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Be Careful….It Shouldn’t Be About the Bumper Sticker or Online Post

February 1, 2010

I have posted before about our need to be cautious about what we do and say, and how that need is growing in our world with our connectedness, social media, and our electronic history that will follow us for years to come.

Today I came across a story “Be Careful What Your Bumper Sticker Says

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/02/bumper-sticker-speech/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29%29&utm_content=Bloglines

The message on a car bumper sticker (“No More Blood For Oil”) was ruled as just cause to remove two attendees at a 2005 gathering where president Bush was speaking. They ruled it showed lack of support for the president.

I also have seen several news stories lately about school staff being involved with or disciplining students for things they did online at home which negatively affected the school or a staff member, such as showing approval to a web posting that was derogatory toward a teacher.

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As my worldview is Christian, and I am in the midst of church planting I started thinking about this practice and what it might look like if the church were to join this mindset.

“The bumper sticker on your car does not show support for our beliefs so you can not park it on the church property.”

“The decal on your back window is offensive to the _______’s in our church. Please remove it from your car.”

“Your Facebook status is a poor representation of Christ. You can’t say things like that and continue to be a leader in our church.”

“Over the past two weeks we have seen you post 6 comments on Twitter that reflected negatively toward others, and we have documented your approval online of ________, _________, and ________ which are not things our church approves of. Please discontinue this or we will need to ask you to leave.”

Now, I admittedly am painting a bad and detrimental picture right now of where this could go, but I am concerned.

I am concerned because what I am seeing and hearing through these stories are a lack of engagement in discussion about what is taking place and why. Rather leaders in these cultural roles are jumping to roles of control and discipline. I am concerned because I know that as practices like this grow in society it can grow in our churches.

As leaders we need to remember that our job is to engage people, reach the heart, change the mindset, and redeem situations. We are to bring truth, hope, and promise not to control, condemn, and separate. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 that he became all things to not place a stumbling block in the way of others seeing and knowing Christ. As leaders we need to put ourselves in check and make sure our heart for others is similar.

I truly hope the church will not follow suit on this practice.

It is not about our church. Our focus should be on the glory of our God! If someone in the church is doing something that does not represent God well, talk with them, walk along side them, support them, and love them as your neighbor. There are processes like Matthew 18:15-19 that help us know how to love someone well and to help them move from sin if that is needed.

Let’s not major on the minor issues but instead bring people together in unity and to relationship with our Lord.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2010 4:15 pm

    Interesting post here. I just finished reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan. I blogged all about it. Check out my latest post @ http://whatsnextgod.com

  2. March 7, 2010 5:33 pm

    Hmmmmmm, is what I say, Great post to make me think. We need to remember the Church isn’t perfect. The church is a place where we are to come and continue our worship of God. None of us are more holy than the other. we need to be open to insight and open to God Control and Guidance of our Life. I need to be more open minded and willing to be guided more often.
    Amen

    • March 8, 2010 3:18 pm

      I too need to be more open minded, forgiving, and grace giving. Often a sense of pride and entitlement can lead us to think we are right, but really only God is right. I’m trying to learn to see others through his eyes instead of mine.

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