What do Charlie Sheen, Muammar Gaddafi, and Rob Bell have in common?
So what category do they all fit in? People who entertained me in the 80’s? 2 out of three ain’t bad. People who have recently gone even more insane than ever before? Only 2 verified at this point. Trending topics on Twitter in the last few days? BINGO!
Charlie Sheen has been riding that high normal people sadly feel when they get a brilliant idea at 2:30am. I’ll press “send” and ensure that my life is chaotic for the next three days! But he has named it “Charlie Sheen!” his new drug of choice. It’s “always on surround sound of crazy” and you can almost see in his eyes that he knows he’s gone. The absolute self-worship of what remains of the mind of a rock star actor. Yet, even in his “sheened” state he knows how to grab attention. And the world is more than willing to tune in to watch him self-destruct (read: “winning 2011”). I guess the human spirit has a launch button for when you pass rock bottom but don’t get the memo. I’m sad that such a talented and creative person was seduced into this nightmare (by his own evil desires? Only God knows…) America loves comebacks as much as they love self-destruction. But the original model may not ever be back. This isn’t funny because the trail of devastation is very real. So why do we watch?
Again, it’s tempting to laugh at Gaddafi. When I was too young to understand the issues I actually enjoyed the show as he defied President Reagan with the craziest messages I’d ever heard. It just needed a Gnarls Barkley soundtrack. It reminded me of my neighbor’s t-shirt. A hawk is swooping down on a mouse who is looking up. The caption reads “Last great act of defiance!” Then you notice the mouse is giving him the finger! I imagined the fighter jets decimating his house, which they did. But he actually lived to cruelly dictate for another 24 years! Even came out against Al Qaeda. It’s tempting to laugh until you think about anti-aircraft shells entering the bodies of civilians calling for freedom. Then crying’s not enough.
And Rob Bell is the lone evangelical making it to the top of the twit-heap for something not involving breaking a commandment! But of course we need to burn him at the stake before we know for sure what to charge him with. And I’m sure it’s tempting for the world to laugh at our pettiness. And Harper-One’s (publishers of his new book) accounting team will be the first people in history to actually laugh all the way to the bank. Winning!
So Twitter tells us what we’re looking at for better or for worse. And it seems to be where we reach for the angry button. A lot. Or the shock-value button. Or the crazy button. There are exceptions. My daughter’s sweet friend keeps using it to tell Justin Bieber she loves him and happy birthday and please follow me! And yes you can even follow various versions of “Jesus” in the twitter-sphere. Mostly it’s a social platform to promote ideas, whether those ideas are crazy, crazier, or savvy. Whether leveraged for money, fame, or toppling evil regimes. The choice is yours which messages you send or receive. Kind of like life.
N.T. Wright said that the resurrection had a purpose “to colonize earth with the life of heaven.” I’m wondering if there are better ways for Christ-followers to redeem this space. What are the best ways to fill the Twitter-sphere with the life of heaven? We can follow the trends or create them. But Jesus said he came that they might have life and have it fully. How can we offer life in a world gone crazy? Is it possible to rise to the top of twitter trends with a life-affirming message in-line with the good news? This is territory we have yet to love-bomb. May we overcome crazy winning with abundant life. May we find traction soon!
Grace and Peace