eye, we would’ve been smoothly blended into the white radiation of the event, we and everything we’ve ever been. No matter how powerful our nations, how magnificent our cathedrals, the sum total of our dreams and communities would be defined by a sea of featureless photons spreading out and merging with our stellar cousins. The ultimate erasure, the ultimate obliteration. Not quite.
Fortunately we left a legacy. Ever since Reginald Fessenden sang “Oh Holy Night” to a couple of ships owned by the United Fruit Company, we’ve been etching our thoughts, aspirations and motives into the silent night. And it’s safe. Not all pretty (didn’t say that), but safe.
Most of us are numb to how fast we moved into this space. Consider, if after the Israelites spent about two thirds of their captivity in Egypt, one of their more technically inclined guys would’ve figured out how to warn the guys baking the bricks that another whip was on its way, and then when they crossed the Red Sea, millions of Hebrew kids would’ve been drying their hands and sliding their thumbs across smooth, thin bricks of glass tweeting various ROFLs with creative hashtags, #mosesdman or #baptizedwhip.
Doing the bible reading time you promised your pastor, you would read this as a blink of biblical time. Well, that’s really what’s happened in the last dozen decades or so. We went from sending simple dot’s and dashes, warning troops of canons, to telling our cosmic neighbors how much we loved the Beatles. But in the last decade things went into a new space. No longer is each broadcast prepared in a studio by the pros. Now everyone with a heartbeat bleeds their gut (great uttered thought) right into this new matrix of human emissions. This data is safely traveling away from our star at the speed of light, and will continue till the end of time.
From us (the radio source) it sort of makes sense. We know good and evil and can sort through the matrix and pick out who’s who and what their morals are. But here’s a questions for us Christians: if an alien ship would be approaching our solar system and the captain assigned one of his top level analysts to study this matrix and figure out who we were, what would the analyst conclude after one hour of listening?
One thing’s sure, the analyst would sooner or later come across Christians’ own analysis of this matrix and whether or not, or how, disciples should be tweeting their impulses into it. This part of the conversation is rich with with everything from abstinence to #tweetmejesus. Let me suggest a simple guideline for Christians. One that would be fairly obvious to the analyst on that spaceship (at least if he knew about the Nazarene’s promise).
Jesus, looking across time, gave us a universal promise. “His followers would be known by the fact that they love one another.” Whether we are scratching our mood on the walls of our ancestral caves or hashtagging our way around cyberspace, Christians can be known by the fact that they emit love. How about that! I think it tidies up the Christian section of the matrix. Doesn’t it?
This is where an annual ceremony at the South Pole inspires me. The South Pole is technically one of two places where the Earth’s surface intersects with the planet’s spin axis. Scientist have built a dome about two miles above the surface of the land or more precisely about 9,000 feet above ground. That’s as high up in the air as they’ve ever built anything, unless of course you throw in the space station or the tower of Babel. Anyway, in case your’e wondering why you never heard of anything being built that high, it’s because you’re not thinking about the foundation of things. That’s common in blogosphere. Here’s the deal, there’s a large pile of packed snow almost two miles high at the South Pole. This dome is built on top of that. (It would cost too much to build it on ground level)
But we have a problem, this continent size piece of packed snow moves about ten meters per year. To keep this dome sitting precisely on top of the spot the world turns on, they perform an annual ceremony moving the dome ten meters, keeping this structure at a precise location, in spite of an entire continent drifting beneath it.
Ten years ago Facebook and Twitter were merely spooky stories our parents warned us about. Today they seem to be a solid part of the continent. But it’s only packed snow and it drifts. Tomorrow Facebook will be replaced by gal.com (get a life) and the Tweeting birds will hatch different buzzards, but one thing won’t change. True followers will constantly recenter their dome on the one thing that doesn’t drift: the Love Of Christ, on which the world turns.
So next time you get in a conversation about social media and Christians, keep it simple and on the pole, whether you carve it on the rock or push it on glass, keep your emissions centered on the love of Christ and your story will match those laid on clay and parchment of long lost tongues, who also felt compelled to share the love.