“Soo Memes” Takes Aim at Christians, And Why It Matters
When I logged on to Facebook this morning, one of the first things I saw was the latest meme created by Soo Memes. (If you don’t know what a meme is, basically it is a picture with a clever or funny caption on it. In the case of Soo Memes, they do this with things related to Sault Ste. Marie culture.) You can view this meme by clicking here. It is a picture of one of the local church road signs with the words “Searching for truth? Read the Bible.” written on it. The meme caption states “Daylight was created before the sun. Seems legit.” It’s a reference to the creation story in Genesis chapter 1 which states that God created daylight on day 1 of creation, yet created the sun on day 4.
This seeming contradiction is the target of Soo Memes humour here, attempting to point out the discrepancy and thus debunk the statement that the Bible is the source of truth. Certainly any number of other Bible “discrepancies” could have been used here; the specific one is not really the point. Rather, the point is to display the silliness of believing that the Bible is God’s Word and full of truth, and perhaps even that religion and Christianity in particular is stupid.
The actual pot-shot taken here doesn’t really bother me. As a Christian and pastor, I’ve heard plenty of very anti-Christian comments and arguments that were far more severe, blunt, or even downright vicious. The specific discrepancy itself is laughably weak, considering that God doesn’t need the sun to shine light. Since when is He subject to the limits of His own creation? Not only this, but in Revelation we are told that at the end of history God replaces the sun with His own glory. He is light, the gospel of John declares, and so He is not dependent upon the sun for anything. In fact, the sun, as with the entire universe, is dependant upon Him. It is God who holds all things together in the universe (Colossians 1:17).
That being said, there is something very important for the believer to pay attention to here. It is the general hostility and distaste for the Christian faith that exists in our world and, more importantly for me, in my own city. This should form our way of thinking in at least three ways:
1. We are a post-Christian culture. Not that this should be news for most people. Unless you pay virtually no attention to the world around you, this should be obvious. Yet somehow we may have failed to grapple with what this really means. Simply complaining about how far from God the world is moving is not an appropriate response to this situation. Our hearts should break for those who are wandering from life in Jesus, and we should desperately be pleading with the Father to reveal His Son to them. We’ve got to stop thinking that doing things the same as before and looking back on the religious success of yesteryear will be enough to reach this generation with Christ. It will not. This brings me to point two…
2. We must re-evaluate how we do evangelism. There are a lot of valid ways to do evangelism. The Bible gives a lot of freedom in this area, and we should make full use of any creative or uncreative idea as we can. At the same time, however, a responsible approach will consider the view of the culture and then respond in relevant ways. For example, tracts were very popular in my parents and grandparents generation and definitely had some success. And while tracts are still a valid evangelistic method, they likely won’t be as effective as they used to be. The reason is that a generation ago the world was not as hostile to faith as it is now. People used to think that religion was valuable even if they weren’t religious themselves. Now, people think of religion as damaging to society. A tract will simply not have the same effect as it used to, at least generally speaking.
This is why I feel very committed to the “missional” model of evangelism. This method, which is really nothing new but is being somewhat rediscovered, essentially takes the position that evangelism is done best when real relationships in everyday life are involved. I share my faith within a friendship, where other things can be talked about and life can be shared. It means that rather than impersonally handing an outline of the gospel to someone I don’t know, I share my own testimony with someone who already values what I say because I have earned their trust by being a helpful friend over a period of time. Within this framework, we can still disagree about faith issues but have a chance to discuss them, ask questions, respond, share doubts, give real-lif examples, and demonstrate true personal care for the other person. While I would never say that God can’t move powerfully in a person’s life based on other methods of evangelism, I am still convinced that back-and-forth discussions within personal relationships is the best avenue for the Holy Spirit to move in a person’s life.
3. We have a lot of work to do. Are you committed to the cause of Christ? I mean really committed? Not just in the “I’m a Christian and I go to church” kind of way, but the “Jesus is my everything and I will live every day for Him” kind of way? It’s a good question to ponder, because in order to see people come to faith in an anti-Christian culture, we’re going to need Christians who are deeply committed for the long haul. We need Christians who will, over weeks and months and years, reach out to other people and show them the love of Christ in practical ways in order share with them the love of Christ found in the cross. This is no small task. It is swimming upstream against the pull of the cultural sway, and it will take courage and faith to make the journey. It will cost you deeply as you turn away from other pursuits you’d rather engage in, and break your heart when those you pray for continue to reject Jesus for years and years. Yet it is the only true response to this crisis.
I ask you, fellow believer, are you willing take a stand? To enlist in the army of God and fight for the souls of men? To thwart the plans of the enemy by not sitting on the sidelines any longer, but overcoming the world by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your own testimony? Don’t waste your life. Don’t play games with people’s eternal fate, including your own. Strive like Paul to be able to say “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished the race.” You are needed, and the time is now.