As a woman who lives and breathes ministry, I often face fierce opposition when it comes to my case for Christ. But I am also not surprised or shocked at the opposition as it is to be expected. But after completing my first women’s workshop and door to door ministry, logging onto the internet has become a daunting task. I am often faced with the rhetorical mockery of the Messiah and His followers. It’s like Christ is being crucified daily all over again in the form of the virtual world. What did Jesus ever do to anyone other than LOVE them?
As a Christian author and freelance writer, I often use the internet, social media and other forms of technology to meet the need. But what has literally shocked me is the influence that social media has had on people’s belief and value system. This may not seem like a big deal, but once an individual’s beliefs are influenced, then it has the ability to influence their behaviors and habits as they log off and step out into the world.
In her new book, Alone Together, psychologist Sherry Turkle is deeply worried that we are allowing technology to “take us places we don’t want to go.” She’s interviewed hundreds of people about their online habits, and she’s come to this conclusion: ”The little devices in our pockets are so psychologically powerful that they don’t even change what we do, they change who we are.” Things we do with them were odd, but now seem familiar. We text in board meetings, classrooms and even funerals (see reference at bottom of post).
People log on to social media because they tap into what every single one of us desire but often shake it off as non-sense. We all long to have something to feel connected to. It is our very nature to feel part of something larger than us. Of all of the scientific research, this is where our one single difference between humanity and the animal kingdom is highlighted. Our desire to idolize, worship and praise. Our hunger and thirst to LOVE and be LOVED. No matter how much we search, seek and attempt to find logic in discrediting this single FACT, it still remains. It is because that is how we were CREATED. Not evolved, scientifically engineered or genetically altered, but wired and designed. Like a child that longs for it’s mother’s touch. It longs for that connection when it’s absent and thrives when it’s present. The issue is that most of us seek it in substitutions instead of embracing the original.
So how does this affect me, society and humanity as a whole?
Well, for me, it affects my ability to witness.
While spreading the word about our women’s workshop, we went door to door. Not to evangelize or to intrude but to let the community know that we were there. To let them know that there was a group of people in their neighborhood that cared.
As I was walking up to drop off a brochure, a woman was walking in from getting her mail. It was obvious that she was overwhelmed with life. The kids were in disarray, bills were piled high on her coffee table. As I explained our mission, she explained how her husband leaves for weeks at a time so she doesn’t get out much as he has the only car that they have. When I introduced her to our ministry and church, she chuckled as if what we offered her was so unbelievable that it was comical. She then responded with how every time she logs onto Facebook , she sees photos reminding her of what she called “the real world.” She explained how the KKK and Westboro Baptist Church also claim to be Christians and how she sees people attack one another in the name of Christ and it’s hard to join in on this “Christ- Train” when it doesn’t really appear to be much different than what she is already part of.
I just listened to her as she explained her frustration. What she was really saying is how she wants so much to be part of Christ but she hasn’t had anyone display Christ-like qualities. She has also allowed the combination of the persecutors of Christians as well as the misrepresentation of Christ make her jaded and cynical of the messenger sent in to offer her a glimpse of hope. Her heart had become hardened so she had trouble receiving, much like a woman that has been heartbroken so many times that she can’t fathom that there may actually be good men.
Social Media had both helped and blocked my ability to witness. I have come to expect that but this is more about my plea to people out in the social networking world to be more responsible for what they choose to share and spread, both unbelievers and Christians alike. Billions have joined social networking for a reason. They are looking for something to feel connected to. The last thing they need is constant reminders of how crappy our world is and how no one cares about them. Just like anything else, bad news spreads faster than good news. Ironically, the interpretation for the GOSPEL is “good news.” When you post a photo or petition that criticizes or makes fun of a group of people, it typically goes viral.
As for society and humanity, no matter what religion you are or are not, I want to share some facts.
Christians are present wherever there is a greater need in the world. Whether it is in a third-world country, building and installing water wells for clean drinking water, an orphanage administering medicine and feeding soup to children suffering from HIV and famine, in an execution chamber reading the Lord’s prayer over a man about to be executed, a drug rehabilitation center helping an addict climb out of the pit of self destruction or a football field in the inner city coaching fatherless children.
Christians have, can be and will be found in the darkest of places. They have had and continue to have an enormous impact on positive solutions both domestic and internationally more than any government, political party, affiliation and corporation combined. They contribute more time, talent and treasure than any other source on the planet. Most do so on a shoe-string budget and all in the name of their Lord and Savior, Christ.
Christians are responsible for building and running Orphanages, Hospitals, Food Pantries, Prison Re-entry programs, Medical Clinics, Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Drug Rehabilitation Programs, Homeless Shelters, Prison Libraries and Classrooms, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Community Centers, Women’s Shelters for Victims of Domestic Violence, Community Gardens, countless marriage, singles, men, women, teen and children’s ministries. You can find evangelists on the doorsteps of every town and missionaries in the forefront of war torn territories where sharing the gospel is illegal and facing death as a result is almost certain.
People have been pulled out of the pits of addiction, suicide, mental illness and depression in the name of Christ. Flat-lined marriages have been resurrected, cities re-built and generational curses have ended in the name of Christ.
Even the Bible has been the single most translated and printed piece of literature ever on the planet reaching virtually every corner of the world despite the countless efforts to destroy, abolish, discredit and mock it. It is used for healing and deliverance, officiating weddings, baptisms, funerals, execution chambers and swearing in with courtroom testimonies and even for the presidential inauguration. It is obviously a credible source for all rites of passages in our human existence.
Are there religious extremists, false prophets and self-righteous watchmen? Of course. The bible warned us over and over again. Even of the twelve of Jesus’ own disciples, one betrayed Him. But to blanket Christians all into a box is unfair. God is universal and awesome. He cannot be squeezed into a box. That is why He intrudes everything we see, touch, smell, hear and taste.
No matter how we try to escape or evade the responsibility of what we say or share out into the world, people are watching and listening. Especially among the hungry and thirsty. I challenge you to look at what you speak and share with the world. Is it contributing to the greater good? That is the question.
But…No matter what your belief, religion and background, I think we all can agree that the Christian faith should at least be…RESPECTED.
Reference: Lillie, Ben, TED Blog | Places we don’t want to go: Sherry Turkle at TED2012.” TED Blog. N.p., 19 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2012.
Katrina is the author and workshop facilitator for The Butterfly Movement book, workbook and workshops as well as a contributing writer for Yahoo! and BLOG Magazine. Her current working projects are pollinating The Butterfly Movement workshops and the production of and upcoming books Cinderella No More and Independent No More, both due to release simultaneously Spring 2012. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.