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TITLE: Our Facebook Ministry: What we like, Who we're like
By Jacob Gibson

This is a note I wrote on facebook and my friends liked it so I thought I would share it here too. What does our online pages say about us? Are we pleasing God and glorifying him, or just blending in? All comments are welcome.
Greetings friends of the Lighthouse! How are you? Anyone anticipating winter? What kind of question is that? Of course you are!

Lately I’ve been thinking about what my youth pastor Zach has been talking about. Raising the bar... living by higher standards. And that got me thinking about something. On facebook we now have the option to show people what we like, from drinks, movies, and clothes to people, books, and whatever else. I’ve noticed on profiles that people have “liked” certain things that aren’t quite lily white. Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit anyone over the head or name names but I think we should rethink how we’re expressing ourselves to unbelievers.

I think my biggest concern is about some movies and TV shows. Despite how funny or cool these forms of entertainment are, should we tell others we like them if they have enough negative content? Indecent humor... senseless gore and violence... sensuality. Well, we might say, *shrug* that’s just our culture sadly. Yes, but I don’t think Daniel and his three friends ever said that. Yes, that was in Bible times, but if you think about it every day of history from creation to re-creation could be considered in Bible times. The Last Testament, if you will. Not exacty good theology but you catch my drift.

One big concern I have is a popular TV show that’s quite hilarious but equally indecent. In Focus on the Family’s pluggedin.com review “Protesting the Protestors” they talk about the controversial Family Guy and the creator. Here’s a sample of the article. (Please note that the full article mentions disturbing content from episodes of the show)

In a January 2008 interview published in The Advocate, MacFarlane was asked about another episode ("Pat Robertson Industries") that had earned such an award. Interviewer Brandon Voss: "The Parents Television Council voted the episode, along with many others, 'Worst TV Show of the Week.' Do you appreciate that honor?"

MacFarlane: "Oh, yeah. That's like getting hate mail from Hitler. They're literally terrible human beings. I've read their newsletter, I've visited their website, and they're just rotten to the core. For an organization that prides itself on Christian values—I mean, I'm an atheist, so what do I know?—they spend their entire day hating people. They can all [expletive] as far as I'm concerned."

It’s sad that a show as funny as this one comes from people like this, and that it must dive headfirst into the latrine to reach this level of popularity. I admit that I, as nearly all of us, have seen parts of episodes that are extremely funny just to think about, but I don't think it’s worth the exposure to the rest of the messages. If we give any time or money to the creators of these shows we’re basically approving their messages and asking them to keep them coming.

The Apostle Paul said in First Corinthians 9:21-23 NIV “To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

I think part of that can mean we can still have fun with other people and enjoy some of the same music, movies, games, etc as nonbelievers. One Christian comedian said he didn’t want to be a Christian at first because he thought they never had any fun, but was pleased to discover they can. I like a good game like Halo when I get a chance, no matter how many times I’m completely and shamefully annihilated. “You were killed by Boomheadshot for the 11th time!” X____X

On the other hand, we’re not of this world and not supposed to look like it. As much as it stinks to stick out from everyone else, we’ve got to be different and move in the opposite direction, always doing our best to reflect God’s love, truth, power, and grace. That’s the best witness we have of Christ when we’re not talking about Him, and as we already know actions yell louder than words.

In closing, I don’t want to put pressure on people or take anyone on a cross country guilt trip (and I probably won’t bring it up in person), I just want us all to think about what we say about ourselves. I’m not mr. perfect or holier than thou--that I’m learning more every day--and I have my own issues. I once “liked” the Matrix movies since they’re so epicly awesome but I decided to unlike them since they have nudity. However, I don’t have very much a problem with Lord of the Rings since the magic is minimal and the violence is not the main focus. (And it’s a great allegory of course!) Not that you have to disregard every movie that's over PG!

Thank you for reading and God bless! If you want to pass this on that would be cool. If you have any comments or disagreements that's cool too.

A last and lighter note: Ever seen the parody “Like a Good Boy” on youtube? It's priceless.
Comment by George McVey:

Jason, I will say this it was a well written piece. Your thinking is good but as a pastor who not only strives to draw people closer to God but strives to help God's people see how they can use modern media to connect with unbelievers I was slightly concerened. Yes we need to be careful what we say we like and don't like but at the same time we need to find ways to be like Christ. By that I mean Jesus was accused by the focus on the family an Pat Robertson ministries of his day of hanging out with sinners and reprobates where they hung out. His response these are the people that need what I have.

I think that some of what we need to do is hang where the lost hang and show them how to find the truth of Christ in things they know and understand. I personally would challenge you to find a way to take something like family guy and find a way to use it as a tool to share God. I.E. find a God like quality in one of the characters and mention how in that instance so and so reminds you of Jesus. Then share you might be suprised how we can sometimes redeem the time and lead others to at least thinking about a relationship with Christ based on what the more "conservative" voices out there speak against.
Personal example my most popular sermon a few years ago was finding God in Harry Potter. It got me and my church trashed by all the "traditional" voices of Christianity but drew a large crowd some of whom started a relationship with Christ because instead of trashing thier choice of entertainment I used it as a tool to point to God. Any way just something for you to think about.
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