I love Twitter. You might have already guessed that, since I just finished tweeting the entire Bible, but I just felt the need to say it out loud.
A big part of why I love Twitter is the real-time exposure it gives me to interesting people, including writers whose work I have enjoyed. Here are ten Christian writers who have offered me something marvelous or cool or significant or funny in Birdland, in alphabetical order by last name.
1. Frederick Buechner (@Fred_Buechner)
It’s good to start with an “oldster” on this list of Christian writers who are mostly in their thirties and forties. I’m not sure that Buechner, who is in his late 80s, manages his own Twitterfeed or Facebook page, but…whatever; the content is great. In fact, I stole my recent idea to have a spiritual “quote of the day” on Facebook from Buechner’s doing that so beautifully on Twitter. (The quotes I use are from many different spiritual writers, including Buechner; his are taken from his own rather staggering oeuvre, and they are grace-full and gorgeous.)
2. Andy Crouch (@ahc)
One of the most thoughtful Christians writing today, Crouch is the author of Culture Making and the new release Playing God, which I’m reading now. The book is amazing. (The fact that Andy sang in my wedding in no way biases my opinion.) More than any writer I can think of, Crouch offers incisive cultural critique and theological insights—and on Twitter he manages to do this in 140 characters. Kudos.
3. Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans)
The humor and intelligence that won me over in Evans’s memoir A Year of Biblical Womanhood are in full play on Twitter, where she just passed the 35,000-follower mark (!). She engages in a lot of interaction with her tweeps, like earlier this week when she asked those who had grown up evangelical about their memories of bizarre youth group activities. Evans retweeted many of the submissions: building Bible stories out of Spam? Eating live goldfish? Good times, good times.
4. Margaret Feinberg (@mafeinberg)
Margaret Feinberg is the queen of inspiration on Twitter. Her tweets and posts just brighten my day, and I can be of curmudgeonly disposition. If you’re looking for Christian encouragement, for loving reminders that God is everywhere around us, check out Feinberg’s Twitterfeed and also her most recent book, Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God.
5. Alan Jacobs (@ayjay)
Alan Jacobs is probably best known for his biography of C.S. Lewis (The Narnian). On Twitter he posts articles, both humorous and literary; offers sardonic commentary on the news; and engages in eavesdrop-worthy conversations with readers. In his excellent book The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, Jacobs talks a bit about his daily schedule and how he finds time for all this tweeting. I was surprised to learn that he does social media first in his day, and then still has energy left over for more serious reading and writing. When I grow up I want to be just like that. Today my serious writing so far has consisted of this blog post. And also this blog post.
6. Tony Jones (@jonestony)
Tony Jones is feisty! He’s not afraid to go mano-a-mano with anyone on Twitter, and sometimes I need someone to call out the immature assholes of this online world. It’s like a vicarious ordinance he performs on my behalf. (Thanks, Tony.) But he’s also a passionate supporter of what is praiseworthy and of good report, linking often to interesting articles, organizations, and conferences. (And did I mention that he organizes some of those conferences, including C21? Where he gets his energy I don’t know.)
7. Scot McKnight (@scotmcknight)
McKnight was one of the first Christian writers to embrace the new medium of Twitter, and as everyone knows, a year on Twitter is like seven years in actual people time, so McKnight is a venerable pioneer. One of the many things that impresses me about his Twitterfeed is that in the incessant “hey, look at me!” world of Twitter, his tweets point as often to other people’s work as they do to his own blog posts or books. He encourages conversations by raising stimulating questions or linking to articles to ask tweeps what they think. Social media experts advise that writers and other influencers become “curators” on Twitter, sifting through and pointing toward what will resonate with their readers. And when I think of a Twitter curator, I think of Scot McKnight. He never wastes my time.
8. Carol Howard Merritt (@CarolHoward)
If you’re on the liberal-mainline-progressive part of the Protestant spectrum, check out Merritt, who regularly points to what’s working in the mainline—and what’s not. My youngish Episcopal friends love her, and for good reason. Whether in her books (Tribal Church), Christian Century articles, or tweets, the thirty-something Merritt speaks for a younger generation that’s reclaiming the mainline tradition in new ways.
9. Father James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ)
I just realized that Father Jim is the only non-Protestant on this list, which is my bad. He’s a Jesuit priest and an editor at America magazine, but most importantly, he is the unofficial priest of The Colbert Report. He is basically awesome, combining wonderful humor with intelligent reporting and winsome inspiration. A nugget from this morning: “Gospel: Christ takes what little bread there is and multiplies it. God takes what little love we give and magnifies it.”
10. Enuma Okoro (@TweetEnuma)
Enuma Okoro is an up-and-coming writer whose tweets are often thoughtful and heartfelt. Right now is a particularly great time to follow her because she’s tweeting her way through #Advent, tied to her Advent devotional Silence: And Other Surprising Inventions of Advent. From today’s feed: “God still speaks into our silence.”