Just this week I was alerted to the fact that the Christian world has again risen to the challenge to create something that removes us from the culture in which we find ourselves and move us into the Christian subculture. This time, we have given our creative juices towards creating something to compete with Facebook.
Yes, it is true and it is called Faithbook.
In the past, we have created WWJD bracelets, t-shirts and hats, GodTube and so much more. And don’t forget the Testamints (little breath mints with a Scripture verse on the paper). But now we have moved into competing with the most successful social network as of today, Facebook. And its mission statement is this – Faithbook is committed to one of the most useful Christian resources in existence.
As Kurt Willems points out, I also hope someone is not moved to create the GodBook (in place of the MacBook). And let’s hope we don’t come up with the Goddroid to replace the Android. Or wait, I am thinking a possible cha-ching here. Hmmm….
I remember my early days as a Christian. I wore all the Christian t-shirts. I was the hit of the day (at least to those who were creating a kind of Christian sub-culture, a Christian ghetto, though we did not realise it).
In my mind it was a way to make a public statement about following Christ and it was a way of evangelism. But what I didn’t realise was that I was becoming part of a Christian ghetto that closed ourselves off to the world more and more – via clothes, food, films, books, and just about everything else I could think of. But, while my heart is still completely devoted to following Jesus Christ, and hopefully I have grown more into such, I realise that all of these ‘Christian creations’ can create a bubble that does not allow for us to truly be the salt and light that Jesus says we are.
I am sure the motives and intentions were very noble in creating Faithbook. Matter of fact, I have no doubt about the motive. But, within the bigger picture, I do believe this contributes to cementing a mindset within Christians that says we must create a ‘Christian version’ of everything. Again, it all comes from a noble heart. But it becomes a barrier in continuing the mission of Jesus.
Sure, we need to instruct in how to faithfully deal with tv, movies, internet, video games, technology and a whole host of other things that will arise in the next few decades (just think of the possibilities!). But, whereas we are not called to be chameleons in the world, we are also not called to be musk-oxen.
As Dick Keyes points out in his book Chameleon Christianity, when a young or injured musk ox is in danger from predators, the other musk oxen will encircle it with their horns pointing outward. This is done as a protective measure against the dangerous intruders.
Do you see how this can relate to our approach to engaging with the world?
We protect from anything and everything we find in the world. But as we do so, again, we actually become counter-productive in walking out that which Jesus says we already are – salt and light.
So, while Facebook can be utilised in ungodly ways, Faithbook can also contribute to an overall mindset that is detrimental to the call of God.
Let’s walk out our call to godliness, holiness and Christ-likeness. But, at the same time, let us also walk out our call to engage with the world in which we live. This, too, is being God-like, Christ-like.