Excommunitweets? Those are tweets that say “Farewell!” to someone who is perceived as having left the church.
The term excommunitweet has been getting some attention online the past few days. It was originally coined in December 2012 by Matt Archbold in an article for the Washington Post. Then a few days ago, Jacob Lupfer resurrected this rarely used term in a blog post about World Vision. The term excommunitweet has been so infrequently used between 2012 and 2014 that at least one blogger credited Lupfer with coining the term.
Everywhere that there are Christians, there will be Christianese. As Christians increasingly take to social media to talk about their faith and about the church, it is inevitable that fresh Christianese terms will be coined that refer to the culture of social media. We’ve already seen this happen with the coining of the term Facebook fast in 2008.
What other social-media Christianese have you heard?
excommunitweet n. [excommunicate ‘to formally expel from the church’ + tweet ‘a message sent online via Twitter’] Originally, a tweet (i.e., a short online message sent using the Twitter social media service) such as might be sent by the Pope in order to notify someone that he or she has been excommunicated from the church. By figurative extension: a tweet whose purpose is to declare that someone is no longer part of the church.
The term was coined in December 2012 by Matt Archbold, a journalist, in a blog post for the Washington Post about Pope Benedict XVI’s first tweet (see quot. 2012). The term appears to have been rarely used until April 2014 when it was used in a tweet and a blog post by Jacob Lupfer (see quots. 2014).
Archbold in “On Faith” Washington Post
(online) (12 Dec.) : The pope’s Twitter feed is going live…. If the pope “follows you” doesn’t that really set the Church hierarchy upside down? Do I really want that kind of responsibility? I don’t even have a mitre. And if you get blocked by the pope is that a 21st century form of excommunication? Are we really about to see the birth of the excommunitweet? Because that would actually be pretty awesome. And how about papal emoticons? What will they look like? 2013 twitter.com
(21 Jun.) : Actually, you can (and I did) resign from Catholicism on Twitter! #excommunitweet. 2014
Lupfer (@jlupf) twitter.com
(31 Mar.) : I’m a nobody, but it’s fun to send “Farewell, _______” excommunitweets on behalf of all evangelicalism, as Rob Bell & World Vision received. 2014 jacoblupfer.com
(1 Apr.) : Without rendering a judgment about whether conservative evangelicals are too preoccupied with boundary maintenance, I want to comment on how cavalier some of them have become about kicking people out. In the Twitter age, it has become as simple as sending out an excommunitweet…. “Farewell, ________” excommunitweets are authoritarian and unbecoming. They seem to connote a certain gleeful “good riddance,” as if to say, “We’ve been wanting to kick you out for a long time now, and this time you’ve finally done it. You’re out!” 2014
Evans (@rachelheldevans) twitter.com
(1 Apr.) : Hahaha! This article coins the term “excommunitweet” which I think is a little brilliant: jacoblupfer.com