The word trending is trending in our world today. If you go a day without seeing the word, then you are likely either stranded on a desert isle or over the hill. Twitter started it—but his pesky brothers Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and plenty of their baby cousins have copycatted him. It all started with a rather obscure little figure on every keyboard—one of those that you used to just ignore or would accidentally click when you were trying to capitalize your “t.” That pesky % or ^ or perhaps even the $ would somehow end up in the place of some capitalized letter. Useless! But one of their brothers jumped off the island of unused keys. Like many trending people, he leapt out of obscurity to plaster the pages of every website and social media profile. He even has a hand motion now! His name is “hashtag.” I know him well enough to just call him #. No, Grandma, that’s not the “pound” key or even, Mom, the symbol for “number.” That’s so old school. These days we call it the “hashtag.”
If you were to summarize our generation in just one character, you could punch in #. Many use it just to sound funny or witty, or think that you can use it for whole sentences. #howeverthatiscertainlynottrue. The hashtag is used to capture things that are trending. Things that everyone is talking about. Events, people, random cats that everyone is sharing and posting. You can find the list of such topics on the right hand side of the Facebook home page and the left hand side of Twitter. It changes every day—often every minute! Things come and go from our minds—what is a hot topic for one day may be forgotten the next. Others persist for days and become an indelible part of our culture. Often, the trending topics are events that have happened that could be world-changing. The Pope addresses climate change. A video is released that shows Planned Parenthood people selling baby parts. Donald Trump says something. Kim Davis refuses to issue marriage licenses. Water is found on Mars. Donald Trump says something else.
I think, if hashtags were invented two thousand years ago, that Christ would have frequently looked at the trending topics. He seemed to feel the pulse of the culture He was ministering in and was able to address the hot topics of the day. Most of the time that came when He was questioned by accusing religious leaders. Divorce. The resurrection. The Romans. Taxes. Pilate mixing the Galileans blood with their sacrifices. Notice that He didn’t shy away from the controversial—He embraced it, full on, and stated clearly what God had to say about the trending hashtags of His day.
You see, Christ knew that God and His Word apply to every part of life. The Bible isn’t just a book to understand how to plant or run a church. The Bible’s pages are scattered with the trending topics of our day. Yes, not every issue shows up in the Bible. But the principles found in It apply to every area, every issue. You cannot separate the Bible from today. The Bible is always trend-worthy. It speaks directly into the culture. It confronts the darkness, calls for justice, and calls for the children of light to shine forth. It doesn’t shy away from controversy—and neither should we, the people of the Book. Instead, the Bible calls us to shine. To become trending with Its truth.
So that’s what we’re going to do in this new series. Every week, I’m going to sit down and scan over the trending topics on social media. Then, I’m going to pick one and blog about it. No, it’s not going to be some blasting opinion piece to generate controversy. Rather, I want to Biblically examine the issue or event and apply godly principles to it. I want to honestly discover what the Bible is speaking to us in light of that instance. It may be controversial, because the Bible is controversial. It may not be what you or I agree with, but the Bible is perfect—not us. And the Bible speaks into our messed up world with truth and grace. Are we willing to hear it?
And at the end of each post, I want it to be said that one thing is trending—not my opinion, not my ego, not even the topic at hand, but rather…I want the Bible to be trending.
To see all posts in this series, click here.