Evangelize your friends. Or else.

Today, I opened a Facebook post from a long ago friend. Still a “friend” in the Facebook sense of the term.

The Bible…says Matthew 10:33 “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which art [sic] in Heaven. [1]

If the Holy Spirit moves you and you’re not ashamed, just copy, and make this as your status update.

I admit that I am not sure I am up to current Facebook language and practices, so I might have misunderstood what “status update” can mean. I imagined that it signaled some piece of information about her family or something new about her job or maybe some new idea she wanted to put up for comment. Having read its contents, particularly the part I have excerpted above, I now believe it signals nothing at all about my friend except possibly that she can be shamed into doing something that someone else wants her to do.

My friend received a post from a conservative Christian minister. He asks her to make this post of his “your status update.” My friend very seldom posts on Facebook and when she does, it is about her family, which is large and devoted. My first thought on reading this “update” was that she must have had some reason for posting it. But when I read it more carefully I saw that it says that God will be ashamed of her if she does not.

He starts with this passage in Matthew in which Jesus argues that how we live our lives here will have eternal consequences. If you proclaim me here, my Father will proclaim you there. And vice versa. The message focuses on the versa.

And what does my friend have to do to earn God’s acceptance and to avoid being rejected? Only to re-post the minister’s message and call it “your status update.” That doesn’t sound so hard. All you have to do is post something implying that it is about you and your family, leaving your “friends” to learn on their own that you are just being used as an outlet for someone else’s message.

I have quite a few friends who read an article or a blog post and find it to have some merit and put it up on their Facebook page with a note that says something like “I thought this was a really good argument. What do you think?” Or “I thought this was a beautiful poem and wanted to share it with you.”

This isn’t that.

My friend looked at this post and its argument that the only reason you would NOT post it as a status update is that you are ashamed of it. [2] And if you are ashamed of this message, it is like being ashamed of me, which is like being ashamed of Jesus, which is like being ashamed of God—and you will pay the price for that, you may be sure.

That’s what this is.

What you have to do to avoid God’s wrath gets easier and easier. Just post my letter and call it “a status update.” The consequences of not doing that simple little thing get harder and harder. “My Father will be eternally ashamed of you.”

I imagine as I write this that I will not be reading any more “status updates” from my friend unless they say what they are about. And if others like myself do that, my friend’s pool of friends will become more and more homogeneous—more and more like a silo. And that will be a shame.

[1] I am not entirely sure why the King James grammar requires “is” as the verb here, where “art” is required in the Lord’s Prayer. I suspect that “art” is required by direct address (Our Father, who ART) where the normal usage (My Father, who IS in heaven). Can anyone help me on that?
[2] You could argue that the other element of the appeal—if the Holy Spirit moves you—is important as well, but I am quite sure that my friend will not be certain that the Holy Spirit has moved her. She will clearly follow the “shame logic.”

About hessd

Here is all you need to know to follow this blog. I am an old man and I love to think about why we say the things we do. I've taught at the elementary, secondary, collegiate, and doctoral levels. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. I have taught political science for a long time and have practiced politics in and around the Oregon Legislature. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. You'll be seeing a lot about my favorite topics here. There will be religious reflections (I'm a Christian) and political reflections (I'm a Democrat) and a good deal of whimsy. I'm a dilettante.
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1 Response to Evangelize your friends. Or else.

  1. franp2013 says:

    Dale—This makes me sad.

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