Archbishop Justin Welby–On tweeting and touching

Tone is equally difficult to achieve; electronic media has no volume control. The US President Teddy Roosevelt spoke of speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Electronic media speaks loudly and carries a big stick ”“ through it we have no other means of speaking, especially in the compressed form that is often used.

For disputes within church communities, Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel makes it quite clear that personal interaction is essential ”“ yet all of us feel that when someone has done something wrong, we should all say so! Electronic media breaks through locked doors, and pierces people painfully. It is not for all of us to set everyone right on everything. There’s a point at which we need to leave it to those who know people to speak to them personally and quietly ”“ in spaces where the tone is subtle and full of love. That is how people can be put back together rather than torn apart and left lying around in electronic media space.

Love often says don’t tweet. Love often says don’t write. Love often says if you must rebuke, then do so in person and with touch ”“ with an arm around the shoulder and tears in your eyes that can be seen by the person being rebuked.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

4 comments on “Archbishop Justin Welby–On tweeting and touching

  1. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    [blockquote]with an arm around the shoulder and tears in your eyes that can be seen by the person being rebuked[/blockquote]
    Yuk. The last thing I would want is someone like Archbishop Welby pawing and drooling all over me like a wet spaniel.

  2. Sarah1 says:

    His comments beg the question of whether the personal interaction has taken place — and of course they have.

    The social media *response* to the realities of those personal interactions are the things that Welby doesn’t like — and I can certainly see why. Actions have consequences — and the gross heresy of TEC and Canada, along with the lack of ecclesial discipline for that gross heresy, means consequences for us all, including the communication of the responses via social media.


  3. MichaelA says:

    [blockquote] “The trouble is that subtleties, tone and access all get muddled up.” [/blockquote]
    Ah, but so do they also in direct communication, dear ABC. I have seen many cases where particular habits of interaction lead to people quarrelling bitterly face-to-face, whereas when they write to each other (letters or email) they manage to avoid the quarrels and stick to the real issues.

    Internet communication is no better or worse than any other, and there are even times when it is more effective than direct conversation.
    [blockquote] “But the best examples of disagreement and strain are dealt with personally. The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 18, sets out the pattern.” [/blockquote]
    Actually the New Testament also contains plenty of examples of dealing effectively with disagreement via written communication. Take Paul’s letter to Philemon for example.
    [blockquote] “Tone is equally difficult to achieve; electronic media has no volume control.” [/blockquote]
    And tone can sometimes have a negative effect on communication. It is rather concerning that the ABC doesn’t appear to understand this.
    [blockquote] “Love often says don’t write.” [/blockquote]
    Too bad nobody told this to the apostles Paul and John, nor the leaders of the Church at Jerusalem. And the self-interest of the Archbishop of Canterbury wanting to limit internet discussion of his own actions is rather obvious.

  4. Jill Woodliff says:

    The personal interactions include facilitated (manipulated) conversations and slates of candidates of which none represent the conservative voice. Another phenomenon is for a staged meeting for input on a bishop candidate to be held, but none of the requests made are honored. In the interpersonal realm, the conservatives feel as if their voices are marginalized. I do believe that is why they have gravitated to the Internet.
    It has been my observation that only rarely will a progressive engage in a debate with a conservative on the Internet, at least in the Anglican blogosphere. I don’t think the progressives want to hear another point of view. They are very certain that they are right. They control the levers of power. Why risk discussing another point of view?
    Much has been posted in the Anglican blogosphere in addition to discussion of church politics–Bible studies, resources, prayers, musical selections, theological reflections, poetry.