Reflections from Pastor Jennifer
We can share love with those who love us pretty easily, but what are we showing the world? What are we showing our neighbors? What are we showing our enemies? We have received the command to love - to agape, choice love, God-love, to seek the best for - our brothers, near and far, literal and figurative. Reread what John said in 1 John 4. Let it become a part of your heart.
Baby Bottle Boomerang
An organization is spending $100 million on ads to spread the message of Jesus
He Gets Us
Most media have a simple goal: Create content that will build an audience and sell that audience to advertisers. Newspaper publishers used to say, “If it bleeds, it leads,” because stories about violent crimes and conflicts often found their way to the front page, stoking the reader’s emotions and selling more papers. Now social media makes all of us partners in that emotional manipulation. The loudest and most charged content tends to get the most comments, likes, and shares. And as giant publicly traded media and tech companies feel the pressure to provide more shareholder value, they find ways to keep us consuming. And nothing keeps an audience engaged like turning up the volume on conflict.
Pitting us in ideological battles, amplifying hateful moments and stories in all of humanity all of the time — it is a great way to build an audience and sell ads. It’s also an effective way to make people feel angry, isolated, anxious, and distrustful of others. And, just like a slot machine, our social apps reward the pleasure centers in our brains with likes, shares, and comments when we participate — commenting on that divisive video or sharing that snarky meme. It’s systemic. It’s diabolical. And it works.
So what could possibly be louder and more powerful than hate? Love can. But not just any love. Confounding love. Unconditional love. Sacrificial love. The love we see in Jesus. This shocking and even revolutionary figure — who challenged the status quo of his time, who spoke out against the religious and political leaders of his day, who advocated for the marginalized and oppressed, but who always, always, always loved others despite their identity, beliefs, or values. Jesus showed us the path to human flourishing and fulfillment was to love others as oneself, even if it costs you your life.
How would it change the tenor of our conflicts and our conversations? What would the world look like if we all resisted the temptation to defend our self-interest at all costs and loudly proclaimed together that the love for others, the compassion for another’s lived experience, the empathy for their position, and the respect for their dignity were the most important values we all could hold? That’s a hard ask, seemingly impossible. But He Gets Us invites people to explore the story, teachings, and mission of one who lived that way. No matter what you believe about God or Christianity, consider this: What might we learn today from a person like that?