Facing up to Facebook Jesus

I can’t spend more than ten minutes on Facebook without running past a post challenging me to share my faith by also sharing a heartwarming message about Jesus. Usually the post comes from a friend who is also

  • a Tea Party member
  • posts messages about how they rode in the back of pickups or in cars without seatbelts as children with no damage, and
  • a registered gun-owner and member of the NRA

How can any good Christian
resist reposting this image?

Quite of the post implies that I will be blessed in a very special way by reposting this picture of Jesus, or, on the other hand, will incur God’s wrath or disappointment. And, in spite of the tug on my heartstrings, because the post inevitably invokes the Baptist guilt it was intended to invoke, I skip right past.

Readers might ask why a faithful Christian wouldn’t share these posts and the blessings of God, but my feelings are that faithful Christians should avoid the endless proliferation of these shallow digital samplers, and they are fairly shallow. In the image above we are asked to share if Jesus spoke the truth to the verse “I am the way, the truth and the life….” In essence, to repeat our declaration of faith.

But such a declaration is essentially meaningless, lost in the hundreds of Facebook posts that scroll by evey five minutes. They become little more than white noise. In fact, they have far less impact on other readers than the political screeds ranting about the rights of gun owners and how Obama has betrayed the middle class, or conversely how WalMart has betrayed their employees and the Tea Party is selling American down the river.

The question believers have to ask themselves is whether they need to rise to the challenge of the Facebook faithful or they need to rise to the challenge of Jesus himself, which is to show their faith by giving to the poor and needy, by doing his work in public and not behind a keyboard. Jesus told his followers their tests would not be simple, but difficult. Sometimes, Facebook followers should pay attention to the more subtle messages.