Bob and I have an ongoing debate about the “like” button. He will peruse a post but not necessarily fully read it, hitting the “like” button “to encourage” the writer, and then of course, he will leave a comment only if he has something more substantial to say. I’m not saying I’m always above doing that, but I’m more along the lines of “liking” something only if I “read” it. Perhaps I am being a bit legalistic here?
Akin to that discussion is the “follow” button. Hitting the follow button is likewise effortless, but authentically following is something else, because to really get to know someone takes time. I want to “read” what’s on their hearts: how they process and interpret their experiences, and how they position themselves for the future. I want to understand our disagreements, and guess what! I might even change my mind on some things, or vice versa—how cool is that?!?
Unfortunately, the various WordPress conveniences seem to be options in the American church these days as well. Shaking the minister’s hand is like hitting the “like” button, and worse yet, saying a “sinner’s prayer” is like hitting a “follow” button…it’s easy.
Not that there’s anything wrong with encouraging the preacher (they need that, too, you know), and certainly I’m all about the sinner’s prayer. But words are easy to spout, and like Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in his book The Cost of Discipleship, we can allow our following posture to lapse into what he calls cheap grace.
We are warned against this in no uncertain terms:
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”
To be a disciple, to lean into the heart of God and learn to hear His voice, valuing His presence above all else, there’s no simple button to push for that one.
Because that’s a lifelong journey!
James 1:22 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.