Monthly Archives: March 2017

There is no Holiness but Social Media holiness (Thank you John Wesley for the slightly modified quote).

Are holiness and social media compatible?  If holiness can be described as Christ-likeness, then how would Jesus have used (or not used) social media?  Jesus gathered millions of followers long before Twitter started limiting people to 140 characters. I just can’t imagine Jesus posting pictures of empty and then full wine jars at the wedding in Cana on his Instagram account.  Would Jesus have made a Facebook status like this one?  Fed a lot of people today.  Pete and the boys estimated the crowd at 5,000 men. #kidgaveuphislunch #belliesfullofbreadandfish Does anyone really think Jesus would have been obsessed with the number of “likes” he received from any social media outlet?

Would Jesus have used social media to cast cyber stones at people?  I know of a guy who loves using social media and blogs to point out the sins of pastors and others that he has determined behaved in a less than holy manner.  Of course, based on his slanderous, gossipy and “fake news” (read: lies) postings it’s a wonder he can even see his keyboard to type with the giant plank in his eye (see Jesus’ story in Matthew 7:3-5).  Unfortunately, that guy is not sitting alone in his pew.  I’ve seen hurtful, racist, insensitive, offensive, vulgar posts… all put there by church folks and people who have claimed to be following Christ.  There are days I wonder if to be truly sanctified doesn’t means “set apart for God purposes” but “set apart from social media.”

Hebrews 12:14 applies to social media too.  It reads:  Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  I know a few Christians who apparently have never read that verse as evident by the way they exercise their social media self and post comments as if the author of Hebrews wrote: “Make every effort to make your point and be right; without correct politics no one will see the Lord.”

John Wesley wrote this tweet worthy post years ago:  There is no holiness but social holiness. He meant that our holiness should be reflected in the way we respond to poverty, hunger and other social issues.  I think if old John were tweeting today, he might add just one word to his famous quote and write: “There is no holiness but social media holiness.” If holiness matters and apparently it does (see the above Hebrews 12 reference to no one seeing the Lord without holiness), then holiness standards apply to our Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Snapchat and Instagram postings too. Love should rule our social media content.  Purity should guide what we search for on the internet.

With much thanks to John Wesley’s quote, there is no Holiness but social media holiness.

Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and _________ Thursday.

Fat Tuesday was two days ago.  It is the day before the season of Lent begins.  On Tuesday I ate a Pazcki from Donna’s Donuts (a polish jelly donut—twice the fat, twice the calories, and twice the yumminess of a regular Donna’s donut). Fat Tuesday is supposed to be the end of our self-centered outlook on life.  Maybe we should call it FAT CHANCE TUESDAY.

Ash Wednesday was yesterday and is the first day in the season of Lent.  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a Christ-focused 40-day journey to Easter. Many people attend services where the imposition of ashes is to remind the worshippers of the words from Genesis 3:19:  “For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”

But for the Thursday following Ash Wednesday there is no special name.  So I will offer these choice describers for today:


If you attended an Ash Wednesday Service, and haven’t washed your forehead yet you might be calling tomorrow FACIAL BLEMISH FRIDAY.  Wipe off the ashes but don’t wipe away the fasting commitments and sacrifices you have promised for the next 40 days.


I am using Walter Brueggeman’s:  A Way Other Than Our Own.  My friend Jeren Rowell wrote: These Forty Days: A Lenten Devotional.  I will be using Dr. Jess Middendorf’s I Am for a Lenten Wednesday Night Bible Study (please join us starting March 8).  Any of these books would work great for your Lenten reading.


Do you remember God’s words to the people during the prophet Amos’ day who were into showy worship and offering phony sacrifices to God while at the same time they were oppressing the poor?  So God bluntly told them:

“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, 
I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.  But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream (Amos 5: 21-24)

The warning from Amos applied to to the first Thursday in Lent is this:  Don’t just fast candy or coffee during Lent so you can tell your friends what a wonderful Christian you are because you gave up chocolate for seven weeks. Care for the poor. Give to the needy.  Help a widow or orphan.   I wonder if Jesus would look at our “sacrifice” and say: “Chocolate?  Seriously? I don’t want you to give up Nestle bars, I want you to give up YOU!”  Paul wrote what I am talking about this way: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

The bottom line is this: let today (and every day) be known as I’M-GIVING-MY-ALL-TO- JESUS THURSDAY!  It might not be as catchy of a title as “FAT Tuesday” or “ASH Wednesday” but I think Jesus might like it even better.