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May 04, 2010

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Michael Schutz

No hate mail from me, Kem!

For Christians, Jesus was very clear about this: doing good and then telling people you're doing good isn't the goal. In fact, Hem warns against it and goes the complete opposite direction (Matthew 6:1-4). In our day, could we apply this by actually striving for this (from the post): "If you never see me put a magnet on my car, RT your Twitter campaign, join your Facebook cause or put an overlay on my avatar, don’t assume I’m not sacrificially engaged in something bigger than me." Should that not be our default mode - no wristbands, no bumper stickers, no "look-at-how-good-I-am-because-I-give" momentos?

What if we simply did what God led us to do and didn't worry about all these visible signs of what we're doing?

I know that doesn't help solve the tension. Thanks for posting the question!

Scott Courey

Yes, technology is a mearly a magnifyer of our boomer-led pursuit of the American Dream - working hard to be comfortable and raising kids that "make us proud". Get God to sanction our houses, cars, club soccer teams, high ACT scores (so our kids can be like us), and mission trips (so they can be a little bit better than us), then leveraging technology to get it done.

Our confused kids respond with a double message:
1. Thanks for cell phone, gifts, camps and praises when I do well and look nice. Keep it coming,and;
2. (Your life is hollow and I don't want mine to be) Send me to Africa (so I can get far enough away from all of this to find some meaning).

Our kids recruit worthy social outreach groups on FB next to their bikini profile pics then teach us how to donate online and find our HS classmates, all while agreeing to our requirement of 2-hour Sunday morning spectating.

Technology won't cure baby-boomer self-centeredness. But it just might magnify it enough to quicken our path toward deep repentance. In the meantime, I suppose we'll keep using magnets and window stickers to brag about our favorite causes and favorite kids.

JamesBrett

i agree i can't assume a dollar in the check-out lane is all this guy's doing for the poor. and i'm with you that i also can't assume that other guy doesn't care about cancer unless he wears a yellow wristband.

but what gets at me, i think, is the popularity of such forms of giving and why we prefer them. two ideas come to mind:

1) many of us choose to give in these ways, because it doesn't require any commitment, time, or sacrifice. we can meet our responsibilities for helping others while keeping a distance. i'm not willing to go to a nursing home and hug on women who poop their pants, but i'll pay a buck to put a christmas tree in the window at mcdonald's to support said nursing home. i'm not willing to tutor an underprivileged kid on wednesday afternoons, but i'll buy a raffle ticket for tickets to a college football game -- and the benefits go to the boys' club. why bother getting stink on us or giving more than money when we can "sacrifice" by buying the album we already wanted at a few dollars over normal price?

2) some of these forms of giving are becoming status symbols -- or at least fashionable apparel. and we wouldn't have given a dime before it was cool.

still, giving is giving and helping is helping... to some extent. so i'd rather it happen than not. i think.

Jay Johnson

I completely agree as well.

Danielle Hartland

you need a like button up in here.

triple like!

Barry

Honestly, it's not ministry if it doesn't cost you something.

Scott Meyer

I agree something needs to be done about this. As soon as someone creates a "Stand Against Slactivism" facebook page or group I will be sure to join. Who's with me?

Scott Smith

My sentiments exactly Kem. "Slactivism" came to my attention this year when my college-aged daughter came home from Passion 2010 and said, "Dad, you may see charge on our cell phone bill. I sent a text to make a donation to..." You get the picture. She took part in making the world a better place. It didn't cost her anything. I got stuck with the bill.

David

Awesome post. I think you summed up very well what many of us think and feel. Thanks Kem

Kevin Birmingham

Thank you.

STEVE DUNN

You described my sentiments to a "T". Then I read Jeremy's comment and found even better words than I could post. A cup of cold water given in Jesus' name was never intended to be a drive-by act of grace, it was intended to be the fruit of a life that was deeply immersed in relationships that demonstrated the love of Christ. How do I connect my acts of kindness to Christ (including their effect on my own life) if my help of humanity is simply another "chain email"?

Dan Clark

Bravo! I refuse to feel guilty because I am not giving a dollar, buyng a pin. magnet, etc. I carefully choose where I put my money and effort instead of "shotguning" them in an effort to "feel better."

Jeremy Scheller

No hate mail here. I've thought about this a lot in the last year. Had some mini campaigns of my own. Some very successful, some not so much. In the end, I still support the social media giving network, even though I've come to some additional conclusions on the issue...

At some point our culture decided, rather capitalistically, that we could solve the world's ills through the marketplace. Through dollars and cents.

Here's a problem.
Here's why you should care.
Here's how you can do something about it from your home office.
No pain for you. Small gains for the world.

Congratulations, problem solved. Well, not really.

What we're experiencing is a widening gap between the problem and the solution.

Rarely is the solution simply monetary, though, that seems to be all we ask of people, and ask of ourselves. God doesn't need us for that. The first Christians were called "Followers" because they were literally on the move. God doesn't want us to sit on our asses watching our 401k's grow and tossing a few bucks around to fix everything.

It's gone beyond donor fatigue. It's an identity problem. We think we have the power to change the world by having a nickel from our $5 coffee support something somewhere that i'll never see or feel. And yet we somehow feel good about it and most of it is drivel.

What we need is loving relationships. Relationships that demand mutual sacrifice, reap mutual transformation, and result in human identities converging into a God-designed picture of his kingdom. Yes, it will still require resources. But the greatest resource we have is not in a bank account.

This probably all sounds angst like "Jeremy's having another bad day." Actually, I feel empowered. I feel like for the first time in my life, I have energy to be a hands on solutions rather than just a donor.

Anyway...thanks for letting me use your blog without asking to get that all out...

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