When you turn on the news or check your feed on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever new social media platform is popular these days (I’m getting too old to bother keeping up with the latest tech trends) what kind of stuff are you seeing? Is it uplifting to you and those who might see it later? Is it shocking or saddening? Is it infuriating? How does it make you feel when before you decide to sign out or move on to something else? How do you respond to what you see; and perhaps more importantly, what do you want to say before you control yourself? Are those thoughts and emotional reactions reflective of Jesus in you?
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Jesus (Matthew 6:21 ESV)
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – Jesus (Luke 6:45 ESV)
I’ve seen so much anger, hatred, vitriol, and fear on social media over the last year or so. People who were once close friends have unfriended me and other believers I know after calling us bigots, and saying that we hate women. Never mind that I (and many others) have openly admitted to being a Bible believing Christian for the last twelve years and have made no secret that what the Bible says is sin is, in fact, sin whether we like it or not; and never mind that I (and many others) have clear, rational, scientific and theological explanations for why abortion is wrong. We don’t have a different perspective they say, we’re just a bunch of bigots who hate women. This is what we’ve become. And the worst part is that I’m not talking about non-Christians on the side throwing the stones.
Since my conversion I have always expected more from the Church. We are called to love one another (1 Corinthians 13; John 13:34-35; 1 John 2:7-11), and to recognize that we are as one who are all-together separate from the ways of this world (John 17; Romans 12:2). So why are so many of my Christian friends online turning on me and others because of our skin color, or political views? If we (the Christians on both sides of the issues) are called to be united in Christ than why are we running the game of identity politics? Increasingly I am of the opinion that everyone needs to calm down, take a step back, and do some serious/honest introspection, because the way that many in American Christianity are not speaking or acting in an appropriate way these days.
Who are we?
I am currently leading a class at my church with the goal of answering one fundamental question: Who are we? What does it mean for us to be a Christian? What is our identity as Christians? What are our principles as Christians? What is our mission? Our goal? Our legacy? All these questions and more help us to understand who we truly are in a day when media and politics are spreading strife and division.
I firmly believe that if we fail to hold on to our identity as children of God and followers of Jesus Christ, we are going to be swept away along with the rest of America. This is a view that most Christians (and even some non-Christians) have really responded to. I do not have some grand point to make in this post. To be honest, it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted anything. In part it’s because I’ve been really busy finishing my Bachelor degree, and also in part because I’ve been on my own emotional roller coaster. I’ve gone from indifferent to excited, then angry to depressed, and finally annoyed to cynical; but my problem has been my focus on what’s going on around me and not keeping my eye firmly locked on to Jesus and what He’s doing.
As I have time I will be posting the class outline with notes and commentary based on insights from the discussion. I don’t know if it’s going to make much difference, if any at all. All I know is that God has given me a message and I need to share it.