A refreshing approach to Twitter

Jawan McAllister , a St. Joseph's Prep baseball player, posts Bible verses regularly on Twitter. "This has just given me some religion in my life every day," the senior said. LOU RABITO / Staff
Jawan McAllister , a St. Joseph's Prep baseball player, posts Bible verses regularly on Twitter. "This has just given me some religion in my life every day," the senior said. LOU RABITO / Staff
Posted: April 07, 2014

Yowzers, did you see what a local high school athlete - a very good player, too - tweeted recently?

Whoops, sorry. I'm told we can't print those words in this newspaper.

OK, then, let's try this one from, coincidentally, another standout athlete.

Uh, the censors say no-go on that, too.

Here's one more, this beauty from a third athlete, and with all due respect, I'll name him.

Jawan McAllister, St. Joseph's Prep baseball player and University of Pittsburgh signee, recently tweeted: "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11)."

And this one, too, from him: "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall (Psalm 55:22)."

Twitter shows, among other things, how few characters it takes to be distasteful in print.

McAllister shows the character it takes to be inspirational on Twitter.

The 18-year-old senior from South Philadelphia tweets scripture regularly.

"I love God and have him in my life, but I just feel like there was a disconnect between me and God," McAllister said. "So this has just given me some religion in my life every day."

McAllister, who was raised Baptist and still considers himself Baptist, started tweeting scripture about midway through his junior year, inspired by similar tweets from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

McAllister gets the verses from an app that delivers one daily, and usually tweets them to his 500-plus followers during breakfast.

If the verse is too long for Twitter's 140-character limit or if it's something McAllister says "he's not feeling that day," he looks for another one on the app, and tweets that.

"One thing I want to do more is actually trying to memorize the Bible verses," he said. "Before I tweet them, I read them and try to understand what they're saying, what the message is."

McAllister also takes his faith to the diamond, where he is St. Joseph's Prep's centerfielder and leadoff hitter.

He has the books, chapters, and verses of two Bible passages - Psalm 27:1 and 1 Corinthians 9:25 - written under the bills of his home and away caps, one on each cap.

He wraps his left wrist for games and writes another book-chapter-verse on the tape, along with the date of the death of his great-grandmother and the acronym "HOV FOC." A carryover from his football coaches at Prep, the acronym stands for "heart of a Viking, faith of a child."

He says a prayer before entering the batter's box for the first time, and if he reaches base, he kisses his right hand and points to the heavens.

McAllister reached base a lot last season, batting .390, with 27 runs scored and 11 RBIs. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder committed to Pitt during the summer and signed a letter of intent in November's early period. He has been in a slump this season, with a .217 average and seven stolen bases in the Hawks' 1-6 start.

His teammates, he said, know about his faith.

"Every once in a while, they ask, 'What's that verse say?' or 'What's the verse today?' " he said.

So he's spreading the word both on Twitter and on the field.

McAllister's Twitter handle, by the way, is:

@jawana_be_me.

Only Jawan, of course, can be Jawan. But more should be like him on Twitter.

It doesn't take much, fewer than 140 characters, to be distasteful.

It takes more, a lot more, to be inspirational.


rabitol@phillynews.com

215-854-2916

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