Friday, June 26, 2009

Blocking "HolyGod"

About a year ago, I finally caught up with the twenty-first century and joined Twitter. For those of you who have been living under a rock, or perhaps are not technologically inclined, Twitter is a social messaging website where you post short updates (140 characters or less) that can be viewed by your “followers,” people who have permission to be included among those who are able to receive a regular feed of your posts.

At the advice of Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson and cutting-edge business leader, I began viewing my Facebook and Twitter accounts not only as ways to keep up with my friends and family, but also as opportunities to begin building an online “brand.” In his blog on the subject, Hyatt reveals, “By the way, I accept all friend requests on both Twitter and Facebook. Period.”

A few weeks ago, I took Hyatt’s advice and began accepting all “follower” requests on Twitter. The results have been fun! I’ve discovered many other people involved in the publishing industry, church planting and ministry, and families just like ours. I’ve also accepted follower requests from marketers, real estate agents, life coaches, and completely random people I have nothing in common with. And you know what, it’s been fun to read their updates and begin to get to know these people in a casual way.

Now, I’ve gotten a few bizarre follower requests along the way, but the one I got yesterday tops them all. Literally.

Yesterday, I was contacted by “HolyGod”—who requested to follow me on Twitter.


I checked out the Twitter profile, and sure enough, it’s someone who is pretending to be the Creator of the universe. He (she?) tells people when to expect rain, gives status reports on his ongoing fight with Satan, etc. Surprisingly, in the post-Christian Twitterverse, “HolyGod” has more than ten thousand followers.

Before I go any further, let me assure you that I do have a sense of humor. I don’t take myself too seriously, and I appreciate tongue-in-cheek biblical humor as much as the next person.

But to me, what “HolyGod” was posting on Twitter crossed the line. It wasn’t just satire; it was sacrilege. (Note: this is my own opinion; I am in no way criticizing anyone who does follow HolyGod on Twitter. Please, no irate e-mails.)

Fortunately, Twitter has a function that allows you to “block” people from being your followers. So instead of hitting “Follow” (in return), I simply clicked the option that says “Block.” After being prompted by a screen making absolutely certain I want to block this person (yes, I did), I then got a bold, large message scrawled across the top of my Twitter page:


I couldn’t help but snicker at the irony of the message. And then I thought…

How many times in my own life do I actually block Holy God? (The real, almighty Creator of the universe, not the Twitter version.)

When I sense God’s nudging to pray for someone or call a friend, do I act on it—or do I “block” Holy God, thinking I’ll get to that later, when I have more time?

When I have the opportunity to share the gospel or help someone in need, do I act on it—or do I “block” Holy God from using me in that way?

When I have the time to study God's Word or deepen my faith through our church's growth groups and Bible studies, do I joyfully take advantage of these opportunities—or do I “block” Holy God from growing my faith through these outlets?

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. So here’s my challenge to you (and me) today:

Today, and in days to come, when you sense God nudging you,

will you “block” Him, or will you “follow” Him?


  1. I have about 15-20 followers and I follow the same. Really I don't use twitter at all. I find it interesting and wonder why most of the friend request I have received lately have been from people posting inappropriate tweets. I have blocked them all.

    By the way, you are now posting to google reader just fine!

  2. Hey, Christy! I appreciate your insights. And I enjoy seeing your tweets!

    In my (limited) experience, it seems Twitter is perhaps more effective as a business/brand networking tool, rather than merely another way to post Facebook-style status updates to friends. I have Twitter followers I do not know personally, whereas I do actually know my FB friends.

    Maybe it's because I have connections with several prominent Christian authors and ministries, but it seems most of those who follow me on Twitter have appropriate, encouraging, insightful tweets. A few are indulgently self-promoting, but I haven't (yet!) seen any truly inappropriate ones. If I did, I too would block them.

    As a word of caution, as a mom, if you do accept Twitter followers that you do not know, I suggest not revealing your kids' actual names. If you notice, I don't use my children's names on Twitter or Facebook, just to be safe.

    But whichever site you use, I'm enjoying keeping up with you and your sweet family through Twitter and Facebook! :-)

  3. Another great post. So relevant, well-written, and delightfully thought-provoking. A pleasure to read.

    I enjoy reading Twitter posts, but don't have much to contribute to the twitterverse conversation. The life of a writer--at least this one--is pretty boring. Get up. Write. Research. Take a break. Write. Enjoy family. Go to bed. Write in sleep.

    Perhaps it's better to say the excitement for a writer is too abstract to describe on Twitter. "Wonderful insight today in the Gospel of John. Too much to explain in 140 characters. Read my book to find out all the exciting things I lea..."

    People who know me well don't ask me how my day was unless they have 45 minutes to burn.

    Today, I will continue to muse over the notion of receiving tweets from God. I wonder if there's a short story in there somewhere.

  4. Great, relevant post Jennifer. Keep up the good work.

    Kelly Reyna

  5. That is a great story, glad to have found you out here, will follow. Thanks for having some morality about what you are doing out here, but not being a pharisee!