Clickbait - Monday Musing, August 15, 2022
Clickbait. For those of us who have internet access, clickbait is a term coined for internet content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to “click” on a link to a particular web page. There is endless content on the worldwide web, and all sorts of people are vying for our attention, luring us to “click here” and your life will be made better, you will instantly lose weight, or the headline is so explosive you simply want to know the juicy details. So, we click. And guess what, someone is making money from our click. We can’t fault the webmasters for making money – clickbait is simply modern-day advertising.
Why do we fall for flashy advertising? I have no doubt that a lot of research goes into figuring out the best ways to capture our attention. In an eerie scene in the film Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, advertising is personalized with talking billboards that know your name and speak to you as you walk by, enticing you to purchase a product. Some might say that this futuristic advertising is science fiction. Click on any Facebook Meta advertisement and you’ll begin seeing similar advertisements in your newsfeed for the product you previously clicked on. Big brother is watching and knows what you are shopping for!
It is easy to mindlessly click internet links. I have always thought you can tell what matters most to a person by looking at their calendar and checkbook, since people give freely of their time, talent, and treasure to things they care about. But if that statement is true, then Jesus’ words in scripture wouldn’t say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21), rather, Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also. Do not pay attention to only those things we care about – look at the things we want to care about. Put our clicks where we want our hearts to be. And if we do, our hearts will go there.
In our sermon series based on the book A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community by John Pavlovitz, we are pulling up our chairs to savor and glean nuggets from the book that are useful in our particular ministry setting. What might it look like here at The Federated Church of Orleans if we embraced the radical hospitality of Jesus, stepping away from looking inward, and paid attention to reaching outward, embracing differences, and encouraging difficult conversations at our table of plenty? Pavlovitz reminds us, “the place where the table of Jesus is set… is where we find Christ in the eyes of another.”
Metropolitan Bishop Anthony of Sourozh said, “We should try to live in such a way that if the Gospels were lost, they could be re-written by looking at us.” Click on that! See you in church.