September 25, 2012
First Church of Public Opinion
Are we seeking the approval of God or the market?
Could you imagine what Jesus’ ministry would have looked like if after giving “The Sermon on the Mount” he immediately checked social media to see how many retweets he got, or if #beatitudes was trending?
Or, before riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, he sat down with his creative team to map out exactly how to create a moment people would remember for thousands of years. (#TriumphalEntry, anyone?)
I wonder what opinion polls would have looked like after the crucifixion … or a big throw down with Pharisees … or a mass healing session. What if he healed certain people more than others because data showed healing someone with leprosy went viral (heh, viral) faster than healing the blind?
If Jesus had built the direction, branding, ideology of his earthly work around any of those things, I wonder if Christianity would exist at all today. Yes, I understand that Christ was the very Son of God, but I’m not speaking to that reality in this post, I’m simply saying this: There was one thing conspicuously absent from everything Jesus did … attention to public opinion.
While the pressure on him to accomodate must have been mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing, he never caved or acquiesced.
They wanted a revolution … he told them to give their lives away.
They wanted to overthrow the government and put their own people in power … he told them his kingdom was not of this world.
They wanted a war … he told them to love their enemies … do good to those who hated them.
They wanted a new political system … he gave them a family.
Today, however, we don’t really talk like that any more. Just about everywhere you look, the church is jostling for position, pouring over cultural data to prove their points, winning political battles, out-shouting … out-voting … out-raising …
I can’t help but shudder when I wonder if it’s possible for mainstream Christianity to win all their political battles while at the same time forfeiting the very calling Jesus gave his life for.
I challenge you to do absolutely everything you can to avoid getting roped into joining the First Church of Public Opinion.
If you desire to live like Jesus, it’ll probably be pretty lonely sometimes.