I write poor posts. I always suspected as such, but now I know. I have proof! I’m reminded of this fact with every post I write: this post is poor.
You see, when I updated the look of the blog, I also added a new widget that would allow me to post more content to social media. As it turns out, this little widget has certain criteria for what it thinks makes a good post. Evidently, I don’t make good posts. Of all the posts that I’ve written, I have one (at least of which I am aware) that says, “this post looks good,” a few others that say, “this post is improvable,” and all the rest (98%?) say, “this post is poor.” Let’s just face it: I write poor posts.
Here are the criteria for making a good post according to this widget:
• Schedule social messages (it prefers more than one)
• Set a featured image
• Write an excerpt
• Write longer copy (at least 300 words – the lowest benchmark I could set)
• Add one image in the copy
• Add links to your own site (it prefers more than one)
• Add links to external sources (it prefers more than one)
• Add one or more tags
I am confident that scores of research went into devising this list. I am sure experts were hired to scour the blogosphere in search of the definitive elements that make a blog post good. I have no doubt that focus groups were formed, surveys were conducted, and data was compiled. I am certain that this list isn’t the whim of one or two unintelligent souls who desire to taunt and torture other would-be creative souls with what is or isn’t a good post. For all that the blogging world has to offer, any and all posts that meet this set of criteria can and will be deemed good. But do you see the flaw in this?
This list is full of external, performance-based standards. All I have to do is set a featured image (it could be an image of anything, really, particularly an image that doesn’t pertain to the written topic at all), write longer copy (at least 300 words of nonsense, jargon, garbage, or rubbish), write an excerpt, tag the post, add another image (again, doesn’t have to relate to the content), add a couple links to external sources (could be to anything), add a link or two to my own content (gotta promote myself), and then schedule a couple messages for social media. Wow, that’s a long list of rules and expectations! But, I’ve got a good post, right? Well, according to this widget, yes. But what about the content, the whole reason for the post in the first place? What about the heart of the post? Apparently, it doesn’t matter as long as I meet the criteria.
How much like our religious system today is this? How much time, money, and energy go into researching what makes a good church? All we need for a good church is a pastor (or team of pastors), a worship band, a good mix of teaching and worship, ministries or programs for all the appropriate groups (youth, children, college, singles, recovery, young marrieds, etc.), some form of community service, and the list goes on and on. We create our own sets of criteria to meet, and if we meet them, then we deem our church as good. We focus on the external, performance-based standards. Why? Because we can measurably meet them and check them off.
And this goes for those who meet outside the institution, as well. We have our own set of external criteria, too. Do we have a pastor? No – check. Do we meet in a house? Yes – check. Is the meeting participatory where everyone can function? Yes – check. Do we meet to plan our times together? Yes – check (or No – check, depending on where we lean with regards to planning and spontaneity – that’s another post for another time). Are we involved in some sort of social ministry? Yes – check. This check list goes on and on, too. As long as all the boxes are checked, and the criteria is met, then we have a good church. Again, what about the content, the whole purpose for the church in the first place? What about the heart of the church? In certain circles, apparently, it doesn’t matter as long as we meet the criteria.
God is not concerned with external standards. For example:
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” – Matthew 23:27-18
According to the standards set by this widget, my posts are poor. I don’t have enough bells and whistles, links and images, to warrant my post as good. According to the standards set by the world, society, culture, in a word – men, the Church of Jesus Christ is poor. She doesn’t always meet the criteria, She doesn’t have enough bells and whistles, buildings and programs, doctrine and meetings, to be warranted as good.
Reader, God is only concerned with the content, the heart, of the Church. Christ is building His Church, but not according to any standards set by men. God’s only standard is, ever was, and ever will be, His Son Christ Jesus:
“…the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you (all), the hope of glory.” – Colossians 1:26-27
“…the summing up of all things in Christ” – Ephesians 1:10
“…His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things” – Hebrews 1:2
May we be ever concerned with God’s Standard. Then He alone can declare: This Church is Good.
Boom! Good stuff man! I’m reminded of David. He failed to meet all of the external standards that his brothers had, and what “should have” been present in a future king, but God looked at the heart of the man and found a man after His own heart. The cross is foolishness to the world, because it can’t be measured by external standards. When we try to meet external standards without internal change, we become the whitewashed tomb.
Yes! Having a heart for God can lead to the religious expectations, but having a heart from God (being after His own heart) can lead to Peace and Life. We meet God’s expectation when we are filled with Him. From the inside out. Thanks so much for your encouragement, brother!
No poorness in this post brother- rich! Rich! Rich!
Thanks, sister Donna! So are you – rich! Rich! Rich!
WOW! Eye opening parallels here brother! Thank you for “lumping in” those of us who meet outside the institution as well. While many have judged house/simple/organic churches to be good, when form/function are valued, promoted, or pursued above Christ and His Headship, they too will fall below the standard of God and become just another method.
“Christ is building His Church, but not according to any standard set by men. God’s only standard is, ever was, and ever will be, His Son Christ Jesus.”
Amen, and amen!
We meet so many brothers and sisters looking for another method of Church, a certain form or function. I was there once, too. But it’s so much fun to see the shift from that function to the Life of Christ that even gives that function its purpose – His purpose. Then we understand that the Life dictates the function, and that the functions only follow that Life – His life. Thanks for the encouragement, brother!