Search

The Bible Blotter

Turning the Bible Into Behavior

Tag

Facebook

My Life Sucks, and Yours Does Too

realityWell, it doesn’t suck ALL the time. Just sometimes. But I don’t share about the crappy parts online. I only share about the good times – the times that make life seem good, happy, and perfect.

We don’t share about the times our kids having fits and making us want to pull out our hair or send them to boarding school. We don’t post about the times we aren’t getting along with our spouses. And when people DO share those things, often they’re looking to get sympathy or to control public perception. And THAT’S the real issue.

We only  share those things that will  create the public persona we want out there.

We don’t share the things that we think will reflect negatively on us. I’m not the first one to write on this topic. My brother shared an article with me some time ago about the same theme. There’s probably even an official name for the phenomenon – I just don’t know it.

What I do know is that we do this because we gain a sense of self-worth and value through our public image. Yet Jesus wants us to forget the idea of shaping our public image. One time Jesus was teaching:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

We do this kind of thing all the time. We want others to see the best part of us, the most generous part of us, the super-parent us, the philanthropic us, the Ubermensch us. But the great things we do don’t amount to a hill of beans. They don’t affect the way God sees us. He sees us when we do things in private. He loves you not because of how great you look to the world, but because he loves unconditionally.

It’s hard to do good things in secret. There’s a part of us that wants credit for doing things when we do good things or when we excel at something. Jesus says we ought to do good for the sake of doing good even if we never get recognition.

I remember one time I was on tour with my college music group. We got off our bus to have lunch one day in San Francisco. I was hanging out with the drummer, and as we exited the bus, the team went off to the left, but the drummer turned right. I asked him where we were going. He said, “I’m not hungry so I’m going to give my lunch to a homeless person, but I don’t need the rest of the group to see it.”

He felt called to do good but didn’t want recognition from others.

I ate my lunch (in a post about doing things without recognition, I’m not going to let you think I was so high-minded)!

But we can all learn from Jesus’s words. Humility ought to be our norm. We should do good just BECAUSE it is the right thing to do. Don’t worry about shaping public opinion of yourself – do what you should do! So here’s your challenge – this week don’t post anything online that would make you look good. It’s okay to build others up, but practice humility this week and change your social media habits.

Your value comes from God, not what others think of you – so practice intentional humility.

——————————————————————————————————————————–
What do you think? Have you seen yourself posting things that make your life look fabulous?

Dear Facebook, Your Theology Sucks

There I was at league bowling night when a Service Member approached me and flat out share-if-you-love-godasked, “Hey Chaps, what do you think of those ‘Share if you love Jesus’ memes on Facebook?”

I understand that I say things that offend people. I’ve been called heretical and even blasphemer. But I never TRY to offend people, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t blast this guy with my “truth.”

I said, “Staff Sergeant, I don’t think it’s right or ethical to try to force people’s behavior through manipulation and guilt, and those types of memes do just that.”

His response? “Oh, okay, so I don’t have to feel bad for not feeling bad about not sharing.”

Me: “Staff Sergeant, I NEVER share any of them.”

And he walked away laughing.

It’s an excellent question he asked because those memes are EVERYWHERE! I’m not even sure what motivates people to make them up. Who thinks it’s a good idea to make people feel bad for not sharing a ridiculous picture? In the end it’s not really about spirituality but about social media presence and influence.

Who can get the most shares? Who can get the most likes?

It’s public spirituality which smacks of insincerity and legalism. Rather, Jesus calls us to a life of private spirituality. That isn’t to put down corporate worship (worshiping as a church). Our group gatherings are an important part of our own spiritual growth. Instead, Jesus has in mind the spirituality we do in public as a show. For example, Jesus says:

“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:2-4)

And Jesus continues:

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6)

Do you get the feeling that Jesus would see these memes and gag?

Don’t be spiritually manipulated by these flim-flam social media Christians. If you love Jesus, follow him and live by his commands. Please do NOT share any ridiculous memes.

A like does NOT equal one prayer.
A share does NOT equal 10 prayers.

like

It’s Great Being White!

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hooray, I’m White! I wish all of you could be white, too. It’s pretty awesome. I don’t randomly get pulled over by the police when I’m driving. I have a fairly easy time making my way through airport security checkpoints. I get left alone by clerks when I’m shopping and perusing. Heck – I can even wander aimlessly and still not be eyeballed by nosy employees. I’m fairly certain that everyone would choose to be a white guy like me if they knew how many perks and benefits I get.

Yes, being a clean-cut white male is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life…

I hope you are intelligent enough to know that I’m being facetious. As Boromir might say:

Boromir on Racism
Boromir on Racism

Yet we cannot deny that there is unfair treatment towards people of different ethnic groups and different skin tones. Racism is a problem that we will be combating for a long time.

I recently came upon a picture on Facebook that talked about fairness to the gist of: If Black people have Black Pride, why is it wrong for us to have White Pride? The basic sentiment was that these people thought it was unfair for Blacks to have scholarship funds, Pride, and everything else yet it would be racist and politically incorrect to have any of these things for Whites.

The basic flaw with their position is that, as I mentioned earlier, it’s already pretty great being White. Most of American society is geared towards me. Movies, Television, College…and on and on. Heck, when this nation was founded people like me were considered 5/5 of a human. I’m whole! Yay, me!

Not so much for minorities. Most of American society has not been geared towards real equality. When only 3/5 of the Black population was counted for purposes of government representation our founding fathers (you know, those great Christian men who birthed this great Christian nation) created an inherent inequality.

In order to maintain any kind of community cohesion, there has been a necessity for Blacks to pursue avenues like the NAACP, UNCF, and the like. These organizations strive to see Black individuals validated. I have never had to fight for validity – I’m White.

In a perfect world it would not matter what anyone looked like. Jesus was commended for his authenticity and his ability to be real no matter who he was talking to. One time the Pharisees complimented him and said:

“We know you are true and that it doesn’t matter to you who anyone is, for you don’t look at men’s faces.” (Mark 12:14)

We do that – we see who we’re talking to before we act. Not Jesus – he was real no matter who was standing before him. That ought to be our goal. In the meantime, why do we have a problem with organizations that seek to give people a sense of validity?

Those who were complaining were saying, “If we can’t do it then you shouldn’t be able to either.” This is a worldly perspective on fairness and justice. It’s the law of reciprocity. Jesus tries to move us beyond that. If someone insults us by slapping our face – turn the other cheek. If someone imposes on us and forces us to go one mile, choose to go two. If someone asks to borrow from you, don’t be stingy but give generously.

We have a choice – we can perpetuate racist animosity or we can choose to join the cause to seek validation for ALL ethnic groups. So there are groups that exist to help minorities – the Church (and the Christians of the Church) should support such causes. Rather than begrudge people a stepstool, why not help people who are not as fortunate as I am to have picked a White family to be born into? 😛

Many kids in church grow up singing:

Red and Yellow, Black and White – they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.

So should we….

Related Posts:
My Kids Don’t Know They’re Black
Reflections on Racism from a Mixed-Race Couple
America: Still Racist After All These Years

Christian Bloggers Network

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Calling all Christian Bloggers: We’ve launched a new FB group for writers. This fledgling group is not simply about sharing content but about conversing with others in order to get better at our craft (in both content and form). If you would like to join us you are more than welcome! Share the word to others you know who might be interested
This group exists for the following reasons:

1) to give Christian bloggers a place to share their original content – we just ask that you limit posts to one a day.

2) to engage in conversation about what we write – feel free to comment on each other’s work, even if we disagree. More voices in a conversation make us think about what we’re doing and confirm our thoughts or move us to new positions.

3) to become better at our craft – we will be posting articles and links about how to become a better writer and successful blogger. Please feel free to discuss the form and style as well as the content of each other’s blogs….

In addition to our stated reasons for being, we also engage in a weekly writing challenge. A topic is assigned and a publication date given (towards the end of the week). On the assigned day we each post about said topic and link each other’s blogs in our own. Please feel free to join us.

You can find our group here.

We hope to see you soon!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: