Walk through the book section at your local Walmart and chances are you'll find popular titles written by individuals within the Pentecostal and charismatic movement, such as Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen. Flip on your television and you might encounter one of the most recognized ministers with a Pentecostal background, T. D. Jakes, dispensing advice alongside Dr. Phil.
The biggest question about social media and the church is not how the church can harness the power of social media for good ends while safeguarding against bad ones (useful as such discussions may be). It's how social media is changing what it means to be church.
I'm a part-time student at a denominational seminary, where I'm working (very slowly) on an academic-track masters. It's generally been a good experience, but the school's not a perfect fit. Again and again, professors and coursework assume a ministry context.
Several years ago I met in D.C. with a group of young evangelical professionals. While certainly not world-fleeing fundamentalists, they were not theocrats either. They were seeking an alternative approach.
After winning control of the Philippines in the Spanish-American War, President William McKinley paced the floors of the White House, wondering what to do with the Asian archipelago. When he got down on his knees to pray for divine guidance, the answer came to him in four parts: don’t give the islands back to Spain; don’t let France or Germany have them either; don’t leave the Filipinos to themselves, as they’re unfit to govern themselves; take the Philippines, educate and civilize the people, “and by God’s grace do the very best we [can] by them, as our fellow men for whom Christ also died.” The American conquest led to a bloody calamity. McKinley was assassinated long before he was able to see how awful God’s “perfect will” was (Matthew Paul Turner, Our Great Big American God, Jericho Books).