Thursday, January 28, 2016

This is Jenn

One of the things that people seem to love about FaceBook is the quizzes that tell them something about themselves. This past week, my FaceBook page was covered by short stories accompanied by a little stick figure. The stories varied from person to person, and some were somewhat true. I clicked on the link and got this story:

This is Jenn.

Jenn doesn't play games on FaceBook.

Jenn is smart.

Be like Jenn.

Well, it is true. Mostly. There are a handful of you who know that I actually do play Words With Friends, but I just don't have it linked to my FaceBook account, so FaceBook doesn't know. FaceBook can glean a lot from what I post, but FaceBook is not omniscient.

And yet, these types of quizzes are amazingly popular!

"Which Disney princess are you?"

"What Bible character are you?"

"Who should you marry?"

"What does your color preference say about your personality?"

And we click, and we click, and we click. We click knowing that it's just a game. That it isn't real. That the results may not even be close to true. But the quizzes keep coming, and we keep playing. And suddenly, this week, I realized why.

We long for someone to tell us our story. We long to find our truth, to know our song, to become our real selves.

FaceBook tries to fill this need, but fails. FaceBook doesn't really know you, FaceBook only knows the face that you have chosen to show to the world. FaceBook cannot speak your truth, sing your song, or tell you something about yourself that you don't already know. But there is someone who can.

There is someone who can tell you your story, sing you your song, show you your real self. He can do this because he wrote your story, composed your song, knitted your body.

And the amazing thing is this: He loves you.

(I hate to tell you this, but FaceBook doesn't love you.)

What if we stopped clicking on quizzes and started seeking our Truth from the One who knows it? It takes a lot more energy and intentionality, but it produces real and satisfying results.

The thing is, the western evangelical church has long "pooh-pooh-ed" the idea of self-awareness, lumping such a pursuit into the categories of self-seeking, self-serving, and self-centered. But this is wrong! We were created with a deep desire to be known, and we cannot experience the intimacy of being known if we do not know ourselves. The very thing that people are seeking by engaging in these FaceBook quizzes is actually a holy pursuit. A sadly misguided, but holy pursuit. The longing is holy, but as is often the case with humans, the means of seeking to fulfill that longing is profane.

So here's an idea. My friend and colleague Dietrich Schindler is a leading church planter in Germany. He noticed this reality--this basic desire to discover one's story--a while back. He also saw it as a possible means of helping people discover the Greatest Story Ever Told! So he created a discovery Bible Study that speaks to this desire. It's called "MyLife Workshop" and it has already been translated into several languages, including English and French.

Our church is going to start offering "MyLife Workshop" for those who want to learn more about their own story through the lens of the Gospel. It's a six-week evangelistic study that invites people to see their stories as part of a bigger story.

Is this something that you could do? Yes! There is some training involved, but it's available online. Clearly, people are hungry to know their story. So hungry that they will settle for a silly FaceBook quiz. What if you invited your friends and family (those who do not know Jesus!) to join you for a real-life experience where they can discover their real-life story? It is such an easy bridge to the Gospel, and one that speaks to a need that FaceBook has helped to expose.

This is Jenn.

She wants to help people discover their real story.

She knows Jesus is the author of that story.

Jenn loves Jesus and people.

Be like Jenn.

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