Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Life in a Selfie World!

We live squarely in the age of social media. A large majority of people in America and in the church have some kind of social media presence. They are either on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, Vine, or one of many other platforms. Social media is a very unique thing in that it allows people to make connections via the internet, post their thoughts, bring commentary on the thoughts of others, or let everyone know where they are and all they are doing.

To be perfectly honest with you many of the things about social media are quite positive. I like looking at pictures of my nephews and nieces who live in Tennessee and South Carolina while I live in Arkansas. I like hearing people’s good news of new born babies, job promotions, vacations, and new cars. I like seeing or hearing how God is working in the lives of people that I know or have known for years. I also like that you can use these social media platforms to present the gospel, promote Christian causes, and to pray for and encourage others. Like everything else in life, even things that have good uses can be used improperly. Social media is one of these things but we will talk about that another day.

One of the biggest phenomenons that has happened on social media over the past number of years is the emergence of “The Selfie.” You know what a “selfie” is right? A selfie is nothing more than a person using their smart phone to take a picture of themselves up close or in various formats with the sole purpose of posting it on the internet via social media. This past Summer I was in Washington DC visiting our national monuments when I saw tourists making lots of selfies of themselves, not the old fashioned way, but by using what is known as a “selfie stick.” This is a basically a long handle people carry around so they can attach their smart phone to the end of it and take pictures of themselves at a wider angle.

Why am I talking about all of this? Well the selfie says a lot about our society and culture today. We are a people who are obsessed with ourselves. Now while I thing God wants us to have a healthy identity and positive self-esteem, we have taken this self-obsession to all new levels. There are people that I see on social media sites who only post selfies of themselves all day. Why? Many of them like the instant gratification of having people who hit “like”, people who comment or who “tag” these selfies. They like the attention a selfie brings. In fact some people are fixated on how many “likes” they can get versus other people.

Sadly, this “selfie” mind set has crept into churches across the country. We are a people who think that everything happening at God’s house should focus on me. The church should have “selfie ministries”, “selfie worship”, and by all means “selfie giving.” We believe that we should be the focus of all the churches ministries, money, and the ministers. Our personal preferences begin to rule how we look at and participate in church. If our personal preferences or needs are not met in the way we believe they should be or in a timely manner, we simply move on down the road to Church X or Church Z to discover whether or not they can focus on us.

The “selfie driven church” is not found in the Bible! In fact what we see expressed by John the Baptist in reference to Jesus should be the guide for our lives as we come into God’s House each week and as we live our lives in this world. John the Baptist said, He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:30)” This new way of thinking for us would certainly be contrary to the selfie world we now live in. However, we would soon discover that living our lives for the Lord and His purposes give our lives meaning, purpose, and value found no where else. Maybe…just maybe, if we were to seek to make Jesus greater instead of ourselves, then when this world looks at us they might actually see….Jesus! Just a thought!