I wrote a piece several months ago titled “I Am Not My Facebook Status” where I explored the spiritual side of social media and the easy narcissism brought on by our digital profiles (you can read the full piece here: https://mattlitton.com/2011/02/03/some-thoughts-on-the-spiritual-side-of-social-media-i-am-not-my-facebook-status/).
Don’t get me wrong. I think everyone should live an extraordinary life; in fact, if you are truly pursuing God’s call…it may often be remarkable. But not necessarily in ways thatcall for attention-grabbing Facebook posts or Twitter updates.
Can you imagine Jesus using Facebook or Twitter? Can you imagine the posts?
“Drove Legion into a herd of pigs today and watched them jump off a cliff.”
“And they thought Lazarus was dead for good…? NOT WHEN I’M IN TOWN!”
OK, so that may sound more like the grand-standing of Chad Ochocinco (a master of social media) than Jesus… , the truth is, the people He pointed to as living a faithful life probably wouldn’t have been all that interesting on Facebook.
Think about the woman who put a penny in the offering plate. It wasn’t a million bucks. In fact, she was such a negligible part of the scene that Jesus had to point her out to his followers (she was the only one in the crowd who was truly giving all she had).
I came across some lines as I read Matthew the other day, and it made me seriously reflect on how I handle my own social media obsessions.
Let me rephrase that…it gave my “digital persona” pause.
The World Is Not a Stage
1 “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. 2-4When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—’playactors’ I call them— treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.”
It is interesting to consider how we handle the words of Jesus in a culture that conditions us (through mediums like Facebook and Twitter) to constantly be aware of putting our best foot forward — in essence…to be self-promoters?