Can we just be honest about what goes on in the interwebs? There is a lot of crap that ends up out there in the world of eConversations.
I know. You’re thinking “Thanks for that, Mr. Obviousman” and understandably so. Except… We fall for a lot of things.
Did you know that truth is not a requirement for a story to keep on going and going. Nope. Truth not required. It does have to be fairly short and it does have to be interesting. Truthful is not on the list for a story to perpetuate itself. A couple of examples. Did you ever hear about the guy who met a hot woman in a bar and after having a drink together he wakes up in a bathtub full of ice missing a kidney? Or how about all the horror stories of the dangers of Halloween candy?
Turns out that the kidney thing is a hoax and the only kids documented that were killed by Halloween candy (2 of them) were killed by their own family. The danger of Halloween for pedestrians is real but the candy dangers not so much. (Check out Chapter One in Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath for more details.)
What really gets me going are the electronic descendants of a chain letter. You know, the ‘like if you love Jesus’ memes that fly around. It would be annoying if it were a limited thing but it isn’t. Daily we have them cruising through our newsfeeds. Why do they get me going? The electronic equivalent of the “Honk If You Love Jesus” bumper stickers aren’t so bad but the not so subtle “Share this and God will do something good in your life” are downright scary.
Why are they scary? They are scary because they call into question God’s saving grace in our lives. They lift up the idea that God is sitting somewhere upstairs watching and waiting for us to do something inane and will reward us for it. It is as if we had to do something to earn God’s attention, much less love. It skips over the idea that God has already given us unearned forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Why would God require, or even desire, a social media interaction? The truth is, God doesn’t.
Sharing your faith via social media is a fine thing but engaging in a superstitious act undermines our faith. and possibly the faith of others. It is as if we are saying, “I don’t really believe this will bring a blessing to me but I’ll do it ‘just in case’.” Just in case what? Just in case I’m not good enough? Just in case God doesn’t love me? Just in case Jesus didn’t really die on a cross for the forgiveness of my sins? Well, guess what. You aren’t, God does and Jesus did. No Facebook post or Twitter tweet changes that.
Why are you ranting about this, Lance? Is it that important? Yes, it is. Let’s give some though to the ramifications. There is no question that social media has the potential for tremendous reach. Within that reach, if someone new to faith or not solid in their faith posts/shares/likes/forwards and then nothing happens, what are they going to think? What are you going to think? Do we really want to call into question God’s love for us based on a Facebook post? Not so much.
Probably better if we just say that we don’t deserve it but God is filled with love in Christ Jesus so we are forgiven. That’s kind of good news, don’t you think?