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Worship in the Modern World

Praising God with the Best of the Past and the Present

Are you a slactivist?

I came across a blog post by Kem Meyer via Tim Stevens the other day (I subscribe to Kem’s blog, but somehow missed this gem!). I’ve written before about the uncomfortableness caused by the whole “post your bra color on Facebook to raise awareness of brest cancer” thing that went down a few months ago, but I think Kem does a great job making her point – I’ll let her explain it. What follows is her post, verbatim.

I’ve been living in tension about all of the missions, causes and campaigns I hear about on a daily basis. It’s been increasingly harder for me to sort it all out and make sense of what’s really going on.

  • Ribbons and magnets for every awareness under the sun
  • Pink appliances, canned goods and fried chicken baskets
  • Avatar overlays for Live Strong, Haiti Relief and the Iran Election
  • Fundraising up charges at the grocery store checkouts for children’s hospitals
  • Twitter RTs and reciprocal blog banners
  • Facebook fan pages and bra color status updates
  • Rubber wristbands

It’s all for a good cause, but is it good? An article in this month’s Fast Company: Helping Humanity With a Click of the  Mouse helped me find the language to articulate some of the angst I’ve been struggling with.

“There’s a newish movement called ‘slactivism.’ Basically, it refers to doing good without having to do much at all. It’s inch-deep activism that doesn’t cost much money and takes even less effort.”

I’m not criticizing people trying to make the world a better place. And, I’m not judging anyone who has participated in anything on my bulleted list above. I honestly don’t assume that these incidental actions are the full picture of a person’s charitable giving or sacrifice. I am, however, going on record stating that the reverse is also true. If you never see me put a magnet on my car, RT your Twitter campaign, join your Facebook cause or put an overlay on my avatar, don’t assume I’m not sacrificially engaged in something bigger than me.

I’m not indifferent to the fact there is more I can do. I will keep pressing into what part God is asking me to play with my resources to make a real difference in our world. But, I am indifferent to aligning myself with anything that resembles the 2010 version of a chain letter.

It feels good to get that in the open. Let the hate mail begin.

THANK YOU KEM! It definitely got me to thinking…

  • I’ve talked with a few people and we’ve gone back and forth over the whole “but it’s for a good cause” rationale. Yes, it’s for a good cause, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t better ways to help the cause.
  • I love her last sentence. Why do so many of these things come off sounding like a chain letter? “If you love Jesus, post this in your profile” Actually, if you love Jesus, act like him – don’t put up a billboard.
  • I think in many ways, it’s a product of our American Christianity that likes everything neat and clean. We don’t want to be bothered by actually DOING anything, we just want to support a cause in appearance only. It’s the reasons that many churches are comfortably filled on Sunday morning but end up much emptier when there’s “real work” (e.g. missions, projects, Bible study, etc.) to be done.

What about you? Have you participated in ‘slactivism’? How do you feel about some of these campaigns and their methods? How do you make a difference with your life? Let the conversation commence.

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