April 16, 2012

-image-“liking” the bible is both good and bad

Since I was exhorted not to be “so one-sided” in my view on this, I have edited my “liking” post to temper my virulently opinionated stance. If you haven’t read that post, then this post will have NO, zip, zero context at all.

Come see the softer more Jekyll and Hyde side of me in this so much better post. I mean, it’s important to try to understand and represent opposing points of view and not be so opinionated on one’s own blog …. right?

So, okay, here ya go.

_________________________________________________________

Be forewarned: Crankypants ON.

Or OFF.

I’ve started to see something disturbing but also uplifting in my alter ego wanderings on Facebook. Well, the whole thing is pretty disturbing but also uplifting; still, let’s narrow the field here.

Okay. Here I go. Unedited crank mixed with wonderment.

So. Tell me:

Why do some FB Christians need to say they “like” the Bible or that the Bible is one of their favorite books? I mean, isn’t that kind of a given? But I’m glad they do it because if they didn’t, how would I know if they like the Bible or not for sure? And don’t most of your FB friends already assume this about you, that you like the Bible? Then again, we shouldn’t assume because, as we know, it makes that bad word out of you and me. If a person is a Christian, this would imply that the Bible, the” handbook,” essentially, for Christians, is something that they like or is one of their favorite books which is awesome and precious. They go hand in hand, don’t they? A Bible and a Christian? How can you live as a Christian and not like-love-need the Bible? Did I mention that I like-love-need the Bible? Saying so is stating the obvious and stating the obvious is boring and sometimes fun. It’s like saying, “I’m a human and I like air” or “I’m a man and I like sex. But maybe I don’t if I’m too tired or dead.”

Really? Wow. I am gobsmacked. Humans like air?? Men like sex — if they’re not too tired or dead?? Christians like the Bible????

This is totally new information!! But not really, now that I think about it!!

I shall write these things down. They seem like good things to know that I did not previously know. I know!!!

Frankly, if a Christian doesn’t like the Bible, I’d have to at least put an asterisk by their personal label of “Christian” or perhaps a frowny face. :-(

It all strikes me as something Christians do in kneejerk response to either real or perceived expectations of what constitutes godliness but expectations give you something to strive for and that’s not bad. If I “like” the Bible, I will seem godly to others and I need to seem godly to others whether or not I actually am OR If I like the Bible I might inspire other people and make them happy. It strikes me, too, as something Christians do for other Christians to avoid criticism and judgment from said other Christians. If I put the Bible as one of my favorite books, I might be spared judgment of my Christianity OR I don’t personally know any judge-y Christians so I know this won’t happen to me.

Christians are as good at judging others as non-Christians, maybe even better, but what they’re really better at is not judging. In my experience anyway.

You need to face it: Jesus isn’t impressed if you “like” the Bible on FB or list it as a favorite book, but he is impressed if you DO do it. I don’t think it earns you special points or rewards in heaven, but I don’t know for sure so it probably does. Rather like a Jesus fish on a car, which is also a good way to tell people about Jesus. Who cares? Everyone does! What eternal difference does it make? Will the Lord say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant, for taking 2 seconds to ‘like’ my book on FB”? He might and that would be awesome! How does it move anyone towards Jesus in a genuine or redemptive way? Will someone accept Jesus as Lord because you “liked” the Bible on your FB page? Not too likely. Then again, I know of 37 people who did that exact thing. It’s simply misguided but also smart to do these things thinking they make some kind of eternal difference.

And if you’re a parent feeling compelled to do it so your kids can see you do it, I’d say that if your kids can’t see from the way you live and love them that you “like” the Bible, “liking” it on FB won’t make one eensy bit of difference to them — ever, although I can’t use the word “eensy” with total certainty. I’m sure there are plenty of Bible-“liking” parents on FB who treat their kids like crap just like there might be some Bible “unliking” parents who treat their kids like kings and queens, but I doubt it. :-(

I hate this kind of thing but I also love it. I hate it because it’s cheap virtue but I also love it because it’s expensive vice. It weighs less than a feather in the scales of eternity, then again, I haven’t ever seen the eternal scales and if they’re anything like my doctor’s scales, then everything weighs A LOT. It says Look at me! Proving my goodness by pressing a button! But it also says Don’t look at me! I haven’t pressed anything! I hate it too because it strikes me as so kneejerk and unthinking whilst simultaneously being deliberate and analytical. Christians who do this don’t think about why they’re actually doing this or what meaning (ahem, zero or infinite) it really has. They just do it. These kinds of “likings” that Christians do on FB – and I’ve railed about them before but I’m too lazy and energetic and ranting and joyful right now to make a link – strike me almost as a form of Christian OCD. Really, they do. I honestly think the Christians who “like” Christian things on FB can’t NOT do it, but there are probably also times when they can’t not NOT do it. If they’ve liked XYZ Christian thing on FB, I’d bet the recent Lotto jackpot they wouldnot/couldnot go back to that page and unlike XYZ Christian thing without feeling guilty or in serious eternal trouble.

Or they would and could, which is also valid.

It’s annoying and endearing. And kind of frightening but welcoming to me, actually.

So I’d like to offer a hypothetical to these Christians:

Let’s say, for example, that JRR Tolkien is your only FB friend. Yes, he’s dead, but for the sake of this example, he’s come back from the dead, he’s not a zombie, although he might be, he’s your friend in real life and, again, he’s your only FB friend. Given that scenario, would you then “like” his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy or list it among your favorite books on your FB page? Ol’ undead possible zombie Tolkien is the only one who would see this. Wouldn’t doing that strike you as odd and unnecessary and kinda needy, but also normal and necessary and pretty wealthy? Since you’re real life friends, wouldn’t he already know your opinion of his books? Then again, he’s probably a zombie egomaniac, like all artists, so it’s a good idea to cover your ass in this way so he doesn’t eat your brains or your ass. Don’t you think the books would have come up between you at some point? Although I wouldn’t bring them up now, what with the possible zombie thing and all. So why would “liking” them be necessary, for your sake or his, but as I’ve just mentioned if he might be a zombie and you piss him off by not doing it, that won’t go well for you, my unliking friend.

To follow my analogy, if Jesus were your only FB friend, would you “like” the Bible or put it as a favorite book? If those things are true for you – that you like the Bible, that it’s among your favorite books — Jesus already knows that, doesn’t he? Then again, couldn’t hurt to stroke the divine ego. If we can agree or disagree that that is or isn’t the case, then it would be completely unnecessary or necessary for you to do it, right? Actually, liking the Bible just for your friend Jesus’s sake strikes me as a bit of an insult or compliment to the omniscience of the Lord of the universe, depending, I guess, on his mood that day. Hm. I’m not suuure Jesus knows this, so I’d better tell him, in case that whole knowing everything dealio is starting to slip.

Or not.

Really, it shows a lack of faith but at the same time tremendous faith in his omniscience or ignorance if you feel the need to state this for his benefit.

Oh ye of little or much faith!

But if this scenario isn’t true for you, if Jesus isn’t your only FB friend, then for whom are you doing this?

NOT Jesus, who may/may not know it already. Not yourself, because, uhh, you know it already. But maybe you don’t and that’s really the rub here.

That only leaves ….. other people. Right?

Other people frankly don’t care except that they do care very much. I’m sorry, but they really don’t not care. And if you have a FB friend who actually would confront you about the fact that you haven’t “liked” the Bible yet or listed it as a favorite book, first, you probably go to an FOC church or don’t go to church at all and, second, you need to unfriend said “friend” immediately because life’s too short for that kind of friend and, besides, you have all eternity to love him ….. later, not now, unless you go to hell where there ain’t no lovin’ no how.

Come on, FB Christians. Don’t “like” the Bible for a show. Do it for MONEY.

God already knows or not whether you do or you don’t.

That’s all that matters or ultimately doesn’t matter which is what this is really all about.

15 Comments »

  1. Aw, snap. Or… you got me.

    I really was trying to read that earnestly, and I was going to say, “tracey– it’s admirable that you want to be supportive even of a detractor, but the first version was better. This doesn’t even make sense.”

    Derp.

    Comment by roo — April 16, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

  2. Roo — I took out your reference to Michael’s comment which has now disappeared and I really don’t know why. I didn’t touch it!

    But you’re right. It doesn’t make sense. 😉

    Comment by tracey — April 17, 2012 @ 12:41 am

  3. // I’ve started to see something disturbing but also uplifting //

    hahahahahahahahahahaha

    Comment by sheila — April 17, 2012 @ 7:50 am

  4. //Oh ye of little or much faith!//

    Love this. I’m a big fan of you sticking to telling us what YOU think in the moment you are writing and that alone, but I’m kind of entertained by the idea of throwing people off this way. “This is what I think! …Or DO I?” *giggles*

    My personal opinion is that, were he getting constant updates regarding how many “likes” the Bible was getting and how much he and the bible were trending on Facebook as a topic and whatnot, Jesus would say:

    “That’s fine. But how are they talking to EACH OTHER?”

    That’s just me. How I see it. My perspective. Much like you, and, I imagine, many other people online – I don’t speak for Bethany. I make a concerted effort to never speak for her. I just always walked away from every lesson I learned about the Lord with the impression that keeping score and making sure everyone knew what I believed and SAW that I was a good person wasn’t the bigger issue – treating people the way he would have me treat them was.

    And if instead of clicking “like” on every faith related link, page and topic people were stopping to tell a friend of neighbor that THEY were liked and thought about and supported? I just think that’s a better use of time.

    Oh, and you’re awesome.

    Comment by Marisa — April 17, 2012 @ 8:34 am

  5. Marisa — /And if instead of clicking “like” on every faith related link, page and topic people were stopping to tell a friend of neighbor that THEY were liked and thought about and supported? I just think that’s a better use of time./

    Exactly!

    As far as this post, I spent maybe 10 minutes going through the original and just contradicting myself or “doing the opposite” a la George Costanza and, voila, the “new post.”

    I don’t know. I was in a weird mood, I guess, but it just amused me to look at what I’d said and then just say the best opposite I could come up with in the moment. I made it a silly game — which is why “pretty wealthy” became the opposite of “kinda needy,” etc.

    Can’t say I didn’t try to see the other side, right?

    Or …. can you? 😉

    And this isn’t directed AT Bethany. It’s directed at a few notions that she raised, but mostly, the idea that I shouldn’t be so one-sided ON MY OWN BLOG. I wrote a post where I took a position on something. It wasn’t “The Pros and Cons of ‘Liking’ the Bible on FB.” IF that had been the aim of my post and I hadn’t represented both sides fairly, then yes, she could point that out, I suppose — that I’d missed my stated goal in writing the post, but I took a point of view — my OWN point of view — and went with it.

    I find that I generally write from my own point of view on this blog mostly because that’s the point of view I possess, my own.

    I guess I’m saying, I don’t know how to speak from any other “side” but my own. As demonstrated by this post.

    Comment by tracey — April 17, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

  6. You know what, now that I think about it I don’t like the Bible at all:

    1) It is full of stories that my atheist friends can point out as impossible from a modern scientific standpoint. (Mostly Old Testament)
    2) It shows a “fickle” compassionate God who can be quite vengeful and ridiculously arbitrary with punishments that are extreme for the crime (mostly OT)
    3) It has been notoriously exposed for its editing by Christians well after the books were assumed to be written

    But most of all-

    4) It exposes me as a sinful being (especially in the New Testament) not worthy of God’s grace.

    Fortunately, Jesus has died for my sins and that I accept him as my Lord and Savior is all that God requires of me for forgiveness… The fact that the Bible tells me this, is why I love the Bible. (And there is some good advice and inspirational verses that help too!)

    Comment by JFH — April 17, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

  7. :::likes this:::

    Comment by nightfly — April 18, 2012 @ 8:35 am

  8. Tracey, Tracey, Tracey…that sound you hear is FOC members’ heads exploding as they encounter this particular blog post.

    Comment by RandomThoughts — April 18, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

  9. I think you just took your “Sex in Heaven” post into the Facebook Age or something. “Sex in Heaven 2.0” if you will. Or is that 3.0 now?

    Comment by Kate P — April 21, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  10. // It’s annoying and endearing. And kind of frightening but welcoming to me, actually. //

    This line keeps getting funnier and funnier every time I read it.

    Comment by sheila — April 23, 2012 @ 4:49 am

  11. Sheila — Thank you. I kinda thought it was funny …..

    Comment by tracey — April 23, 2012 @ 10:28 am

  12. // If they’ve liked XYZ Christian thing on FB, I’d bet the recent Lotto jackpot they wouldnot/couldnot go back to that page and unlike XYZ Christian thing without feeling guilty or in serious eternal trouble.

    Or they would and could, which is also valid.//

    HAHAHA

    It’s amazing to see how even you – a totally clear and articulate writer, even when cranky – can sound totally bonkers when you try to include all sides. I love this exercise. It’s hysterical.

    Comment by sheila — April 23, 2012 @ 11:47 am

  13. I had FUN doing it. (Sorry, Bethany, and others who think we all must be all-inclusive of all viewpoints all the time. Shut up.)

    OR keep talking.

    Comment by tracey — April 23, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

  14. Right, either/or. Everything in the world is either/or.

    (This is kind of like my pet peeve with people who habitually say “Yes and no”. “God, don’t you just love tacos?” “Well, yes and no.” You know those people. The ones who say it all the time. I cannot staaaaand that rhetorical device when it is overused. It’s so … distant, so uninvolved, so uninteresting.)

    And yet it’s also beautiful.

    Either/or.

    Comment by sheila — April 23, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

  15. […] I love it when I write something, read it again much later, and still agree with myself. On the other hand — not to be too one-sided – it could very well mean that I haven’t grown one iota on a personal level since writing that particular something, which would then be kind of no bueno. […]

    Pingback by beyond the pale » bitter town — May 4, 2012 @ 11:39 am

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