Living Faith in an Age of Like

[ 5 ] Comments

by NotMolly

A Collection of Minion Thumbs courtesy of The AuthorMy friends Like (according to a website I visit at least once every day) everything from yogurt brands to football teams to fancy cupcake supplies to various homeschool curricula to vegetarian recipe sites to television shows to feeding the homeless to home improvement stores to scrapbooks to church and Jesus Christ.

Yes, you can click a tiny thumbs-up image and “Like” Jesus. Or service. Or prayer. Or missionaries. Or church leaders.

Clicking Like is pretty easy. I can do it from where I sit, and I don’t even have to rearrange my elbow, or disturb the hot clay pack I use to ease up my carpal tunnel issues. So, Liking definitely fits with my busy schedule. I can multi-task my Liking, because I generally have about six open programs or tabs, so it’s not going to slow down my day much.

If I click Like, I feel good about myself. Look at all the other nice people who’ve Liked what I Like! We’re all really nice, good people! And surely, when others see how many nice people Like this important thing, it will spur more Liking, and that Liking will spread around the world! Liking is so good!

If I click Like, I’m publicly showing my support for Good Things. That’s really important, because I want to be a good disciple, and not Hide My Light Under a Bushel. So, Liking is a great part of gospel activity, because I’m Shining, right there in public on the internet.

If I click Like, my Liking shows up on my friends’ pages, too, so they’ll know that we Like the same things. Or, if we don’t Like the same things, maybe they’ll feel a little bit guilty, and want to Like the same good things as me and everyone else.

It’s just the same as that time we were all out building houses for people who had no homes, and my friend walked by, and saw us all working. They decided to jump in and build a house, too, and when we finished the day, there were even more homes to shelter those in need.

Right?

If I’m honest, there’s one very large flaw in my Liking.

It’s a letter K.

If we were playing word games, I’d want to swap that K, and hope I got a V in exchange. Instead of sitting and Liking things, I could be Living them instead. I could buy a vowel, and swap out the I for an O.

I’d transform Like into the twin principles of discipleship: Live and Love. Liking requires nothing. Living and Loving require everything. Living and Loving require sacrifice.

In the sixth sermon of Lectures on Faith, we find this statement, most often attributed to Joseph Smith:

“A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”

Being a big, big nerd, I enjoy reading dictionaries. Words mean things, and I like (and have Liked) knowing what those things are. Many words have more than one meaning, or meanings that change over time. Sacrifice is one of those. The roots of the word, from the Latin sacrificium, refer to a concept deeper than just “giving stuff up.” The roots are here: sacred, and to make. To sacrifice is to make sacred or holy.

To have a Living and Loving faith, rather than a Liking faith, requires sacrificium. It requires making. It’s not a description of what I plan to give up in order to get something else. It’s an active task of making sacred, of transforming mundane things into holy things. My religion, as established by Jesus Christ, does demand that I sacrifice (make sacred) all things, so that I can develop the faith necessary for life and salvation. It requires that I make sacred my Like by exchanging a few letters, transforming my life from that of a fan, to that of a disciple.

The Jesus Christ who made sacred all suffering through the Atonement did not sit about clicking Like. He put His sandals on the road, and went about making His Father’s will and work manifest on earth. He put His hands on the heads of real, flawed, despairing people, and healed them. He put His hands on real food, and multiplied it to serve the needs of people who hungered. For Jesus Christ, everything was dedicated to a sacred purpose. Fill the body’s need for food, and open the door to the soul’s need to satisfy an eternities-deep hunger for God. Heal the body’s sickness, and open the door to the soul’s need for healing from sin and pain.

He didn’t click Like on a page about the Father’s plan of Salvation. He Lived it, with a great and capital L, and every action sprang from His overwhelming and abiding Love. He very clearly laid out my job, if I want to be a disciple of His: love everyone He loves, as He loves them. Live that love, and make it manifest in the world. Become His hands, His feet.

When Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest, He responded, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”

What happens when we allow our hearts, souls, and minds to be sacrificed and made sacred through love of God?

“When we truly understand how great a blessing the gospel of Jesus Christ is in our lives, when we accept and embrace these eternal truths and allow them to sink deep into our hearts and souls, we experience a “mighty change” in our hearts. We are filled with love and gratitude. As the prophet Alma wrote, we feel “to sing the song of redeeming love” to all who will hear it.”

~ M Russell Ballard

We start with Love, and allow it to make us sacred.

We change the O for an I, and allow it to make our lives sacred.

We expand. We serve. We share joy. We build. We walk. We reach. We lift. We mourn. We feed. We testify. We delight. We dedicate. We sweat.

We Love. We Live.

I won’t limit myself to Liking.

So, let’s chat: how do we Live our faith in an age when a shallow “Like” substitutes for the grander parts of our existence? How are you taking on the challenge to turn Liking into Living, through the Love that makes our human experience sacred?

About NotMolly

Liz blogs as NotMolly, and lives on the western reaches of the Rocky Mountains with her Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal husband, their four beloved Minions, a huge number of books and assorted musical instruments, and four very spoiled pet hens. She can occasionally be somewhat serious and ponder The Big Stuff. And then she'll probably lapse into puns again...

5 Responses to Living Faith in an Age of Like

  1. Bonnie says:

    I have to agree that clicking is so tempting. I’m not one to look down on my kids and their devices, because I LOVE technology and what it offers us at our fingertips. Learning, exploring, connecting – but real growth is in doing, and I have to move away from a piece of technology sometimes to do that. For me, it means turning away and talking to people, leaving the house and taking the meal over that I promised on facebook I would bring, and staying and talking instead of running back to do more things online. There’s little that has happened in front of a screen that has made my life sacred. I can remember that when I’m holding my grandbabies and helping my kids rather than looking at pictures of them online when they’re in the next room.

  2. I am an avid “liker” of the Church’s official websites on Facebook, Google, YouTube, wherever else in social media they might be. Ironically, “liking” these pages/channels/etc is the way I “live” my faith – when I “like” and “share” the Church’s pages and their posts, my friends (many of whom are non members, or perhaps don’t have as strong of a foundation in the gospel) get to see these posts, when they might not otherwise.

    I do struggle sometimes with finding places outside the social media realm to “share” and “like” the Church’s programs. I think I will, like Bonnie, try to focus a little more on the face-to-face sharing of the gospel – not that there isn’t a place for sharing the gospel on social media – we just have to make sure that it doesn’t completely replace what happens in real life.

  3. I appreciate the hymn “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?” especially the chorus “So wake up and do something more than dream of your mansion above.” (Alex Boye did a music video of this song recently that was so full of joy of life that it stuck in my head at least a week.)
    When I find myself getting too pulled into the virtual, it helps to sing that song to myself and evaluate how the day is going according to what is expressed in the song.

  4. I think there’s a place for liking, but it’s easy to lose track of time when shifting your attention so quickly from one thing to another. In-person service has a longer duration, and with that duration comes depth.

    Our lives our deeper when we care enough about a few things to devote our time and attention to them at length, sacrificing other things we might otherwise have done.

  5. NotMolly says:

    In our area, we used to have an official Humanitarian Services
    department attached to a Deseret Industries store. With the changes in
    the way Humanitarian Services are organized, some service opportunities
    are now being done at one of the local meeting houses, once a week…
    and people are showing up to work to provide for the physical needs of
    those around us. It’s very, very cool. It’s analog, man! :)

    Learning
    to Love and Live is, I think, a prime opportunity to follow the counsel
    of our leaders and find points of common faith with good people of all
    walks of life. If I’m in an area with a charity quilting circle run by
    the Baptists, I’m going to bring my LDS hands to the Baptists, and
    further God’s work with them.

    For me, face-to-face gospel sharing
    won’t always (or even often) involve a gospel discussion. Many times,
    it’s shared service that connects our hearts to other hearts, and I
    begin to appreciate and understand the deep compassion another has for
    God’s children. It’s gorgeous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>