While my normal posts revolve around movies, pop culture, or current events related to pop culture and movies, a manifesto of sorts has been coming to mind based on the labeling that has divided the Church for centuries and continues to do so. So, what’s with the hashtags we use to define our posts, ourselves, each other? Do these hashtags actually work?
Let me try some on for size.
#son and #husband- Both are undeniable. Some would say that #father is as well. But I prefer #daddy (some day, maybe #dad).
#friend- Too subjective. Someone else will have to answer that one.
#(political party here)- Unaffiliated so that’s not quantifiable.
#Richmond alum- Spider born and Spider bred.
#Duke fan #Red Sox fan #New England Patriots fan- guilty on all accounts.
So far, pretty harmless. Unless you’re tied to a political party and you’re mad I’m not “with you.” But let’s ratchet it up a notch. How about these?
#Christian- When did this become a “loaded” term? The year 33.1 AD? Sometime later? Did it take a massacre in the name of “Scriptural influence?” It seems to require the “Christians” per se to be in a position of power which seems to be tied to the 4th century. But somewhere along the way, being a Christian became a bad thing; instead of people being “little Christs,” so like Christ that they seemed to be models of him, it is too often “Christians” who act the least like Jesus. I’m with Bono of U2: I prefer Christ-follower. I may not be a “little Christ” thanks to my own shortcomings but I will follow the teachings, example, and leading of Jesus as best I can. Just recognize that I’m not perfect and I’m not always right.
#Protestant I fall into this category as a non-Catholic Christian. But in some ways, the Catholic church’s focus on mission, on healing the broken, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and housing the homeless are more in line with what I read in the gospels about Jesus than some of our Protestant attempts. But we’ll get there, won’t we? We, as Protestants, don’t believe we need someone else to hear our sins or pray for us; we believe in an open dialogue available to all between humanity and God, who hears all prayers.
#United Methodist- I am a United Methodist because of the way that John Wesley understood and explained grace (divided in three parts). Prevenient grace is the movement of God before us, around us, and toward us before we even know that God loves us or wants to know us. Justifying grace is that moment where we repent of our sins, turn toward God, and accept the sacrificial love and forgiveness found in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Sanctifying grace is that grace where we continue to grow to be more like Christ, avoiding sins of commission (what we do) and omission (what we fail to do).
#evangelical- What is an evangelical? The dictionary defines evangelical as “of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel especially as it is presented in the four Gospels” and “emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching as contrasted with ritual.” I agree with those statements, but too often, we evangelicals fail to embrace the power of those statements and instead focus on beating down those who fail to accept what we hold to be true. Sure, I believe I’m supposed to share my faith– I’m writing this blog pretty openly, aren’t I?– but I think Jesus “sought first to understand” and then shared his story, rather than savagely beating someone with a Bible (reference Mandy Moore in Saved).
#pastor #preacher #teacher #reverend- I’m the shepherd to a flock (Blandford UMC) and a preacher of the word. I’m a preacher and teacher of the word through this blog, through HollywoodJesus.com. I’m a reverend because of the credentials provided by the UMC. But at the end of the day, I’m just a guy who Jesus called to follow him, to share my faith, and to help the kingdom of God become a present and future reality.
So tag me all you want. But like Punchinello in Max Lucado’s You Are Special, the only title that fits me fully is this: I am a child of God.
What hashtags do you put on yourself? Which ones do others put on you?