When Christians Fight Online

christianfight.pngToday, I want to talk about a reality that I bet many of you have seen on Facebook, Twitter, blogs posts and comment sections all over the Internet: Christians fighting online, publically and with vitriol (which is a big word for being nasty).

I bring this up because, not only do I think that this harming the reputation of the church, I also think it’s harming the Christian community and people.

Now, of course, right off the bat there are going to be some who say, “But shouldn’t we stand up for truth?,” “These issues matter!,” or “Shouldn’t we be able to debate within Christianity?” And, of course, I agree with all of that. We should remain firm to what we believe. Some issues do matter immensely and need to be addressed, and, of course, discussion and debate have always been part of Christianity and always will be.

My problem isn’t with the truth, discussion or addressing important social issues. My problem is subtler than that: It’s about what goes on in our hearts. My problem is when Christians actually start to enjoy all the debate, division and arguing.

Because, what I’m starting to see all over the place isn’t just people who love certain issues, topics and perspectives. It’s people who love to fight. It’s people seeking out to engage others in nasty back and forth arguments. It’s people who call out others and say “farewell” to so and so. It’s people who intentionally provoke, not to discuss, but to divide, distance and ridicule other positions. It’s people who actually relish in the fighting, provoking and dividing over whatever their issue is.

And, the problem with this is ridiculously obvious: If we love to fight, we are probably forgetting to love. If we love the conflict, the fray or the issue more than people, we are missing the point. Because, in a fight or argument, the goal is to win, convert and conquer – all of which can lead us away from loving. And, loving others isn’t optional in the Christian walk, but when we start looking for fights to have, we’ve stopped looking at Jesus and loving others.

So, to be clear, I’m not saying that certain issues don’t matter, that discussions are pointless or that we shouldn’t stand up for injustice.

No, what I want to raise to the surface is something that has happened in my heart, and something I think I see online all the time. Sometimes under the cover of standing up for truth, justice or whatever, what is really going on is that we are angry, looking for a fight and more interested in winning our theological or social agenda, rather than loving and listening.

Please hear me! Some things need to be changed. Some things are evil. Some things need to be called out. But, before we ever call someone else out online, I think it starts with calling out the sin, hate, anger and a pathological love of division within ourselves.

And, I’m pretty sure Jesus said something similar.

Why Being Real Matters So Much, and Why Its So Hard

Being real matters to me. That doesn’t mean I’m good at  it (I’m trying though), but that it deeply matters to me. I don’t know how you can have trust without authenticity ~ and trust is the currency of relationships.

What I mean by that is that without trust relationships don’t work, and they actually aren’t relationships. Without trust relationships devolve into contracts, conversations, or mutually aligned interests but they aren’t deeply committed friendships.

Which brings me back to authenticity. Because trust is based on being real, authentic, and true. But being authentic is hard in today’s world. It’s hard to be true. It’s hard to be content with who we are, and to be real about that. I read other people’s Facebooks and want my life to be as cool as others. I read other people’s posts about their kids and wish my kids said deeply spiritual things. Instead Hudson said at Sunday School, when they were discussing the burning bush, that if Heatwave (a Firetruck Transformer) was there he would have put it out. Yep that’s my son – thinking about dousing Moses’ burning bush.

But what’s the point? The point is that even though it can be tempting to puff up our lives, to embellish, to become jealous, and to wish we were something different or more – it’s not worth it.

It’s not worth it if you want true relationships. It’s not worth it if you want things that last. It’s not worth it if you want your life to mean something. Because in the end the only thing that matters are relationships. And those are all built on trust, and being true and real.

So while at times I wish Hudson was deeply spiritual, the truth is he loves Heatwave and Transformers. And while sometimes I wish my life was as “cool” as other people’s seem to be, the truth is I’m pretty content with my everyday rhythms staying at home and watching Netflix with Krista.

The point I’m trying to make is that being real is hard, but it’s worthwhile. 

So the next time you’re tempted to be anything less than real, muster up the courage and let people see the real you. The person who doesn’t have their house, parenting, or life put perfectly together. Let people see the real you, trust in you, and in the end your life and theirs will be better for it

“Silly Daddy…Jesus Isn’t in a Computer”

312555_10152322007455328_691432867_nI was reading my sermon from my computer aloud talking about Jesus when Hudson runs up to me and shuts my laptop saying, “Silly Daddy, Jesus isn’t in the computer”

And it’s funny, because it’s also sort of true.

My guess is that you would more likely discover Jesus in playing with your kids, than playing on Facebook.

My guess is that you would more likely discover Jesus in a deep conversation with a friend, than checking Instragram.

My guess is that the you’re more likely to discover Jesus while reading the gospels, than checking Twitter.

I know the irony of me reminding us to look for Jesus outside of the computer while I write on a blog, which will post this post to Twitter and Facebook. The truth is that many wonderful connections can be made, insights can be garnered, and depth gleaned from Facebook, blogs, and the Internet. Yet as I look back on this past year I realized most of my real in-depth encounters with Jesus didn’t have anything to do with a computer or twitter. They had a lot to do with friends, family, food, and fun.

So have fun on Facebook. Check Instragram if you’d like. Tweet because I will keep tweeting, and please do continue to read my blog. Let it all impact and deepen your relationship with Jesus. But here is my point, maybe it’s wise to every now and then learn from my son…to shut the laptop down and remember Jesus isn’t just found online and to invest in those relationships all around you.

So the next time you’re with friends and are tempted to play angry birds on your phone, when you’re with your kids and want to check Facebook for the 17th time, or you’re with your wife and want to fiddle on Twitter – Maybe you can picture Hudson running up to me shutting my computer and reminding me that he’s right in front of me…and just maybe Jesus is too…