Some of you may have seen the recent articles that came out yesterday and today, of SocalityBarbie and the lampooning of all things deemed pretentious, fake, and hipster. I reckon you’re probably not thrilled to have your name tacked right on the front. There seems to be a lot of bashing on desiring to “live authentic” and appreciate your surroundings, to enjoy well-made things, and to actually follow Jesus as a young person. The things that do well eventually are mocked – it’s the envy of human nature. But I’ve seen other Christians making fun of you, claiming that you’re promoting a cheapened form of “cultural Christianity” and mocking the things you enjoy and like. Maybe it’s to seem cool. Maybe it’s a legitimate theological beef. Regardless, I want to leave you a brief note of encouragement.
First off, in the realm of things that are not sin, such as eating, drinking or, by extension (in my opinion) styles of worship, aesthetics, taste, etc., the scriptures speak this:
“The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.” – Romans 14:22-23
The scriptures provide us freedom to not all be a foot or an eye, so to speak. Even groups within the Church with a consistent and identifiable culture are not necessarily a bad thing. It can be bad, but it isn’t essentially bad, if the higher aim and the goal is Christ and His glory. I know from experience that Socality has reached people unreachable by other parts of the Church, and there are different roles to play here. Christ permeates society. Christ is not a culture, He transmutes culture into that which is set apart.
A house divided against itself cannot stand, and although the Church is unified and we can’t do anything about it, simply because the eternal unity of the Church is not of our own doing, but is grounded in our very nature as being one with Christ, we make the church a laughing stock by not standing firm with each other. Temporal unity in this world is sacrificed on the altar of the cultural acceptance of a crumbling, effervescent world. When we reject and mock others in the Church, we are not “standing against unity in the Church.” It’s much more. Frankly, we are standing against Christ by standing against those for whom he died, and standing with a world that is choosing to die.
“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” – Luke 10:16
Therefore, I believe it’s inappropriate for Christians to be mocking other Christians. We all do things that others think are silly, superfluous, commonplace, or excessive. One man’s evangelism can be another man’s bully pulpit. One man’s tact in sharing the Gospel can be another man’s cowardice to speak truth. Are we really willing to divide ourselves intentionally from another group within the church in order to create some fashionable, snarky, and iconoclastic image for ourselves? Isn’t that far worse than what Socality is being lampooned for? “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” – Romans 2:1.
No man approaches the world perfectly except for Jesus. Even then, how many people passed judgment on Him for healing on the Sabbath, or healing the man with demons by driving them into a herd of pigs, or any of the other accusations leveled against the Son of God. He’s a glutton, he’s a heretic, he’s possessed and channeling demons.
All things are hated by some. The question needs to be: “why am I hated?” Is it really because I’m a hypocrite? Or is it because I’m showing people Jesus and they hate Him? If we are hated, it must be because of His Name and nothing else.
I think it’s an important point for those who are involved with the Socality movement to closely examine their hearts to see why they want to be part of the movement. Is it for the social relationships alone? Is it to be part of something trendy? Is it pride? Or is the purpose truly grounded in Christ’s Great Commission to go and make disciples as you go, and to glorify Him with your art? Is it truly to be fearful and wonderful creators, even as you were fearfully and wonderfully created? That for you and God to decide. Take the question seriously.
As for those of the Church who are openly and publicly ridiculing your brothers and sisters: 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 immediately comes to mind as a word for this. Ephesians 4:29 is the standard laid out for us in our social interactions. I’ve tried my best, in this article, to adhere to that standard, and I hope no one walks away feeling condemned, but rather I hope to encourage the higher path of unity. Unity means loving others to cover not only their sin, but also their differences in opinion over surface details. Water makes smooth stones.
Socality: continue to seek Jesus, make Him the center of your movement, take heart, and be of good courage, my brothers and sisters, for He has overcome the world.
It’s dangerous to go alone, take this! (✝)