Thursday, February 18, 2016
The Gospel Confronts Social Media and Virtual Reality
Sadly, many of our young people today are becoming Kings and Lords of a world that doesn't exist. And the results are devastating without a gospel breakthrough.
I have been observing this for a while now- and it dawned on me recently why I don't relate to the loneliness and isolation that so many are felling today... the desperate hearts that are longing for meaningful relationships and something tangible to dig into.
My generation didn't grow up with this stuff. It was introduced to us AFTER we walked in reality.
The rise of mass communication, social media, and technological conveniences has enhanced my ability to work and relate. But there were things that were set in place before these tools were added...and they were added gradually over time.
I have enough raw data of reality to understand that a facebook friend may not be a real friend and a retweet is not the ultimate stamp of approval. It isn't devastating to me if someone doesn't like my instagram picture.
But I rub shoulders every single day with teens. I have students who have a hard time saying hello to me in the halls, but will express themselves with speed and creativity in a text.
So many people are finding more and more time in the virtual world- Go Pro cams, selfies, and a world of Wifi has made every moment a Kodak moment.
And what exactly is the message of the world of snap chats and face time?
The world is about ME- but it seems like everyone else has it better than me. All those people out there are having fun and getting attention.... what must I do to not get left behind? What must I do to be a part of it all? I need to be liked and I need to be noticed! Also, I must keep checking on it... it would be better to die than to be bored!
All of this can be the devil's snare.... self focus, compare and compete- all in a maze of imagery... highly sexualized and driven in the name of mass consumption and before long the chains deaden the hopes of the heart.
This creates a terrible dichotomy... the victims are more fragile and the bullies are more vicious. More people join in the attacks on the weak because it means that 'at least they aren't coming after me!'
And the price you pay for standing up and speaking out? Blocked, dropped, blackballed, shut out and left out.
Does Jesus have anything to say to those who are trapped in the Matrix?
Yes... and it is a much better solution than choosing a colored pill!
(Matthew 5:2-16 ESV)
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Jesus speaks a message that cuts counter to the message of the world.
Social media would pervert the Beatitudes:
Here is what the virtual world says:
Happy are the rich and proud in spirit.
Never let anyone know you are sad- no one cares and you will be mocked.
Never show weakness or submissiveness.
Hunger for material possessions, pleasure, and power.
Never show mercy...that is pathetic.
Purity is boring.... there are no rules.. enjoy your youth.
Win the fight... kick them til they bleed.....
SO my question is.... how can anyone break away from this message and embrace the counter cultural way of Jesus?
And the answer requires a miracle of God's Spirit.....
You have to fall in love with Jesus so much that you are willing to trust Him even when the world turns on you.
It means you are willing to lose anyone and anything to have Him.
The harder the storms blow... the stronger you cling to Him.
And then an amazing thing happens... you find reality!
Real life... real friends....
You look around and notice who is still there and you know real love.
Do not misunderstand this post....
Loving Jesus does not mean you have to unplug from the world wide web.
Loving Jesus means you understand the PLACE of the world wide web and all of its powerful tools.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Let the world see your light.....
Make sure God owns you and you enjoy this world under His authority and pleasure
and then you experience freedom.... which means you are not owned by the idols of the age.