My friend Caroll Cyr was commissioned as a Christian Educator in our denomination today and during the service she was questioned about the relevance of the Bible in today’s world. She replied that “ of course” the Bible was relevant, and then she said that she was going to be going to a meeting about “Faith Formation in the 21st Century” and they would be talking about “social media” because “that’s where the people are”. I’ve been thinking about this idea for a post for awhile now, so here it is … for Caroll and those people trying to make the Bible relevant to a new generation.
The other day I was watching television in the morning before work and I saw this thing about a new website that tells you how important you are. Because I refuse to send people to a website which is the same old not-very-helpful thing people have been doing for years, I won’t tell you the name of it so that people can’t find it with a random look on a search engine. Let me just say that it begins with a “K” and is a score. If you want more information, you can look in this month’s “Wired” magazine to see What Your Score Really Means”.
Christians live by another set of rules — or they’re supposed to. We are not supposed to be chasing popularity. We’re supposed to be chasing God. It’s not supposed to matter how many powerful friends we have. It’s supposed to matter how many poor people we’ve helped. It’s not supposed to matter how much money we have. It’s supposed to matter how people we share with. We’re not supposed to care whether we’re loved by others. We’re supposed to know we’re loved by God. From that knowledge comes the idea that the rest of the world should love us, and we should love them. We’re supposed to be different.
There have been “who’s hot and who’s not” lists since the beginning of time. Long before there was a mass media that made such a big deal about it, people in every time and place wanted to own, follow, or be like this person or that person in their community. This is what jealousy is all about. Everybody wants this person, but only one person can have them. Everybody wants to hang out with that person, so they can decide who’s in and who’s out.
The other thing that “K” scores seem to indicate is power — the ability to get things done in the world — because you know the right people. Power in the right hands is a good thing. It really is. I admire people who use their power to make the world a better place. But I admire even more people that just do good things without caring that it reflects on them — people who do good without the spotlight and the mirror to tell them how great they are. I admire more the humble than the narcissist. I admire the famous who don’t care about being famous.
This is not to say that there aren’t Christians that flaunt their “Christianity”. There are. There have always been people who see religion as a popularity contest — in any faith. Jesus talks about them and says, “they’ve already had their reward”. So, to me, the “K” score is more of the same-old-same-old. Now, though, you and everybody else can see and care what your score is, because it’s posted on the internet. It’s the same old popularity contest turned up a notch.
What I’d like to suggest is far more important to me, It’s a person’s “C” score — their “Christ” score or “Christianity” score — and it can never be posted on the internet, for the reasons I’ve listed above.
So, let’s say that your “C” score is like the “K” score — 100 points is tops. Here’s my version of a “C” score:
Do you believe you’re created in the image of the holy? 20 points.
Do you see everyone and everything else as also holy? Do you stand in awe of the incredible universe? 20 more points.
Do you understand that you can never do anything so bad that you can’t be forgiven for it? 10 more points.
Did you make the world a better place today? At the end of the day, can you say that the world is better because you were here? 10 more points.
Did you share with someone today? Did you take less than you could have so that someone else could have more? 10 more points.
Did you stand up for someone else who was less fortunate today? 10 more points. Did you put your body on the line for justice? 15 more points.
Did you say or do something today that let people know they were good, loved, or treasured even when it’s hard? 5 more points.
Did you make people curious about why you are this way — why you seem “different”? Do you only tell people after they ask rather than tell them why you’re special before they ask? Do you not care which other people know about your score? Keep all the points you’ve earned above.
This is the score I care about. It’s the score I mentally count every once in awhile to see if I’m living up to the call of my faith. It’s the score I care about when I look at your life — all the while knowing that neither of us is perfect. You may have noticed that none of this says whether you call yourself a Christian or not. That’s between you and God. If you do that, it seems to me, that you get the bonus train to heaven after you die. Either way, I don’t know what’s out “there”. I do know what’s here. If you have a high “C” score, you’re good in my book — I don’t care if you’re a Buddhist, a Taoist, a Muslim, a Christian or an atheist. If you call yourself a Christian but you have a low “C” score, it seems to me you’ve got some explaining to do.
Remember, as Lilly Tomlin said, “If you win the rat race, you’re still a rat”. If you get a high “C” score, you’re anything but.