Multempire - Thoughts on Youth Ministry

Clearing YM Noise Away

Posts tagged Love

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Christian - Y U No Post Memes? Translation - Why Don't Christians Discuss Memes?

To see a collection of Christian Themed Memes Click Title or Click HERE.

I don’t know if Christians are aware of a conversation taking place on the internet.  The conversation is primarily visual, involves lots of laughter, is challenging and often evokes gut reactions, and is often denigrating to believers of Christ.  I did notice, however that these conversations are full of misunderstandings and misconceptions, and if there are no Christians involved in the conversation, and providing a voice of love and compassion in this world, there will be no gains or healing.  This conversation is done in the form of MEMES.

Memes are humor based one or two liners that are associated with an image that grabs attention.  Our culture is becoming incredibly visual in the internet age.  The person who said an image is worth a thousand words is probably understating their importance today.  The visual is the message in these cases.  They evoke an emotion or a feeling or a familiarity associated with pop culture.  The consumer reads the image and wants to learn more, so they read the words – placed in often unattractive yet attention grabbing white fonts.

If you still don’t know what a meme is, check out the lolcat memes at http://icanhascheezburger.com/. That is a generally inoffensive meme place, where people share funny photos of cats saying funny things.  There really is no point but entertainment there.

My point comes into play at the philosophical level, where young people, adept at using computers, are using their time to make arguments using memes – and these memes spread on social media sites, or are googled, etc.  They go viral, and people nod their heads in laugh, but they’re only seeing one side of the argument.  In fact, I’ve found that in their mini-debates, fallacy in argument seems to be the rule.  If you build up a “straw man” enemy (the weakest argument by your weakest opponent), and tear it down easily, you win.

I do wonder, if there were more intelligent (yet humorous) Christian memes out there, speaking truth in clever ways, would the dialogue change towards (1) Honest Dialogue (2) More Truth Seeking (3) A Spirit of Charity (4) Less Vulgarity on the interwebs?  I wonder.  Though I’m not holding my breath, and I have found it hard to sit down myself and think through appropriate yet insightful memes, I have found some interesting ones that talk to the Christian Experience, or communicate old messages in new ways (in the gallery below – feel free to click through).  I have found them all through the net and many of them have no attributions, so I apologize for not linking.  They have been passed around quite a bit.

In my thoughts I have struggled with the question, “Why don’t Christian’s Laugh?”  - as much, especially when it comes to our own failures in faith.  I understand that our walks are serious, and as Christians we have a huge amount of responsibility (in which we have often failed), but in all honesty, God made us as humans ‘like’ God, not as gods.  We err, and for some reason, laughter is a form of healing which we need, and often breaks the ice for more serious discussion and growth.

It is a hard subject though, because pop images and modern assumptions are not evenly spread in the minds of people.  Not everyone gets a reference to emo glasses used in images, or of Indiana Jones or Chuck Norris quotes being used as propellants for a hidden truth.  There is the possibility of offense, so I do walk lightly here.  The intention of all this is not to offend, but to get people thinking about what is already going on.

I do not recommend just googling “Christian Meme” without you realizing that most memes out there are people who have obviously taken a strong anti-Christian stance and often communicate it in vile and venomous ways.  It is a wild west kind of culture, and there are literally no rules right now.  That is because it comes out of the “trolling” anonymity of the internet.

But that is why I believe that good, well written and made Christian memes could add a new dimension, and perhaps one day eclipse the ridiculousness of the culture. Speak truth in love,  in a way that others will understand, and perhaps you will see God move in the hearts of people.  And you may see discipleship start with a few chuckles, as long as we point to the depth of understanding and wisdom that a life devoted truly to Christ can offer.

Here are some that I’ve found.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

christian-why-u-no-post-memes-thumbDwight-2Peter3v91Hipster Cat Sin
Jesus Meme Luke 6 29JEsus BabyKeanu-Fasting
Golden rulesuccess-kid-healingJesus Got it Meme
tumblr_m10wbhXCck1rr8sgoo1_400success-kid-contextinternet-memes-i-saved-you-before-you-sinned

Church Table and Chairs meme

Filed under Christian Meme Conversation Youth Ministry Humor Life Living Love Candid Culture Critique

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Want to Help the Developing World? Informative Article on What to Avoid or be Wary Of

Youth Ministers, we have a lot coming at us, and we give a lot of messages about doing good in the world.  A lot of your church members also want to do good and are likely adding dollars and labor to all sorts of missionary projects whether for the church or through a commercial company who has promised to do “good” somewhere.

This article above, shared by my good friend Matt @Wiatt (Twitter), and from the MatadorNetwork.  My commentary below.

What most people don’t think about is that every drop in a puddle makes a ripple, and not all ripples are good.  I remember a missions trainer telling a story of a Methodist minister who was working in an area and teaching people how to make their own clothing.  A small economy was likely possible and people were learning skills.  One day, a missionary group from out of town brought boat loads of t shirts and brought them to the center of town. The donors were immediately swamped by people of the area scrambling for the free clothing.  The Methodist missionary just looked on as all the work they had done would be set back.  

The implication being, “If we can get something for free, why make it ourselves.”  Also, it makes a dependent system where people simply wait for more supplies rather than seek to make or grow it up themselves.  Systems of poverty are strengthened.  And the team that brought the t shirts goes home and tells their church how needy the people were.

I try to reverse every situation, and I thought to myself.  What would we do, as Americans, if someone came from Brazil and had suitcases full of brand new sneakers and stopped in Times Square in New York City?  Certainly, there would be tons of people who would clamor for the shoes.  The Brazilian missionaries would feel like they did some good.  But what does that ripple do?

Shoe sellers in New York would first of all have a few less sales.  Not much, but its something.  

Those able to give, who live in New York City, would then have an excuse not to give.  ”Oh, well, the Brazilians are do such good work.  We are thankful.”  If the perception is that others are helping, we are less likely to help our own.  I think that Americans try to take pride in helping our own people - and it should stay that way.  But outside help makes us more dependent.

The people that got shoes, when that pair wears out, may look for the missionaries next time they need shoes rather than finding a self sufficient way to earn the shoes.  This is bad for everyone.  

Now think about how we help others.  Is our missionary effort having an imperialistic and dependent bent - or are we finding ways to help others help themselves.  Care and compassion are moot if we don’t treat the other as a capable being, or surrounded by capable people who have responsibility.  Every missions opportunity should not just be about feeling bad for people around the globe, rather - it should be about connecting with other people of faith, supporting them, and asking, How can we help you help your neighbor.  

Brain shift!

Filed under Missions rethinking help others love life youth ministry matador network toms shoes economics of help economy article resource

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In this video a UCLA girl rants in the name of politeness pointedly at Asians on her campus.  This video went viral and has had over a million hits mostly because the shock that someone would post this even referencing and downplaying students calling their families due to the Tsunami. 

Two lessons here for youth and anyone really.

(1) What you post online is not anonymous.  If you have a mean whim and you post it - it can go viral and be on the news.  It may ruin you and you need to check yourself before posting.

Psalm 15

A psalm of David.

 1 LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
   Who may live on your holy mountain?

 2 The one whose walk is blameless,
   who does what is righteous,
   who speaks the truth from their heart;
3 whose tongue utters no slander,
   who does no wrong to a neighbor,
   and casts no slur on others;
4 who despises a vile person
   but honors those who fear the LORD;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
   and does not change their mind;
5 who lends money to the poor without interest;
   who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

   Whoever does these things
   will never be shaken.

(2) As bullying and teasing increase - ask your youth how they would respond if they saw someone speaking like this about another group, or even one person.  Kids take teasing very seriously and internalize criticism no matter how irrational.  This discussion is a time bomb that needs to be diffused in many kids hearts.

James 1:27

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Without mocking the girl, can this video help your kids understand how harmful their words can be?

Filed under lesson youth ministry gospel social justice peace love hope viral UCLA Asian

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Use this Super Bowl ad to teach youth how to care for others.  When the pug dog hits the glass, justice is served. Girls love the dog, guys love the twist ending and you all can learn a quick lesson. 

Kind of “how not to be” but teach on how you could be.  No one likes someone who likes to hurt others for their own entertainment.  Instead teach on 1 Timothy 6:11-16:

 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you  to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,  which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,  who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

Filed under Super Bowl Ad Pug Dog Doritos Twist Ending youth minitry love caring video resource

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Illustration on Love: Elderly Couple Crash Into Church - Blame GPS

This article shared by @gavoweb is something you don’t want to laugh at (like when Micheal Scott did it in The Office), but it teaches us a lesson.  Basically, an elderly couple lost their way, and when the GPS system (horribly faulty) told them to turn into a church, they did. 

As Valentine’s day comes, we need to teach students that Love is more than just following a feeling (like GPS) and that it is a much higher thing than we give it credit for.  Read 1 Corinthians 13 and see how high marks Love gets.  Kids need to know that Love is smart - and that Love is something ultimate that can guide their lives.  But its NOT just a feeling - It stems from God and transforms everything.  Absolutely everything soulward out.

Don’t crash your heart.

Filed under love illustration valentines day teaching resource