The Art of Selling Out

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In the past few months, many online articles have crowded my Facebook newsfeed. Perhaps you have had the same articles. Mine are predominately Christian articles; but there are quite a few that are outside of the Christian circle as well. I am certain that you have seen at least a few of these topics:

4 Things to Do When You’re Single and In Your Twenties…
4 Things to Do When You’re Single and In Your Thirties…
7 Money Decisions to Make Right Now…
How to be Happy Where You Are…
What to Do Before You Get Married…
27 Ways to Be a Better Spouse…

I can go on and on but I assume you get the picture. I will be the first to admit that I have clicked on that BuzzFeed article for some cheap entertainment. But I have come to expect that level of article from them. I know that I don’t write about the deepest of topics. I don’t spend time breaking apart Greek or Hebrew. I usually just spend time trying to get people to converse about something. It usually isn’t profound. It’s usually a reminder or an observation.

It didn’t really bother me until I began seeing more and more Christian sources publish the same material. Online sources that once published thought-provoking articles submitted to the god of “click and share.” Instead of asking, “what will make people think?” we began asking, “what will make people click and share and in the process hopefully cause people to think, as well?” There are levels to the online world that I will never understand; but the thing I will always understand the least is: at what point do you sell out?

I believe that people will rise to the level to which we challenge ourselves. It seems like right now we are challenging ourselves to count anywhere from 1-30. We are also challenging ourselves to learn how to live while we are 20…or 30…or 40…or married…or single…

It seems the bar has been lowered and we are okay with that.

NEWSROOMOne of my recent favorite shows was, The Newsroom. I always find Aaron Sorkin to be a genius, but this show seemed to hit it out of the park after each episode. One of the things that struck me was how Sorkin pleaded for decency and for news to actually be news. He argued that the news shouldn’t be about what a celebrity wore to the Oscars, what recent cause a band took up, or how a dog rescued a cat from a burning car. These things are not news. They’re a form of entertainment at best (and I watch the same YouTube videos as you).

This brings me back to the idea that we (and when I say we, I am referring to the American evangelical church) have somewhat sold out. Instead of challenging people to think outside of the box, we urge them to continue thinking inside an even smaller box. We water down instead of explaining. And we would much rather do a series over how to get a spouse before you’re 30 than a series over challenging biblical issues. The evidence for this is found all over the shared stories online. We have succumbed to the idea that if we speak to the general masses, they will listen. Instead, I believe that if we specific groups, the general masses will listen. Instead of thinking about what people will want to hear, we need to think about what they need to hear. This isn’t saying to become arrogant in our language or thoughts. There is a clear line between that and challenging the art of selling out.

We in the evangelical church have been practicing the art of selling out for far too long. I think it is time we reclaimed the higher conversation and began challenging others to rise up to that. Talk about real painful issues. Explore biblical fears. Brainstorm how to move culture forward. Converse with opposing sides. Let us no longer sell out to the god of “click and share” but may we rise up to become something more. And in the process of doing so, may we challenge others in the same way.

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