A friend of mine recently moved to Jordan to work with Syrian refugees. This video, comprised of one second clips, reminded me why it’s so important that he and many others continue to do things like that.
In case you hadn’t heard, Lent started. And do you know what’s the number 1 thing people will be giving up, based on a short survey I made up in my head? The Internet.
Mark my words: The only thing Christians like more than the Internet is taking a break from it. A digital fast if you will, where you swear off the Internet or a particular flavor of social media for a prolonged period of time. (The irony is that if you are on a digital fast right now you won’t be able to read my helpful article about it. Have a heathen friend read it to you.)
Since you missed the start of Lent, maybe instead you can do a good old-fashioned digital fast. (By “old” I mean circa 2007, which in Internet time is approximately 87 years ago.) But how do you do it? What are the rules? How do you take a really good, really helpful digital fast? The Bible is very thin on the best way to wean yourself off a Twitter addiction. Not once does Peter say, “Follow me on Twitter, I’m @Rock.” Or better yet for all you old school rap fans out there, “@PeteRock.”
So today, in case you’re curious about starting a digital fast, I thought it might be good to review the 7 steps:
Streaming your church service online right now is very popular right now. Why? Because Internet.
But we’re still working out a lot of the kinks. There are still questions. Lots of them, like these:
1. If I’m watching a sermon online and I open up another window and answer some emails at the same time, is that a sin? Isn’t that the cyber equivalent of doodling in your bulletin? If I have a really big monitor, does that change your answer?
2. What if the emails are from people I’m in a Bible Study with, so technically speaking, I’m participating in fellowship? I’m not multitasking, we’re doing life together!
3. Do I have to stand up when the worship leader calls us to our feet? If you’re my neighbor and you’re walking your dog, is it weird seeing me stand up and down in my living room?
4. If I don’t like the worship songs that day, can I DJ myself with some songs I like from iTunes?
5. If I have a bad connection or the wrong version of flash or my computer crashes, is it safe to assume that I can blame that on the devil? If so, can I put him on notice?
6. How long can I pause the sermon, go do chores/answer the phone/find more comfortable socks to wear etc. and then come back without it seeming like I’ve left church?
7. There are only two occasions in which I wear a belt: A business meeting at work where I want to look smart and church. Do I have to wear a belt to attend online church?
8. Is it weird if I’m still shy about singing with my hands raised during online church? Should I still be doing the ninja in my own home? Is that something a counselor can help me with?
9. If I watch the sermon on a podcast, do you mind if I fast forward through the first few minutes of the sermon where you recap last week’s message for the people that weren’t there? I was there. I remember. I don’t need the recap.
10. Someone once told me they consider eating at Chick-Fil-A to be tithing. Now that I’m using my computer to attend church, can I consider a new Mac purchase to be like one big, silvery cool tithe?
11. Will you please not cut off the podcast before or in the middle of the closing prayer? People at home like closing prayers too. (I’m talking to you Matt Chandler.)
12. Is there anyway that you could create a frame around the video player that has a graphic of someone giving someone else a back massage during church, someone coughing and the heads of the tall family I inevitably manage to sit behind every Sunday so that the experience will feel more authentic?
13. If you ask us to hold hands with the person next to us for the closing prayer, should I extend my hands out like a mime, or instead hold my own hand?
14. Can you please stop telling me hello at the beginning? I know you know I’m here online. You built an entire website, hired a streaming company, timed your sermon perfectly and told me that this was available. At this point, I am well aware that you like me and know I exist. We’re good.
15. What do we do we communion? You can’t make communion jokes. That’s in the book of Joel, so I’m just going to leave it right there.
16. Should I mill about in the foyer of our house with my family to recreate the after church conversations you always have.
17. I usually lose a fair amount of the grace I gained in the sermon trying to get out of the church parking lot. To recreate that, should I just go sit in my car in the driveway and yell a little?
Those are the questions I have.
Does your church have an online version?
Would you have asked something different than me?
What do you do online when it comes to church? Blogs? Podcasts? Video sermons?
Are you currently doing anything church related online?
So many questions!
What would you ask your pastor about online church?
Sometimes people will tell me they switched churches because they “weren’t being fed enough meat.”
Other times people will tell me a book they read didn’t include enough scripture.
Occasionally I’ll hear people criticize friends’ blogs for not talking about God explicitly enough.
Whenever someone tells me something like this I immediately think to myself:
A few weeks ago, the person next to me at church didn’t have a nose.
They just had a faucet that was continually dripping extras from that Mucinex commercial. (Grossest mascot ever.)
They were also doing “sprinkler coughing.” That’s where you rotate your coughs from side to side, covering the most square foot radius with your germs like a sprinkler across a lawn.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Jesus loved the lepers.”
As some of you know, saying many felt too many, I’ve been live tweeting the Olympics via @JonAcuff. Not all of them, there are only so many things I can say about the biathlon. Such as, “Have you ever noticed they don’t have those Ameritrade ads that show home footage of the Olympians growing up as kids for biathletes?”
But now that the Olympics are over, what will I be live tweeting? I have five options:
Yes, you read that title correctly. This is 15 of the most delightful seconds of video you will ever see. Why did I post it on Stuff Christians Like? Because I’m pretty sure that armadillo is a Calvinist.
Or because I like what I do. I do what I like. I could quit and get it back like I’m riding a bike. Or to put it less lyrically, because I like posting things that made me laugh. And this did.
About 50 people sent me this video, but I didn’t watch it at first because I thought it would be cheesy.
I was wrong.
A brilliant guy named Dustin Ah Kuoi created this. The thing I loved about it was that it parodied church signs perfectly. It was like a parody inside of a parody wrapped inside an enigma. Like Newman.
All that to say, enjoy.
For the last 3 years I’ve been writing about two distinct topics:
The weird thing is that I’ve found it’s a lot easier to write to a business audience. The ideas I share are received with more grace, acceptance and discussion in the business world than they are in the Christian world. That’s a strange thing to me. You would think that if someone had the corner on grace, it would be us Christians.
I think I figured out why it happens, particularly online.
I’m not going to do this idea.
Fear not when you read it that I am on the verge of implementing it because I’m pretty it’s illegal. I’m just brainstorming here.