At a time when Orkut is being used by many to tarnish the images of unsuspected men and women, J. V. Zach, an ardent Orkutter, advises, with autobiographical sketches, on how to use the Orkut to redeem the real image of men and women.
Orkut and the Gospel
I have been on orkut for close to a year now. My entry into orkut was quite unplanned and on the invitation of a Hindu friend. I joined orkut without quite knowing what it was for but when given the chance to put up a profile on orkut, i decided in my heart to put up details which were true, glorifying to God and helpful to others. As part of that, in the 'about me' section, I put a brief statement on my beliefs rather than anything specific to me. This is because I believed that a person is the outworking of his beliefs.
The very day I posted a profile, provoked, unknowing to me, an argument between a Hindu and Christian friend of mine in Bangalore about the exclusiveness of the gospel of Christ. Using the different options of your profile like the 'about me' section, passions, activities, books and music section, we can post information that will communicate the gospel, spark interest in others and also give useful links that will benefit others. Using orkut, you can boldly testify about your beliefs to your friends who may not have understood it as much. And you can engage your friends from far and wide in conversation on religious matters.
A very exciting option that i found on orkut was the communities section where one can post on various topics. Since i am more skilled in writing my thoughts than in expressing them verbally, encouraged by the grace of God, i took to posting in them as much as my hectic work schedule allowed. Now the exciting part of orkut communities is the majority of English-speaking people who frequent orkut hail from India and Pakistan and constitute mainly of youth. In these communities, we can meet with people from Mumbai, Bangalore, Islamabad, Lahore, London, etc.
Thus these communities provides an unique opportunity to reach out to people from diverse areas of the world with the gospel. Where else can one meet Muslims from Canada, Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan; atheists from U.S and U.K and philosophy-spouting Hindus? Orkut communities also provides ways to find different resources on the net that one may have missed; forums where one can go for encouragement and prayer; ways to meet up with Christians from all over the world and come together in a unique bond of love. I myself have gained quite a few brothers and sisters in Christ.
Through orkut, i came to know of other Christians who were suffering for their faith in other parts of India and thus granted the opportunity to pray for and encourage them. But one should be on the alert also. Orkut is today invaded by hundreds of fanatic Muslims and peoples of other ideologies who seek to propagate them with no interest for genuine discussion and the truth. One must exercise wisdom and caution in discussion with them. In my early days in orkut, I spent much time in discussion with these folks only to realize that they are more interested in converting us and not in the truth or in any objective conversation. In these conversations, I was particularly made to realize the truth of Jesus' words, namely, to not give what is holy to dogs and to not throw our pearls to pigs for they will trample it and turn and tear us to pieces. In the words of a famous preacher of our day, Ravi Zacharias, "to give truth to one who loves it not is to give more material for multiplied misinterpretation". So with such people, short posts and questions exposing their fallacies are often enough.
A positive fallout of my discussion with such people was a heightened interest in apologetics and led me to read more deeply on the history of the Christian church and the writing of the Bible. One should be on the lookout for wandering souls all the time. Such people generally indicate that they are such by posting topics that reveal their ignorance of the Bible and their need for guidance. Orkut also provides an avenue for people who are otherwise confined to their homes, to engage in ministry. In fact, i know of a few people who are doing this. It is also an avenue where persecuted Christians can meet up with other Christians for resources and encouragement.
Recently, orkut has provided option to link to your favorite videos on YouTube and Google Videos. One can link to various evangelistic videos through orkuts and share it with
our friends. Orkut also provides the option to send mail to all your orkut friends. One can use this option to send important and very useful gospel messages. However, this option should be used with caution and sparingly to avoid becoming a nuisance for others and the mass deletion of your mails. Final Words.
Orkut is a God-given opportunity to spread the gospel to people far and wide and even the person sitting next to you in the office. Use it with wisdom and caution. Also remember that engaging in ministry on orkut will have a toll on your time as you need to respond to posts and queries through your scrapbook and mail box.