Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Copy and Paste Cowards - Sharing Our Faith in Today's Technology-Oriented World

This copy and paste faith really bothers me.

I'm Generation Y. A 21st Century Teenager. Generation Next. A Millennial. Whatever you wanna call me. I'm techno-savvy. I'm the kid who can be sitting right by a window and not know it's raining until I see someone's Facebook status about it. Oh, the internet. I love the internet. It's brilliant, it's convenient, it's like nothing our parents had growing up, it's totally unique to our generation. And sometimes the internet can be a great way for us as Christians to share our faith.

But I have to wonder...is copying and pasting chain-mail really sharing our faith? Oh we've all seen them: "If you love God, you MUST pass this on." "93% of you WON'T repost this." "Jesus said, 'If you deny me in front of your friends, I'll deny you in front of my Father'. Pass this on if you're not ashamed to be a Christian."

There's something wrong with this. Whatever happened to "They will know us by our fruits"? If we're really living the Christian life, we shouldn't NEED to copy and paste chain mail statuses just to prove we love God. The way we live our every day lives should prove that. Oh sure, there's people on our Facebook friends list who we don't know in real life....how will THEY know we're Christians? Well I believe the Christian life shines through, even across the internet. We shouldn't need help from chain letters. Those people we don't know...they'll see it: we don't cuss in our statuses. We don't make dirty jokes. We talk about praying for people we know. We talk about how we know God will help us through something. We quote Scripture or Christian song lyrics. Those things are more personal than chain mail anyway. They come from our hearts and probably touch those people in ways that annoying chain letters never will.

Of course the worst type of chain mail is the kind that comes with an ultimatum. It tries to make you feel guilty. It implants the idea in your mind that you have ONLY these two choices and nothing else and it usually goes something like this: "Now that you've read this, you have two choices. You can ignore it, and prove that you're a heartless person who doesn't care about God, or you can repost it and prove that you love God. If you choose option two, you have chosen to stand up!"

Right, so lemme get this straight: I witness to people I know, I take my Bible to school, and I'm not afraid to admit I'm a Christian, but if I don't pass on this status, then I don't care anything about God? *Gasp!* I must repost it right away, or else no one will know I love God! Seriously?

And what about those people who do pass it on? Sure, they chose to STAND UP by reposting it, but I'd be more than willing to bet that a good 80 or 90% of people who repost these things are the same people who allow real-life opportunities to defend their faith to just slip right by because they're afraid of what people might think or say or do to them.

I know how it works. We cower behind the safety of the internet. We see a Christian chain letter. We copy and paste it and encourage others to pass it on. We log off, feeling satisfied that we've fulfilled our Christian quota for the week. Then we go out and pass up real-life opportunities to witness because we're scared. Some example we are.

Now I'm sure there are exceptions, and you may be one of them, so don't get offended. If you've ever reposted chain-mail AND stood up for your faith in real life, then I congratulate you (for standing up, not for the chain mail). I'm just saying that as a general thing, most people are afraid to defend their faith outside of the internet.

It all comes down to this: chain mail is pointless and extremely annoying and we as Christians can witness just fine without it, thank you. So next time you see a chain letter entreating you to "repost this and prove you love God, or ignore it and prove you don't care," just RELAX. You don't have to do it. All you really need to do is live your life in such a way that people will KNOW you're a Christian.

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds, and praise your Father in Heaven."

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