#thedeathofpound

Some tweets make me want to cry.
Some tweets make me want to cry.
A friend of mine who is a math teacher says she was teaching symbols in her class.  She would draw it on the board and her kids would yell out the name.

So she drew “#.”

And her kids yelled “hashtag!”

Hashtag.  Of course # is a hashtag. Ten years ago, it was a pound sign, but to a ten year old, # isahashtag.

And while #isahashtag everything else #hasahashtag.

A parade #hasahashtag.  A church #hasahashtag.  A feeling #hasahashtag.  Life #hasahashtag.

Shoot,  I find myself often listening to an intelligent news commentator dressed in a $9000 suit sitting in front of three fancy cameras reading to me what Joe Smith tweeted from Wichita, Kansas.  #iranoutofthingsofmyowntosay

Did it occur to them that if I wanted to read what ignorant people have to say I would be on Twitter instead of watching Fox News?  #whyaretheypayingyou?

Whether or not I am a fan, I’m having to face the fact that Twitter is here to stay.  Or at least as much here to stay as any element of technology in our changing world.

And maybe Twitter does bring some good things to our world.  It levels the playing field.  Anyone can be heard.  In 144 characters or less.  If they have the right hashtag.  Sorry, I meant, #iftheyhavetherighthashtag

Or maybe it doesn’t level the playing field at all.  It isn’t about your money.  It isn’t about your education.  It isn’t about your looks.  But it is about your followers.  #otherignorantpeople

I might not know about the power of twitter if it wasn’t for my friend @debostic. 

But I do.

For example, Delta airlines (who may account for more of our business credit card bill than any other vendor) has little respect for our financial contributions to their quarterlies.  Between business, ministry, and personal travel, you’d think they’d at least stop showing me how to buckle my seat belt.  But not only do they have no respect, they have no inclination toward flexibility.  When you want to change a ticket, you are just a tiny speck of sand on the Delta airlines beach.  They will charge you hundreds of dollars more than you already paid to get on the same plane and eat the same pack of pretzels a few hours later than you previously planned.

So, Daniel tweeted about them.

And the next thing we know, Delta is bending over backwards to change tickets.  New flights were being scheduled.  Open seats were appearing.  And Delta was giving out frequent flyer miles like they were a hot potato.

So, apparently, while #Moneytalks, frankly, #Twittertalkslouder.

Then there was State Farm.

We are lawyers.  We were suing them.  We were dragging them into court on behalf of a compelling plaintiff in front of a jury of people who know well why we call it “Snake Farm.”  And they seemed to be treating it like the briar patch.

But a few good tweets and State Farm was ringing our phones.  They couldn’t write a check fast enough.

#alotcheaperthanalawdegree

And that’s just the beginning.  Companies like Toyota and Enterprise have a lot of concern for their social media reputation. More, in fact, than the actual implications of their actions, their repeat customers, or the signature on the bottom of a legal document.

#bigfail

Apparently, even though it is no longer a pound sign, # gives weight to words in a powerful way.

And in the end, nothing has really changed except that instead of the pen being mightier than the sword, it is now the pound that is mightier than the sword.

That is, the hashtag.

33 Under 33

“Meet the millennials. They are 33 and younger. They are all on Twitter. And they are bringing innovation to the wide-ranging work of the kingdom. Behold, they are doing a new thing.”

The cover story of Christianity Today features 33 young people that it claimed have “picked up the baton” and are leading today’s church. It is a diverse group in every respect. There are singers, bloggers, theologians, advisors, teachers, and you name it all else. One has prayed with President Obama; one was elected as a state representative while a teenager.

My name was not among them. I guess because I am not on Twitter.

But there was a name and picture that I recognized. In fact, I remember her as a skinny junior higher preaching to sparse classroom on national policy she didn’t know much about. We were both involved in the same home school debate league in California many eons ago. Long before Twitter.

Her oldest brother and his debate partner handily delivered to me and my debate partner our first loss and would later go on to win the national championship in Washington D.C; beating out her next older brother and his partner in the final round. And so it was, that she apparently had a whip-cracking mom and came from a good gene pool.   Shoot, they probably invented Twitter.

Anyway, in the years that have gone by since then, she has matured into a gorgeous woman who is a mover and a shaker in the pro-Life movement, sometimes posing as an underage unwed mother and consequently exposing some of the evils of Planned Parenthood. You should follow her on Twitter.

I read each story with interest. The article intimated the world has changed and young people are uniquely suited to effectively seize opportunities the changes have created. “The Millennials.”

There was a comment on the online version that was something to the affect of… “Where is the article about 60 over 60? What about those of us who have been faithful longer…” At first, it seemed like sour grapes to me. But maybe he was right to encourage a balanced perspective. It isn’t all about youth and technology. Any anyway, perhaps it is premature to call a 17-year old state rep a “church leader.”

Now, entering my “Jesus year” as the article called the ripe old age of 33, I’m just old enough to remember life before computers and cell phones. When we got our first computer, it was a big event. And our first computer game was a “P” maneuvering the black screen obstacle course of = [ and – with increasing speed. You had to not only navigate with the up and down arrows, but also periodically hit the space bar to jump over a moving 0 that threatened to snuff out the life of “P.” Not X-Box exactly, but it could probably hold its own against Angry Birds.

When I was a teenager, my family had one e-mail address. When Erin went to college, Dad got her a purse-filling cell phone brick because of her commute. There was no reception along much of the commute. And there was no such thing as Twitter.

On the other hand, I’m just young enough to have sort of “grown up” with Microsoft—typing my book reports into Word, designing newsletters in Publisher, and creating spreadsheets in Excel. I transitioned from DOS to Windows like a duck to water and loved doing research on the internet instead of the tedious card catalogs at the library (even if you did have to put up with the screeching noise of a computer connected to the World Wide Web). I was considered fairly computer literate. Until Twitter, I guess.

As an aside, sometimes people do still ask me for tech help. I was babysitting a few months back a four-old brought me his ipad that he was watching a movie on. Thrusting it into my hands, he said, “How do I get it in HD?” Hey, at least he didn’t ask me why I wasn’t on Twitter.

Being roughly the same age as this impressive lineup of Christian leaders made me ask myself a lot of questions. What did they do that thrust them into the forefront? Am I doing everything I could be and should be doing for the kingdom? Is it just God’s sovereignty that some of us will be considered leaders while some of us will pass through our lives on this planet earnestly but quietly? Is it possible to be salt and light in such a way that our names aren’t known and our faces aren’t seen, but God is pleased nonetheless? Will these people stay faithful? What will this list look like in 30 years? And, of course, why am I not on Twitter?

As I have pondered this feature many times, I have found myself both grateful for and challenged by these examples. And for every one that was featured, there are thousands of others that have not “bowed the knee to Baal.” Simple people navigating through the hurts of a broken and sick world still singing the praises of our Savior. Moms raising another generation of warriors. Dads holding down the fort and perhaps sometimes, drawing a line in the sand and saying “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

And God, in His sovereignty will pick some of those faithful followers and give them audiences before kings; have them face giants; or put them in high places. A Lila Rose will take on a Planned Parenthood. Amazing.

Meet the millennials. They are all under 33. They are all bringing innovation to the wide-ranging work of the kingdom. They are all still under construction. They all still need the wisdom of mature Christians who were around before the age of technology and who can see past “diverse opportunities” to cling to absolute truths and faithful obedience.

And they are not all on Twitter.