The Book Of Tweets

A Friend of the Community suggested I join Twitter. I emailed back that I would not waste time on such trivial distractions. A look at Google's Top Tweets confirmed my distaste: I love how RoboCop is both a zombie and a robot. Or It is now Beverly Hills day! Go sleep with your best friend's significant other, wear tight t-shirts and whine melodramatically! However, two factors made me change my mind. The first is that Christians are called to redeem things - so why should the devil have all the best Tweets? The second is that I did Dorothy Neilson's Open Gate Enneagram week. I discovered I was type 4. Unredeemed Type 4's wallow in selfish introspection and fail to connect with the outside world. Redeemed Type 4's best connect with the whole world. So I decided to Tweet.

Manfred helped me with the technology and, since the computer desk in my home (White House) looks out to Aidan's Bamburgh and Cuthbert's Inner Farne, he assigned me the username whitehouseviews. My first Tweet was 'May I tweet with the melody of the lark, the wisdom of the owl, the energy of the wild goose, in the name of the Holy Dove.' I looked up whitehouseviews on Google and found myself next to President Obama. A good start, I thought. Many hundreds of thousands look at the tweets of people like Obama and (to go from the sublime to the ridiculous) Stephen Fry. I looked to see how many had heard my tweet. No one! I then thought 'Why do birds tweet? Occasionally to attract another, to express pain or to herald an approaching change, but mostly for the sheer joy of it. Why shouldn't I do the same?'

But WHAT should I tweet? My mind went back to my Roman Catholic colleague in my days with the Christian Church in Bowthorpe, Father Taylor. Each week in the parish newsletter he dispensed what he called 'Dr. Taylor's tablet'. It was a pithy, practical word of wisdom that lodged in the mind through the week. Then I thought of the Bible. Is not The Book of Proverbs something like that? People spoke pithy sayings for anyone who bothered to listen. The most memorable were collected. From these collections a selection was made - and, hey presto, we have our Book of Proverbs. In modern terms it could be called The Book of Tweets.

I am lucky. At 8.0 am each day on Holy Island someone gives a homily that applies the day's Gospel reading to us. Sometimes a sentence or two from this becomes my Tweet: the world can now eavesdrop on a Holy Island homily. At other times a stream of communications flows through my lap-top from emailers or resource material - and something from this or from something I read becomes the tweet. The lap-top is on a desk which has my White House views. Occasionally, an inspiration pops into my head from the perspective of the places I look upon associated with Aidan, Oswald and Cuthbert - places where women like Hilda may also have put in an appearance. If no tweets from those sources come, I can always quote a verse from The Book of Proverbs - so long as it has no more than 140 characters. In fact, this proverb will be my Tweet on this day that I write: For lack of wood the fire goes out. For lack of whispering a quarrel will cease (Proverbs 26:20)

Tweet tweet.

Posted at 08:32am on 7th September 2010
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