I really don’t think this is anything new. I do think that with the ubiquity of social networking (among other things) that is it much more apparent.
I am speaking of the great disconnect between personal behavior and our Christian calling.
Numerous New Testament texts call Christians to model heavenly behavior (Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 4:17-5-21; Colossians 3:1-14- just to name an obvious few). Our term “church” is derived from the Greek word which translates “the called out.” Peter makes it clear that this called out responsibility includes shining God’s light to darkness (1 Peter 2:9).
Yet all too often it is the darkness that is dimming the lights.
Christians are leading compartmentalized lifestyles. The same happy folks seen praising God on Sunday mornings are also seen merrily hoisting up the bottles in boozy bar party pics on social networks like Facebook.
Forgive me, but I fail to see the connection.
Yes, it is likely that Jesus hung out sometimes with a party crowd. Yes, we are to go to the marketplace and engage people there. And before I am accused of being judgmental, I am not condemning the presence of Christians in establishments that serve beverage alcohol.
It is the great disconnect I mourn. When Christians so separate their personal and moral behavior from their specific calling to live with minds “set on things above” it can severely undermine all Christian influence.
Our model, of course, is Jesus. He did scandalously (to many) interact with the non-religious crowd of his day. He went where they lived and even where they partied, but he always maintained the commitment of his calling and the integrity of his personal behavior while at the same time respectfully and genuinely engaging (and not dismissing or being judgemental toward) those around him. It was a delicate balance, but he walked it.
But could you ever imagine some Facebook party pic of Jesus, bleary-eyed and with his leg hiked up and around some random person? Don’t think so.
Our Christian call and personal behavior must be inner-connected. We simply must reflect during the rest of the week- wherever we are- the values of God that we honor on Sunday mornings. No, this connection will never operate perfectly- for there are no perfect people. This connection is not about being better than anyone else or slamming anyone’s else choices. It is simply about fulfilling God’s expectation that his people model his kingdom’s lifestyle.
It is about being “salt” and “light.”
It is about demonstrating the wonderful connection that flows from the grace of God into an appreciative lifestyle which above all- honors God and humbly seeks to reflect his values.
P.S John Dobbs recently discussed Facebook etiquette on his blog.