On the eChurch Blog:
Last month Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill lamented Orthodox bloggers publicly insulting each other, which I can only imagine must be an Orthodox phenomenon as it doesn’t happen in Catholic or Protestant Internet circles:
…that the diversity of ideas inherent in church circles sometimes assumes absurd forms in the Internet environment.
“In the web space groups of church liberals and conservatives are appearing that are not looking for the truth, divine truth but a means of finding fault, stinging each other. This is a very sad tendency,” he said at a diocesan assembly in Moscow ahead of New Year.
He said that divisions and feuds within the church “are evidence of infantility, childishness in faith which sometimes assumes ruffian forms.”
It would now seem the good Patriarch is advocating the strategy of sowing wheat among the web-tares:
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on Saturday lamented a high number of antichurch internet posts and said the Russian Orthodox Church he leads should be present in social networks to tell the truth to its audience.
“Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission” at a time when the Church comes under attacks more often than before, the patriarch said. “Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers.”
“Now that social media shows a huge interest, although not always a sound one, in church life, our duty is to convert it for a good cause, to create conditions for young people to know about Christ, know the truth about the life of people inside the Church,” Patriarch Kirill said.
“When a person makes a query on church life in an internet search engine, he finds a lot of lies, hypocrisy and hatred,” the patriarch said at a meeting of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Bishops Council in downtown Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
“These are the visible results of activity by the enemy of mankind,” he said.
This of course comes hot on the heals of the superb address given by the Pope on social media, which I think can be summed up as follows:
“Go into all the digital world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15 with slight modification)
Interesting in that the Patriarch and the Pope are of the greatest Christian spiritual leaders of our time, and they have seen and identified the potential of social media for the good; unlike others who would simply suppress and basically wish away social media in its various forms like the blogs. Perhaps it is time to elevate our thinking and realise the ‘new opportunities for the Christian mission’, and not simply sit around with our heads buried in some dusty old liturgical books. The cause of Christ and his Gospel must be furthered. There are souls to be saved. And the Church should be making good use of the opportunity for building platforms of social influence that extend well beyond the four walls of the Sunday experience.