Friday, November 6, 2009

Copying Christians - Firing Off About Christian Chirp

This my first post in several months because I have been really busy and unfortunately it is going to be a rant. If you have been reading this blog for some time, you have either inferred or know that I am a Christian who holds true to a fairly conservative theological perspective. In other words, my faith and devotion to Christ would be hard to be called into question. Please take that into context when I fire off about this absurd Christian practice.

I am an avid user of Twitter, a social networking platform called micro-blogging. Perhaps I could be accused of using it too much. The basic ebb and flow to it is that you write your thoughts down in 140 characters or less called "Tweets." Other people using the network can choose to follow you (key word "choose") and thus be updated each time you share your thought with cyberspace. By now, so many people are sharing their thoughts on such a diverse amount of topics that there is no feasible way to follow everyone. Heck, I can't even keep up with everyone in Charlotte.

Twitter has been plugging away for a few years but has only gotten serious consideration from the masses in the last year or two. Just like MySpace, FaceBook and even Gmail, it will go through its occasional bout of spam but they do work to control it.

So now for the rant. I recently caught wind of a "Christian Social Networking site" called Christian Chirp. Just think, tweet-chirp, chirp-tweet. This actually infuriates me as a Christian. Certain individuals, in this case James Paris, think that Christianity should be its own subculture (more examples towards the end). So in all his brilliance, Mr. Paris copied the idea AND format of Twitter (even the mascot is a bird just like Twitter's and the color scheme is the same) and got a couple thousand Christians to start using it as a "Christian alternative to Twitter." I am not going to sit here and judge each person using Christian Chirp but I will stereotype them based on my experience with the Christian subculture. Most of them probably do not read their Bible in any sort of context instead opting only for key verses they want to have pertain to their lives, believe everything written in the Old Testament about Israel was also written about their own lives, believe that all Christians should be Republican, and believe that their belief system is a popularity contest; the more people who believe the same thing, the more right they are.

Here are the things that really aggravate me about this. We, as Christians, were never called to be separate from non-Christians. Hear that? No subculture! We are called to be a part of the world but not of the world. This means live among and participate in life with non-believers but just behave in a way that is not contradictory to God's commands like the world often does. Have a beer but don't get drunk, get mad but not un-righteously or viciously, oppose abortion but still have love for those who have already made that choice, work in a secular job but do so with honest practice, humility and with good work ethic.

Second, if you are going to make a subculture and use our Savior as your backing, at least be innovative about it. Again, chirp-tweet? A Bread Crumb and Fish shirts that are patterned off of Abercrombie and Fitch, or Add Jesus instead of Adidas, oh my I could go on all day with the ridiculousness of it all. Christians seem to like to take something popular, copy it, put their Christian spin on it, and make it look cheesier or lamer than the original. However, Christians who use their faith as a popularity contest eat this garbage up.

My other problem, with Christian Chirp in particular is, what is so un-Christian about Twitter that a spin-off had to be branded? You choose who you want to follow. If someone that is a little seedy is following you on Twitter, you can block them. Or better yet, make your tweets represent the Gospel and perhaps serve as a witness in love as they read your written thoughts.
I will be the first to admit that as much as I love Jesus and am devoted to serving Him, I am not always his best witness. But if I let that push me into separating myself from the rest of the world to avoid having them be able to see my grime, no one would ever see the good about Christ through me either. I firmly believe that as I walk with God, he will use my blunders for His good to reach someone else. Likewise, He will pull examples from the world and teach me my follies and strengths so I can grow in deeper relationship with Him.

Through this, I am not saying that there is no value to Christian products, but if the secular world has done something well and it is not in direct opposition to God, use it and witness through it instead of simply repackaging it with a Christian label.

Editors note: Shameless plug, if you really liked this post or it pissed you off check out my past post, Who Cares if We Are a Christian Nation