Cliche` Christianity

Rocky Mountain National Park: American Elk
Photo by Michelle Pearson

Cliché Christianity

I want to take a minute to talk about a phenomenon that Social media has presented us with. It isn’t anything new, but social media has made it much more prevalent and, while it isn’t necessarily wrong, it is disturbing to me.

We’ve all seen them and many of us have “shared” and reposted them. You know exactly what I’m talking about, that picture of Noah’s Ark going through the storm with the words “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” and then to make it even better it says, “Share if you agree” to try to guilt you into sharing it. Somehow, you’re not a “real Christian” if you don’t share this cliché. Or even better, the ones that say, “Share if you agree, ignore if you don’t.” Seriously…you’re saying that if I don’t share your meme I disagree with it? Here’s where my dilemma lies. Most of these sayings do have a good meaning, but we’ve reduced Christianity down to a list of clichés and memes.

Like I said, this isn’t anything new. Let’s look back to the 1990’s, that’s right, there was life before social media, we had the WWJD bracelets. These bracelets morphed into bumper stickers, t-shirts, jewelry, tattoos and everything else we could imagine. Again, the idea was good, reminding people to ask themselves “What Would Jesus Do” in every situation. This is what a disciple does. A disciple is a person who imitates the person they are following. If we are truly disciples of Christ, we would ask ourselves this in every situation. But it was quickly reduced to just another fad. We’ve all seen it, being flipped off by the guy driving the car with the WWJD bumper sticker on it, or the lady at the mall spewing a line of obscenities that would make a sailor blush, all the while wearing her WWJD t-shirt. It even goes back further than that, though. In the 70’s we had the “Jesus is my co-pilot” and “Honk if you love Jesus” bumper stickers. You see, when it becomes just another cliché, it loses its impact.

I’m not saying that we should never “share” these things, or “re-pin” them, or re-tweet them. And, I don’t claim to have the answer for this phenomenon, I just wanted to put something out there to think about. I’m not necessarily against it, I’ve even “shared” some of them myself, I’m just saying we should think before we re-post. Before you click that mouse, think, is this really reaching people, or is it making us look a little like crazies in the eyes of the world. Ask yourselves, “What Would Jesus Do”.

We can and should use social media as a tool to reach the lost, I’m just challenging all of us to maybe think of a more excellent way. Read 1 Corinthians 12:31 through 13:13, I know you have probably read this chapter before and quite possibly memorized it, but read it as if you’ve never read it before.

Sometimes we forget that the Bible wasn’t written in chapters and verses. What we call 1 Corinthians, Paul called his letter to the Church at Corinth. It was only cut up into chapters and verses to make it easier to find passages, so read it like a letter…that’s right, read the whole thing straight through. After you have done that go back to chapter 12, and start at the last verse, then read through chapter 13. Paul has just finished talking about Spiritual gifts and is now starting to focus on the gift of love, by the way, love is the only Spiritual gift that we will take to heaven with us, 1 Corinthians 13:8 “Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!” This part of the letter starts out by saying, 1 Corinthians 12:31 “So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.” Some translations put it “a more excellent way.” Then he says, Chapter 13, verse 1“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but don’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” So, what is the “more excellent way”? That’s right…Love.

So, when you are reposting and retweeting, think about 1 Corinthians and ask yourself, is this a more excellent way. Again, I am not in any way saying that it is somehow a sin, or wrong to “share” these memes, but is it reaching anyone? Does it glorify God? Is it a more excellent way? Let’s all try to find new ways to use social media to show God’s love to all your “friends”. We’ll go into more depth on 1 Corinthians and that thing called love next time.

Just a little food for thought.

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