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Jail or Worse: The Possible Down-side of New Media

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image This blog is dedicated to encouraging folks to use blogs and new media in ministry. It is a good time to talk about the possible down-side that some have experienced due to the world-wide nature of new media including e-mails, videos, websites, and blogs.

The up-side to the internet is the possible world-wide exposure that it can bring to what you are posting or teaching about. In my case, folks have showed up and read some of my stuff over the last several years from over 160 different countries on every continent. Without leaving my family room, I have been able to touch people in some way all around the world.

Now for the possible down-side. Because anything on the Internet is available for anyone to read–a blog, website, and even an email may be available to folks and governments that may use all that stuff against you and those you write about.

A couple of years ago, a pastor that I had developed a blogging relationship with emailed me a request to erase his name from every place that it showed up on my blog. He was shutting down his own blog and was trying to eliminate his Internet presence. He had a popular blog and was active in making comments on many other sites so I would imagine that the task was nearly impossible.

He explained to me that he was going to supervise a mission in a Muslim country and for the protection of himself, his family, and his associates his Internet presence needed to be scrubbed. At the time, I thought that he was being slightly paranoid but since then have run across dozens of situations that have proven him to be right on.

Here’s a link to the story of a Christian missionary couple in Gambia who were recently sentenced to 1 year of hard labor in prison because of a comment made in an e-mail sent to their prayer supporters.

In Saudi Arabia, a man recently blogged about his conversion to Christianity, was arrested and is now facing possible death.

Just this week I received a request for prayer and intercession from members of a missionary team our church sent out and at the top of the e-mail were these words in bold red letters:

SENSITIVE MATERIAL!!!

PLEASE DO NOT FORWARD THIS EMAIL OR POST IT ON ANY WEBPAGE, BLOG, FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, ETC.  THANKS!

That is just several instances in the last month that I have run across. The point is, all of us should be aware of the fact that our posts and comments could well be read by folks and governments who do not share our faith and might even use it against us if they had an opportunity.

In my own case, there are several countries that I should probably think twice about ever visiting because of some of the comments that I have made over the years on my blogs. It’s a big world out there but the Internet has made it much smaller for better and sometimes for worse.           *Top 

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3 Comments so far
  1. Pages tagged "ministry" February 18, 2009 6:07 am

    […] bookmarks tagged ministry Jail or Worse: The Possible Down-side of New Media… saved by 5 others     micheallover66 bookmarked on 02/18/09 | […]

  2. Joe Chavez February 18, 2009 3:48 pm

    Great site. Found it through Blogged.

    I started my blog with the intent of building some type of ministry around it. This post reminded me of the changed world we live in.

    But then again, is it so different than what the early church experienced with the Roman empire? We have Good News to share with the world, but the world doesn’t want to hear it. As Christ told us, the world will hate us but it hated Him first.

    Still, I suppose this just means we need to to keep a spirit of discernment to protect those on the front lines in the “dangerous” parts of the world.

    Thanks!

    Joe.

  3. Dr.D February 18, 2009 6:47 pm

    Thanks for your comments Joe,
    I do think the times we are living in do parallel the 1st century in some ways. More are coming to Christ around the world in this generation than in any other since the beginning–we just don’t see it here in the USA.

    So much is under the radar—for example, there is major revival right now in Iran and India but also major opposition. China is still exploding and who knows what is happening in North Korea where Christians are under penalty of death?
    Blessings,
    Michael