Last Thursday, as I was scanning Instagram, I noticed that a number of my good friends were posting pictures of the letter X. Some wrote X on their hands. Others wore t-shirts or hats featuring X. One guy even put an X on his forehead.
Suddenly, after seeing all of my friends posting their Xs, I felt compelled to Instagram my own X.
To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure why everybody was putting Xs on their bodies and showcasing them online. Still, I started thinking about what my X would look like, how I would display it, what app I should use, and what filter would make it look cool(er).
Of course, I assumed it was a good cause, and I was pretty sure, based on the tweets and comments, that the X meme involved trafficking or slavery. But at the time, the only thing I knew about the End It Movement was the hashtag.
But not wanting to appear uninformed or uninterested or uninvolved, I quickly created my X and posted it on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Afterward, I Googled “End it movement” to make sure it was a decent cause, and it was, so I started writing/editing and didn’t think about my X for the rest of the day.
Not a big deal, right?
Sure, it was fake, an action caused more by peer pressure as opposed to passion.
But it’s just an X. And it’s for a good cause—to end slavery!
And yet it’s just an X, that for me was more about fitting in, the appearance that I am truly concerned about the millions of people around the world who are victims of various types of slavery. If I’m truthful, my X did nothing to bring awareness to slavery. It just made me look involved, look informed, and look like I was somehow passionate about the war to end slavery…
And I am passionately against slavery. I mean, I want to be anyway. I’d love to see it come to an end. Because I hate slavery… but I also rarely wake up thinking about how much I hate slavery, about how much God hates slavery.
Sometimes I’m far more Christ-minded online than I am in real life. Online, I stand up for what I believe to be right causes. I stand against what I believe are bad ideas. I promote my beliefs and thoughts about God with passion, emotion, and the occasional big words.
Sometimes my social media Christianity is far more engaged and aware and fearless than my real life faith.
Though I sincerely try to never say or promote or write anything online that I don’t believe or believe in, I fail sometimes. Sometimes I fall prey to using other people’s good ideas or good causes or some aspect of the Christian faith to promote me as opposed to those ideas and causes. Again, but for some of my sarcasms and punch lines, I do my best to only promote or retweet ideas/causes that I believe in…
I mean, I believe in what the X stands for. I believe in it wholeheartedly. But still, that X doesn’t reflect my real life passions… ending slavery is not something I wake up thinking about or go to sleep worrying about…
But it’s just an X, right? Yeah, for me, it’s just an X. But for others, that X represents a travesty that they shed tears over. It represents a concept that they are engaged in, informed about, and passionately pushing to resolve. So no, it’s not just an X. Not for a whole bunch of passionate people dedicated to ending slavery.
I don’t want to be just a “good cause” advocate on social media. If I promote a cause online, I want my words to reflect a part, even if it’s just a small part, of who I am or what I do or what I support in real life.
My feeds are buzzing with a plethora of social media Christianity, people making big statements about God, life, and faith online. And it’s so easy, regardless of who we are—from progressive Christians to conservative Christians to Christians who fall somewhere in the middle—to fall prey to using God and Christianity simply as tools to promote us, to reflect an ideal online that in truth, doesn’t come close to portraying who we are in real life…
Because it’s not just an X. It’s an idea or cause or belief that, on some level, affects real people…
let’s not make it about us forgive me for making it about me.