Seen and Not Heard

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“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” – St. Francis of Assisi

“You say it best when you say nothing at all” – Ronan Keating.

In this day and age it seems that it it far too easy to get Christians all fired up… and all it does is add to the media baiting.

The media puts out to the public a story that it knows will get people who have strong morals upset… and they just wait for someone to bite… they can’t help themselves.

I did a social experiment at work one time when I pinned a whole lot of pictures of meat on the ceiling… people couldn’t help but ask “why have you a whole lot of pictures of meat on the ceiling” to which I replied “They’re high steaks” … and when asked to have them taken down I replied “I can’t the steaks are too high”…

People can’t help but being part of the conversation…

So what happens is this…

The media puts a ‘shocking’ story in front of us -> we jump on it -> and we’re part of the conversation ->Or are we?

It seems more like we’re only adding to the noise and we’re only adding to keeping the story in the media longer… but WE feel good about it because we have made a stand… and we feel good about it because we’re about to chuck a couple of scriptures into the mix.

But here’s the problem (and I’ll use the lyrics of an old Petra song lyric)

“They’ve heard the stories, they’ve heard the lines

But talk is too cheap to change their minds

They want to see some vital signs.

You see we’re happy to make a stand and we’re happy to prove a point… however if we’re not doing it ALL the time, then people only see it as cheap talk.

My brother Jay is currently reading through the book of Romans in the Bible and he reminded me of this verse.

 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

And it’s correct… we should be making a stand in society…

However we need to be careful in doing this because if we are doing this through social media… all we are OFTEN doing is fueling the fire of the debate and conforming to how the world is doing it, the sad part of this is the media then portraits Christians as people who are against everything.

A comment made on a recent debate online from someone who may be on the fringes of faith was this:

“I take it as an affront for zealots to suggest that my and everyone else’s moral compass is somehow broken if we don’t conform to the Christian ideal. Amazing how they always believe everyone else needs saved in some form. Its this attitude that drives people away from religion.”

And to a point he’s right… we as Christians seem to play the “everyone else’s moral compass” too well… and it’s far easier to make a comment or critique than it is to make a change.

So my question is… if we have this amazing story that can save people for ALL eternity… why are we so keen to be the moral police?

It seems to be that we have become the pharisee rather than the salt and light that the world is yearning for.

Lets get into our communities and get our hands dirty… so when we make comments about these things we can actually say “I’m among it changing it… what are you doing?”

Or “that’s not ok… I’m going to push forward and help change that…”

and most importantly in this media focused society… DON’T FOLLOW THE MEDIA BREADCRUMBS…

Christians don’t conform by following the media… THINK about it….

To BE part of the CHANGE… you actually need to CHANGE… the way we do things.

We need to have a voice and there is times when we will need to… but we need to be seen doing these things FIRST.

In closing: I guess the heart of it all is that Christians need to choose their battles… there are things to fight against – poverty, pornography, human rights, community etc… however when we’re just commenting on every ad campaign or dig at the church we’re only gonna look like bigots.

I’ll leave you with these question… what is a BETTER way for Christians to use the social media?

What can we do different in a world that is built around media?

 

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6 thoughts on “Seen and Not Heard

  1. Interesting take on the “engaging” discussion this week. Perhaps you’ve totally missed the point (or you’ve understood it perfectly but like to have another ‘take’ on it). My discussion with you was not intended to focus on the ad campaign – but rather a challenge to you about your views on the ad campaign. Likewise I guess Jay was not asking the world to be transformed by the renewing of the mind – but a reminder that Christians should be! It’s okay for Christians to have high expectations of other Christians. In fact my non-Christian friends and collegues have told me they expect more from people who claim to be Christians! Hopefully this clarifies the discussion for you.
    PS I don’t agree with St Francis of Assisi or Ronan Keating’s quotes! That could be a whole other blog post… 🙂 Liz

    • Ha ha… I was ACTUALLY using it as more of a social experiment on Christians and social media.
      And I’m sad to say my Christian friends failed so badly it was embarrassing….
      Actually I was only doing it for a reaction from ANYONE… but like bats to blood the Christians came and couldn’t help but ‘make a stand’… so I changed my tact to see if the Christians I know knew when to shut up.
      It turns out they don’t. They HAVE to comment at every single bait laid.
      A perfect example of this is today I posted on Facebook this “Living the life of a housewife. Shopping and having a coffee and muffin with Benaiah” –
      Who do you think made the comments?
      Housewives who wanted to ‘make a stand’ about being a housewife…
      Your first mistake was trying to challenge JUST ME… it’s a SOCIAL network for a reason my dear… so for one, as Christians we can’t just try to yell louder just be SMARTER about it.
      For example if you had just IM’d me you may have got a different response.
      I totally agree that Christians should have high expectations of other Christians… however in saying that we’re all on different stages of that journey so we need to make sure we KNOW our audience… and really focus on the promptings of the Holy spirit.
      The problem with your message was you needed to shut up after 2 comments…
      I had about 15 IM’s from people (actually it might have been 12) at work telling me that your comments were some of the reason that they don’t like Christians… because they feel like we are judging them all the time and telling them what moral code that they should live by. It doesn’t seem the best way to get a person who is not a Christian engaged does it?
      The Holy Spirit isn’t blowing in every persons life at the same time… and so social network debates will never work in a evangelist way (at least not that I have found so far…) blogs are a bit different as people choose to enter blogs.
      I knew you wouldn’t like the quotes at the top… but they however are correct (to a point) – Christians have GOT to learn the art of SHUTTING UP!
      A great example of this is Jesus…
      Often when he was asked a question… he either didn’t say ANYTHING or he just changed the subject.
      THAT is the art that Christians need to find again…
      It’s far to easy to wind Christians up… and the media LOVE it.
      Seriously IF I can do it… imagine what the media who are trained to do can do?
      You see Christians are FAR to eager to get up and make a point and not back down… BUT the Christian goes away feeling GOOD about it… because they have made their POINT.
      and they wonder why the world doesn’t change… And here’s the reason why –
      Getting up and making a point is far easier than guiding someone to do the right thing.
      Telling someone that they are doing something wrong… is different to equipping people to do what is right.
      I don’t want to be excepting of what the people who aren’t Christians are doing… but I will be OVER excepting of the PERSON…

  2. Hehe, I think you have over-estimated the media’s interest in Christians, Chris. As someone who has a degree in this area, I know for a fact my lecturers never once got up and said: “Now for those Christians, if you want to get a response, here’s what you do…”
    We discussed the mantra that: “any publicity is good publicity” but there was divided academic opinion on this. I’m not really sure why this ad campaign has turned into a mud slinging match between friends (assuming you and Liz are friends as deemed by your respective Facebook status’). Telecom simply got it wrong as the CEO confessed on the TV news tonight. I think this was because people like having sex and nothing, not even rugby, would change people’s opinion on this. I get the tongue in cheek thing, but really…abstain for the game? Not going to happen, regardless of who agrees or disagrees with the campaign. Was this your point? I think the issue got lost in the thread and it became about something that hurt God’s reputation. Ultimately, we represent him, yes? And we do it in our daily lives as well as on social media sites. Whoever sees us or hears us or reads us, is forming their opinion of God based on what we say or do. So criticizing one another in this format is ultimately damaging Him. Just something to think about…

    • I agree… it’s not just Christians I just notice them more… mainly because I am one.
      In fact to prove that point in another social experiment I did this:
      A perfect example of this is today I posted on Facebook this “Living the life of a housewife. Shopping and having a coffee and muffin with Benaiah” –
      Who do you think made the comments?
      Housewives who wanted to ‘make a stand’ about being a housewife…
      I also agree that Telecom didn’t get it right either… but you get that… I say good on them for trying something different.

      the point I’m trying to make is Christians need to learn the art of shutting up… It’s certainly something I need to learn.
      The experiment didn’t start of with that in mind… however once you let them go it was far to interesting I wanted to see where it was heading.

      (the below comment explains it more)
      This blog was the reaction to the FB experiment… and thegoosechase@madblogs.net was my reaction to the ad. (however that is slightly tinged to get more people reading it so that more money can go to Africa)
      What you and Jay did was great… made two sharp and concise comments… this is how we need to attack this sort of thing in the social media (as it’s the social part that keeps it going… and not everyone is a Christian.)
      As Christians when we are adding to the argument we are conforming to the world… we’re adding to the media hype…
      If we are truly going to transform our minds… we have to approach social media differently… by definition right?
      so how are we doing that.
      It seems that we come across as judges by the rest of the world…
      Christians have become about what we are against rather than the story we are spreading.

      As I wrote before to Liz.
      You see Christians are FAR to eager to get up and make a point and not back down… BUT the Christian goes away feeling GOOD about it… because they have made their POINT.
      and they wonder why the world doesn’t change… And here’s the reason why –
      Getting up and making a point is far easier than guiding someone to do the right thing.
      Telling someone that they are doing something wrong… is different to equipping people to do what is right

      So if we are really not going to conform… how are we going to do it… because as you can see from the blog and the comment below… it’s actually pushing non-Christians away…

    • just ask Grim about my social experiments…
      Like the one where I had a whole bunch of Christians calling me an “idiot” (and worse…) after they had been telling people not to call others names…
      I didn’t expect the topic to swing as religious as you made it… but I was certainly aiming for a bite.
      After that is was literally sit back and just make the occasional dig to keep it going…
      Have a look back through the conversation and you will see that…

      Thanks for playing.

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