· Ministry to Men

Living in a culture of ‘snark’

By Bishop Gary Mueller

It’s an understatement of ginormous proportions to say we are living in “interesting times.” Social media outbursts are the norm. Shading others has become an art form. Personal attacks are increasing in intensity. And the media and the U.S. president are engaging in an increasingly hostile dance that seems oddly mutually beneficial.

But there is a great deal more going on than individual tweets, posts and jabs. These individual acts have become pervasive. This behavior has created a pattern. The pattern has become the norm. Suddenly this new norm has created a culture that is divisive, hostile and negative. And sadly in such a culture, anything seems to go.

So how are you going to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ in a culture of snark?

Recognize reality for what it is. Get honest, and confess how you may have been swept up by the world around you without even knowing it has happened. You can’t do this alone. You need God’s help to engage in an honest assessment of your world and yourself.

Embrace how your relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord changes you. What Jesus does for you fundamentally changes your life. So much so that even when it seems most difficult you are not throwing shade, snarking others or adding to the flood of hate. Rather, you are sharing Jesus’ unconditional love that he already shared with you. Quite simply, you live an alternate fact in a world desperately in need of it.

Focus on less snarking and a lot more praying.

Frankly, it can be a real challenge to do all of this when people hurt you deeply, try to sabotage you, and do things that make you righteously––as well as rightly––angry. So start praying. Pray to understand what’s going on with others. Pray that they will not poison you. Pray that you will not respond in kind. Pray that you will cling to God. And pray for them, even if it’s hard. While your prayers may make a difference for them, they definitely will make a difference for you.

Our current culture of snark began with individual tweets, posts and jabs. God’s promise of a new world begins with individual prayers, conversations, acts of mercy and relationships. I pray that you will become excited about all the ways you can help God transform the world by starting in your small corner of it right now.

Come, Holy Spirit, come!

Bishop Gary Mueller, vice president

General Commission on UM Men


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