I was talking to a friend a while back and brought up the Titan, the submarine that tragically imploded, when I realised that they had no idea what I was talking about. I couldn't believe it – it was all over the internet for days – how had they managed to avoid it?

They explained that they no longer read the news, and they’re off social media. I have several people around me, non-Christians and Christians alike, who are tapping out of the news cycle, finding it too depressing, too overwhelming. Some note they were sick of compassion fatigue, reading about tragedies and feeling nothing. It made them feel less human.

The conversation made me think, did I need to know about the submarine? While following the story, had I prayerfully engaged with it, thinking of the family who were grieving? I admit, the answer to that second question was no. So, maybe the best thing is to retreat and avoid newsfeeds altogether. But I’m interested, is there a way for Christians to engage, to be aware of the reality of life across the world, not just in our locality, and still remain hopeful?

What would Jesus do if He had a smart phone? 


There is an intentionality in the life of Jesus that provides a helpful guideline as to how we might engage with the online crowds. Throughout the life of Jesus, we see Him spend time with crowds, with small groups of friends and alone. We don’t know for certain how Jesus would engage with modern technology, but I imagine it would involve patterns of engagement and retreat. Maybe the answer isn’t to delete it all forever but intentional rhythms which will include times of digital abstinence. Jesus shows us it’s healthy to have times away from the swirl of opinions and debates, and to sit before the Father, but that there are times to engage with the crowd too. 

In a world saturated with bad, we have an opportunity to tell good news stories.

A friend reflected recently that she had been feeling weighed down by the state of the world, but then she went to church, saw people baptised, and heard stories of how God had saved and transformed lives, and hope and joy bubbled up within her. We are a storytelling people, our lives are marked by stories, so if the only stories we’re hearing are bad news, that will shape our hearts and lives. As Christians, we get to share good news stories with each other, speaking of the small and ordinary as well as the miraculous things that God is doing across the world. 

"Through intentional rhythms of engagement and abstinence, we can enter news stories and think about them ‘Christianly’."

This week, in a staff prayer meeting, we shared stories from our local contexts over the past few weeks, and there were so many stories of people exploring faith, baptisms, breakthrough in lives and increasing unity and diversity. It was so refreshing to be reminded that God is moving in powerful ways in ordinary people’s lives, and that there are so many good stories we won’t hear about online. Could part of our intentional rhythm be creating spaces within our communities for testimonies and stories to be shared regularly?

The state of the world doesn’t change the hope we carry

As Christians, we carry the hope of the world; we don’t have to bury our heads in the sand, avoiding the reality and pain of life in a broken world, because we know the Saviour of the world. We have hope to offer people. We have good news to give out. Through intentional rhythms of engagement and abstinence, we can enter news stories and think about them Christianly’, even considering how we might have the opportunity to talk about Jesus when a conversation about different world events arises with our non-Christian friends or colleagues. Processing the news in this way and looking for opportunities to speak of the gospel will naturally lead to prayerful engagement. We have hope when reading news stories, because we know it’s not the ultimate end of the story. No matter how dark it gets online or in the world around us, Jesus has experienced greater darkness and conquered it for us. He will always be the light of the world.

He will make – and is making – all things new.

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