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Monday, April 4, 2016

God of Instagram

She was a fringe-friend. Someone I knew, but admired from afar.

We'd met in college, and though she was a year older than me, our paths crossed on several academic and social circuits.

After she graduated, she began her wedding and engagement photography business on the cusp of the popularity of Pinterest. Her Facebook and Instagram feeds were filled to their brim with sparkling images. Smiles, new-starts, white dresses and receptions with enviable amounts of twinkle lights.

Somewhere within the folds of her new business, she got married, too. Her followers could capture pictures of her own wedding. Life with her own love and, from what it appeared, her built-in second-shooter for weddings and events.

A few summers ago she photographed a dear friend's wedding. It was set in the summer in Maryland on a golf course. The backdrop was velvet green, and the occasional putter in a golf cart. The evening was all citrus and buttery white wine, a cappella music and dance-offs.

This fringe-friend, the photographer was there. As was her husband. I passed by him shortly before the ceremony.

And I waved. With vigor.

There was only one problem: I didn't know him.

I'd only met him through my Instagram feed. And there was no pretending like I was catching the attention of someone behind him. I had crossed into this weird territory of having his digital image circulate in my mind.

He, of course, was gracious (though confused), and gave me a small wave back. Later that evening, his wife told me that he'd grown accustomed to people believing they knew him. Through Instagram.

That got me thinking about faith. Or, specifically, how I've treated faith.

It might be a trite comparison, but I wonder how many of us walk through our lives believing that we truly know Christ and His word when we really just know him through a passive medium. How many of us have truly broken through the digital veil into the real skin-and-bone world of living as a Christ-follower?

Oftentimes, in my own life, I worship the God of Instagram.

Vaguely. Through a friend of a friend. In church Sunday mornings. Through a passing acquaintance I have admiration for. I scroll through scripture like I would on the app, admiring the surrounding flashes and blips that come with faith:

Beatitudes? Double tap.

Love your neighbor? Double tap.

Fruits of the spirit? Love, joy, peace, double tap.

Death? Resurrection? Double! Tap!

The thing is, scripture talks about this in Matthew 7. About people who claim they know God. About people who prophesy, who do good works and perform many miracles. Who say, Lord, didn't we double-tap in your name? Didn't we filter our lives through your word?

But Christ doesn't know them.

I wonder if he would know someone like me.

Further, how many of us form our opinions on civil rights, gun control, clean eating, politics, [insert hot, blood-boiling topic here] scripture-at-a-glance, a scripture filter, rather than an actual relationship with God. A tangible, deep faith. Still water running deep.

A faith with dimensions outstretching a perfect square. Without room for comments.

An analog faith. A faith unfiltered.

Or a faith that - through its penetrable force in your life, words, deeds, actions, love, future - filters through everything.


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