• Stefan Youngblood

Jesus, Twitter, and Following…ish


“Come, follow me, Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him on Twitter.”

A well known comedian insightfully jokes that at the coming of Christ in the clouds one day, many people will be frantically trying to snap a quick photo of the event on their cell phone, to Tweet, Instagram, or perhaps update a Facebook status. Probably with captions like “OMG!!! He’s right here! #guesswhoisawtoday.” He’ll look them in the eye and say, “Would you please just put the phone down and look up? I’m right here, for heaven’s sake!”

In a world that often seems more interested in what’s “Trending” rather than what’s Truth, judgement becomes blurred in just how shallow a “History making” retweeted pic of a few Hollywood celebrities actually is. Twitter is built on the concept of “following” people. But to follow someone doesn’t involve changing your life. All you have to do is click “follow,” and it’s done. Then, you wait. You wait for them to deliver some inspired or helpful golden nugget for you to ponder—or not to ponder.

Interestingly, even if you never read any of their tweets, you are still considered to be “following” them. It’s a very passive relationship. There’s no responsibilities. There’s no accountability. There’s just a one-time click on a “follow” button. It’s easy. And easy is good, right? Well, not according to Jesus. His words about followers actually losing their lives, for His sake, sound a bit, “Debbie Downer-ish.” It sounds a bit “martyr-ish.” In fact, a quick Google search shows over 23 million results for “ hristian hipster” vs. a little over 2 million for “Christian martyr.” Martyred for Jesus just sounds so…yesterday…so uncool. But in this battle of the sustainability of “real” vs “cool,” my money’s on “real” any day. Pope Francis reminded the world from the Vatican the other day, “The Christian life is not one of commercial advantage, it is not a career path, it is simply following Jesus!”

But sadly, Twitter following has become a more perfect picture of what following Jesus means to many professing believers and churches. It’s a passive follow rather than an active follow. All a person has to do is say a prayer, get baptized or join a church, and the “follow” button has been clicked. After that, they just wait for inspiring messages to be delivered. Whether they listen or not, respond or not, change or not, they are still Christ followers. It’s easy. 

That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. At least not according to what Jesus taught and the early disciples demonstrated.

Matthew 4:19-20: “‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.”

Luke 14:27, 33: “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple … In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”

I really hope giving up non-organic for the next 40 days counts toward for something. #followingJesusishardstuff

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Stefan

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