Mobs form for all kinds of purposes and on all kinds of platforms—a group of “Twerds” (Twilight Nerds) standing in line to see the new release of the movie, some gamers getting together to join a virtual world, a group of Christians gathering to worship—but the two things they all have in common are leaders and followers. So, I’ll put two questions to you:
Are you a leader or a follower?
As a teacher and church officer, I’ve observed that most people are followers—and even though I’ve always preferred to see myself as a leader, I’m undoubtedly a follower of certain things/people/movements, too. In my next post I will talk more about leadership, but let’s camp on the follower aspect for now, since everyone can claim to be a follower of something. To get to my second question:
Who (or What) is it that you follow?
To my (at times) chagrin, I often find myself scoffing at popular movements that create mob followings: the Twilight series, Duck Dynasty, Facebook, iphones and whatever else everyone seems to be doing. I’ve gotten into this bad habit of automatically rejecting certain things just because they’re popular, because, I figure, “If everyone’s doing it, it must be wrong.” I think this approach stems equally from my being as Christian (you know, “The path to hell is wide” and all that), as well as from my desire to be a leader (if I want to lead others, I can’t be just like them).
But is that the right attitude to have? After all, as a self-professed Christian, I have to admit I have a lot of fellow “Christ followers” sitting in the same boat. And obviously I don’t think I’m wrong.
A better approach as a Christian and prospective leader, I’ve decided, is not to automatically reject something because “everyone is doing it.” Rather, I must go back to my source of truth and test whatever is being followed, to see if it is noble, worthy, true, and worthwhile (Phil. 4:4). Isaiah says, “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (8:20).
I’m not going to get onto my anti-technology platform (especially since I just got my first iphone) or my anti-Twilight platform, or my anti-whatever-else platform right now, except to say it saddens me to see so many people (and I’ll pick on Christians especially), flinging away their self-control, their dignity, their morals, to “follow” people, things, or movements that counter their so-called “convictions” or, at the very least, add little benefit to their lives. I know fellow believers who will wait for hours in line to see a midnight opening of a movie, but who can’t get out of bed to go to church. I know fellow believers who will whoop and yell at sporting events and listen with rapture at concerts, but who will barely look up from their iphones (sorry, that slipped in) during a sermon. I ask you: Who or what is it that you follow—truly follow?
Feel free to follow who or what you want, but please, call it what it is. Jesus said you can’t have two masters. You will love one and hate the other. He also said He’d rather a person be hot or cold than lukewarm.
Who do you follow?
I’d like to think I’m in the Jesus camp—that the one thing that would excite me enough to stand in line for hours, to go hungry for hours, to wake up ravenous (metaphorically speaking), is God and God’s word. I’d like to picture myself as one of the disciples sitting on the hillside at Jesus’ feet, unable to wait for his next “new release”—the next words He wants to speak to me. Right now I know I’m not always there. But that’s my desire: to be a “Jerd” (Jesus Nerd). That’s one mob I definitely approve of.
So, who or what are you waiting in line for? And does the person/thing/group at the front of the line confirm you are who you say you are?
Lest I sound too high and mighty for my britches here, in Part 2, I talk about some of my personal challenges in trying to be a Christian leader.
I agree with everything you’re saying except that I have had a hard lesson in being judgmental regarding folks using technology in church; my guy takes the Ipad with him each week and takes notes on the sermon with it. It made me crazy at first because I see it as such a distraction, but at work this is what he uses constantly, and is what he’s most comfortable with. People looking at their phones may be looking up scripture or taking notes there, too. Not my way of doing things, but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
You make a really great point here; actually, my hubby does the same thing in church, so I should have addressed this earlier! I am okay with technology in church if it is used for the right purposes, as you say. This is why it is dangerous to jump to conclusions when we see someone using a device in church–not that it’s our place to judge, anyway. I really should just concentrate on myself, more, huh?
Very thought-provoking, Lindsey. I tend to feel the same way as you do. I hate things that are ‘trendy’ – well, that’s not true. I hate following things just b/c they are trendy. Sometimes, I do like trendy things. But I usually am slow jumping on trends b/c I like to take time to see if it something I genuinely like and am interested in – not just following the fad. I agree- I def. want to have that same appetite for the things of God. Sometimes I do, and sadly, sometimes I don’t. But I don’t think there is really anything else that I am MORE passionate for…I could just stand to step up my passion for God. Thanks for getting us thinking!
I like how you put that: “I hate following things just because they are trendy.” I think that’s well said. The fact that something is trendy is never, in and of itself, a reason to follow it–however, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth following. And I, too, could step up my passion for God: that will be a lifelong goal! Thanks for reading!
Lindsey, I think I’m probably old enough to be your grandma meaning likely my generation’s opinions are a far cry from yours. But on this topic, I say “Girl, you’ve got it so right!” I admire your tenacity and courage in stepping out on this topic. Growing up we never had enough money to be “trendy” or to follow fads. Once I became a single mom with very little child support coming in, I again was strapped for funds. Somewhere I think, if I ever had such a desire, I lost it because today I don’t own an iPhone and the only reason I have a cell phone at all is because our 42-year old son thinks we should have it. I tend not to want to be seen as “having to have what everyone else has” or do “what everyone else is doing.” I seek individuality but know that I need a leader so I hope in all instances I am seen to be following Christ. Thanks for a thought provoking, inspirational post!
Ha ha! I enjoyed this comment! Gives me a boost for today. I especially appreciate the older and wiser perspective you bring to the topic. Seems like you did just fine without caving to the trends, and for someone who is not very techy, you have a mighty nice blog site! Thanks so much for reading.