Internet Evangelism Day

Sunday, May 15, was Internet Evangelism Day. I’m not really sure when it started or for that matter what it even means but I’m pretty sure I didn’t take part in it. And believe me, I’m embarrassed. I mean, what nerve do I have to actually go to church on INTERNET EVANGELISM DAY instead of going to every chatroom and message board on the World Wide Web to evangelize my head off. Shame on me. And shame on you if you did the same. Does God really want us to be a part of a local community of believers? Of course not. We’re supposed to be alone, in our bathrobes, debating with trolls on Reddit about the literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3.

If you haven’t picked up on my satire yet, well…I was being a little satirical. Don’t get me wrong, evangelizing is a top priority for Christians; maybe second only to a relationship with our Lord. But there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. There are still a few things the Christian community has yet to figure out and the Internet is one of them. When the World Wide Web first became accessible to the public, there were endless possibilities to how much information we could digest and regurgitate. Many Christians saw this as a great avenue to spread the gospel as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 28. But here’s the thing about the Internet: yes, it is a good way to get the message of the gospel out to the public, but with that freedom to spread information comes everyone else’s freedom to spread their information. So you get every counter-cultural belief and psuedo-gospel that anyone is crazy enough to come up with. So what happens is the truth that sets men free becomes choked and drowned out by everything opposing it. The Internet is not kind to singular-minded thinking.

There was a phrase that Jesus said quite a few times that I think we could take to heart in our evangelism, Internet or otherwise: “He who has ears let him hear.” The Pharisees had ears but they didn’t have EARS. In contrast, the disciples had ears but they also had EARS.  The point is everyone has ears but not everyone has EARS. I hope that cleared everything up. Look, some people only use their ears as facial decorations and a place to hang their sunglasses. Others actually use them to listen. Who do you like evangelizing to: the atheist on 4chan who has his mind already made up or the Indonesian villager who wants to hear the truth so bad he can’t stand it? Both need to hear the gospel and both should hear the gospel but one has ears and the other doesn’t. Look, I didn’t make the rules. God said there will be people who reject him. Our responsibility as Christians is to propagate the gospel. If someone rejects Christ and wants to debate it…move on, you’ve sewn the seed. The gospel is not up for debate. Some Christians mistake evangelism with debate and that can be very costly. There are many subjects that are debatable, such as the age of the earth, but the gospel is not one of them. It is a pillar of our faith, a non-negotiable.

Internet evangelism is not bad, impersonal, but not bad. It is better to be relational with the person you’re witnessing to. That way they can get a glimpse of what the Holy Spirit actually looks like in a Christian and how God’s words have changed your life.

But if you must get your Internet fix, here are 3 good ways to evangelize on the Information Superhighway.

# 3:      You’ve been Church Roll’d

You may or may not know about the infamous Internet meme, Rick Rolling, but basically someone links some important documents or files to a particular hyperlink. Well instead of taking them to the files, it takes them to a music video of Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.

How about instead of linking to a Rick Astley video, we link to a great Christian music video or a great sermon.

Click here for a good example.

Warning: Do not click link. It’s a Rick Roll.

 

# 2:      Biblical Leet Speak

Leet Speak, otherwise known as hacker language, has been around ever since there were computers to be hacked in to. It’s where we get such colloquial terms like pwned and roflcopter. It can work for Scripture too.

N teh be66!~~!~6 God cre8ed teh Hvn & ur+#.     Genesis 1:1

That verse is teh roxxor!1!

 

 

#1:     Church Sign Generators

Probably the greatest religious Internet meme known to mankind. You can get a lot of messages on a church sign.

I tend to agree.

Mother’s Day Was When? Ohhh NO!

Sunday was Mother’s Day for those of you who missed it or forgot. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. All these holidays made up by greeting card companies are so hard to remember because they always tend to go the same way. You find out the night before that tomorrow is Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day or some other made up day. You go to your nearest 24 hour box store and look for a card that isn’t too cloying but still gets the message across so you only have to write your name at the bottom. You then present the card and/or gift to the made up holiday’s recipient only to get an ungrateful “thank you”, or in my case “about time”. The whole event leaves you paranoid because there seem to be so many made up holidays that you’re not real sure whether your friends are joking with you about other upcoming ones.

“I can’t believe Susan fell for it. Second cousins day? Pfffft, she is so stupid.”

 

But I guess there is some merit in taking at least one day to honor mothers, as was the case last Sunday. I know I’m thankful for my mother. Who else would have taught me the fine art of picking a lock with a credit card and the delicate science of how to siphon gas out of a  stranded car on the highway. Those are life skills I use even now and I dare say I would not be the man I am today if it weren’t for her meticulous teachings. Although she could have been a little more clear on the whole ‘avoiding the police’ thing.

Pictured above: Not me and my mother.

 

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I understand why we have a national holiday to celebrate mothers. I applaud my mama for putting up with a smart-mouthed, know-it-all brat. Hopefully, one day, my sister will grow up. Until then, please pray for her and her anger issues. I can ask that because I know she’s not reading this but if she does happen to read it, please pray for me and my safety as I will probably be severely beaten. Putting up with the two of us as kids could have been considered working two full-time jobs. Except there were no benefits or pay. Her job title should have probably been ‘Parole Officer’ instead of mother. Actually, I saw a study the other day about how much moms should make if they actually earned a salary. Considering all their motherly duties, the average salary would be around $63,000. I started calculating what my mother was worth because I fully intend on paying my father and her back for everything they’ve done for me; stuff like my baby food and even the gas they bought taking me to ballgames. I started to get depressed after about $1.5 million because with my current salary of $50 a week at my part-time job it would take me 577 years to pay them back and I didn’t think I was ready to commit to that just yet. So I guess for now she’ll have to settle with the chocolate caramel squares I got her. I totally wanted to get her some dark chocolate w/ sea salt because I knew how much she liked it but I accidentally ate half of it during last week. And I’m certainly not going to give my mother half-eaten chocolate. I’m not a monster, I at least have some standards.

But despite the nod of approval I gave her Sunday, letting her know that her social experiment otherwise known as ‘me’ hadn’t failed too miserably, I never let her know what it means to have a godly mother. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever told her how much her influence has not only affected me but also everyone I meet. Remember that ‘social experiment’ I talked about two sentences earlier? Many parents treat their kids as such. You’ve probably heard “I’m going to be the best parent in the whole world,” many times from many different people. The one thing you fail to hear in that sentence is anything about the child. All you hear is a big, fat “I” at the beginning which tells me that the parent is more concerned how the child makes her look rather than how she makes the child look. I’m just an amateur psychologist so that information is free but the costly thing is that lots of children are living scripted lives because their parents try to live vicariously through them. It may even be subconsciously and they have no idea they’re doing it but they end up trading their child for a replay of what their childhood should have been. I said all of that just to say this: my mother and father knew where I came from. They valued my individualism and autonomy even as a child and understood that I was created in God’s image just as they were. And because of that, I’ve learned to value other’s individuality and respect their place on this earth because life is not just some game we play. There are so many variables to consider so we need to be careful about our motives because most of those variables we have no control over. My point is this:  Life is complicated. So many people treat it like it’s not and they end up getting burned by it and kicked to the curb. It doesn’t have to be that way. My parents introduced me to some spiritual doctrines at an early age and I’ve come to realize that they make sense and I stuck with them. ( Ultimately it was the Holy Spirit that convinced me of these doctrines but I can’t explain that logically and I don’t want to cause any confusion.)

I’m not saying all this to appease her either. I really do mean it. I don’t know if she accidentally lucked into doing things this way or if she had some sort of clue but combine the celebration of the individual, sound doctrinal teaching and my eternal optimism I inherited from her and that is why I can give my mother that nod (and maybe a hug) and tell her “Thanks…for everything.”

This will go good with your half-eaten chocolate bar.

Ruminations Over Recent Events

Unless you live under a rock, (or you’re Amish) you’ve probably heard the news of Osama bin Laden’s demise by now. If you’ve come here to get your opinion on what to think about this whole deal, well…let me just refer you to here. There you will find rational information on many political and social topics. A word of caution to you, though; you may want to steer clear of any ‘Birther‘ talk over there because I’m not real sure how they’ll react to it. So if you do decide to whip out any unauthorized nomenclature, just remember that you’re flying solo on that one.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “C’mon, surely you’ve got some sort of assessment of the situation,” and you’re right I absolutely do, but two things: 1) don’t call me Shirley and 2) in light of recent discoveries, it turns out that SEAL team 6 confiscated some thumb drives, DVDS and hard drives as they exited the compound. Now I’m no Norman Einstein, but even if bin Laden never used the Internet, I’m pretty sure other members of Al Qaeda do. And if that’s the case, they’re probably reading this right now. And if that’s true, my only opinion is this: No Comment. There is something strange about this, though. I mean what’s the deal with the DVDs? One report claims that Osama hadn’t left the room he was shot in for five years so boredom eventually set in, right? Did he sit around all day watching episodes of The Office? You know what, that’s got to be it. When his compound was being raided, he was upstairs minding his own business watching the DVR’ed episode of Michael’s last show on The Office. That’s why he didn’t run away. He had to know how it ended. He never found out though. I kinda feel sorry for him now.

He was not amused to see this guy join the cast.

 

You’re probably wondering where this is going and to be honest, it’s going nowhere. I’m trying out this whole stream of consciousness thing and, I got to tell you, it’s not bad. I don’t have to worry about main ideas and points and all that nonsense. But since I do advertise a Christian worldview, let me try to put a nice Christian bow on this.

You may not know this but there is a difference between Nationalism and Christianity. What you saw from those people in front of the White House ( many of them pre-teens when 9-11 occurred I might add) was a very emotional display of nationalism. And it’s very easy to get swept up in all the emotion, especially if you remember watching live coverage of the terror attack on that September morning almost ten years ago. I’ll admit, I am glad that one less mass murderer lives with us today. As an American, it makes me proud that our government is very proactive on fighting terror. I feel safe living here and I don’t know that I could say that about anywhere else.

Except maybe Canada. There are some perks for being America’s hat.

 

As far as Christianity is concerned, let me make this clear: What happened to bin Laden was man’s justice not God’s justice. God appoints governments to protect people and our government felt it was in the world’s best interest to remove OBL’s privileges of breathing and thinking. Osama, however, will not get to skip God’s judgement either. Neither will you or me. I’m sure he was very certain of his eternity just as you are and I bet he was banking on it being a good one just as you are. One thing going for you, though, is that you don’t have specially trained killers looking for you so if you’re not sure you may still have time to figure it out. Then again maybe you don’t have time. The point is, every lost life without the gospel is a lost soul and that’s not a good thing for the Kingdom of God. Yes, even a mass murderer like Osama bin Laden could have been forgiven. But I will not question God over his sovereignty. Christianity over Nationalism. I will not cheer his death but it is a reminder of how powerful God is and how fleeting life is. Turn to Jesus because if you want to be alive when it’s all said and done, he’s your only hope.