Last week I found myself in conversation with some friends about a new Bible app which was released recently. I won’t reveal the name, but my first impression 1 is that, while the technology was impressive, it seemed like the app couldn’t help but further contribute to the snippetization of Scripture. People don’t know the story any more, and so fail to understand the connections which exist between passages and the themes which flow through the Bible. Worse, we tend to cherry pick happy passages, and just skip over the stuff that is dark or confusing – those things don’t make us feel good.
Now this particular app could be used devotionally, as a focus for prayer and reflection. That would be just fine, and the technology behind the app would then be put to good use. The problem is I have no trust that this is how people will use it. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve read too much Jacques Ellul, but the cynic in me has seen tools like this encourage an ever more shallow understanding of both the faith and the Bible. It becomes “Christianity as Meme.”
In the course of the discussion I admitted I was jaded toward “Christian culture” in general, because I’ve long seen it syphoning off the depth from the practice of Christianity – I just don’t trust it. My friend came back with a sarcastic response which made me chuckle.
You don’t love Jesus do you @wezlo?”
I chuckled for two reasons.
First, because the notion that not embracing “Christian culture” means you don’t love Jesus is absurd. That’s what I think my friend was getting at.
Second, because I have had my faith doubted because I didn’t embrace the culture. I’ve met a lot of people who think I must not be a “real” believer because I don’t listen to KLOVE or read whatever trendy Christian Living book is making its way around the mega-church circuit. What I say about Jesus doesn’t matter, because my rejection of the culture means I must not be part of the club. In other words, I chuckled because it was either that or cry.
I was proud of my response, though.
That is an exaggeration, of course, but not by much. It’s kind of sad.
- And second and third impressions as well. ↩
- For years I have warned Evangelicals about confusing the United States with Israel when reading the Bible – and that particular shirt was “exhibit a” that people were doing this. People never agreed with me, even though I saw it going on. I never had a name for what I was seeing until recently, “Christian Nationalism.” It scares the daylights out of me. ↩
- I didn’t type it right in my response, so I’m leaving it “as is.” ↩