Facebook has become a bigger part of my life than I ever would have imagined before I signed up. It’s allowed me to learn a bit more about some people who I only know casually and to keep in contact with people far away. One thing that fascinates me is what people I know seem to “like.” Walmart. Laughing. Star Trek. Coffee. You name it, they like it, and they want to tell the world.
Close to 3 million people on Facebook like Jesus Christ, according to the Jesus Christ public figure page that someone set up. Interestingly, when I went to check it out, it turns out that Jesus Christ and I have five mutual friends. I would’ve thought there’d be more, but I guess you never know.
I’ve often wondered what the profile would be like if Jesus actually did have a Facebook page. Under “Activities and Interests,” for instance, perhaps he’d write “Carpentry, hanging out with good friends, teaching, fishing (for both fish and people).” His family listing would be pretty amazing, including God, Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist. And he’d definitely be a vaguebooker; his status updates would be some of the most enigmatic around.
And then there would be the “likes." What would Jesus like on Facebook? A few spring instantly to mind: sheep, water, bread, wine. Public figures: Moses (only around 4,600 people like him) and Isaiah (only 2,300 - no one ever likes the prophets). Maybe Billy Graham or Bishop Desmond Tutu, perhaps Shane Claiborne or Sara Miles. Children’s sermons. Storytelling. The Apostles Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. Maybe not Martha Stewart - she’s way too Martha. Maybe a couple of books: the Bible, for sure, maybe Marilynne Robinson’s "Gilead" or C.S. Lewis’s "Mere Christianity." Maybe some movies, like "Babette’s Feast" or "Lars and the Real Girl."
There are some things I can’t imagine him like-ing, such as Costco, since buying in bulk means storing unnecessary excess (see bigger barns in Luke 12). I mean, he only brought out five loaves and two fish for 5,000 people. He’s probably more of a raw food guy, and I’m pretty sure he’d like gleaning. Food pantries might be high on his list.
I’m afraid Lady Gaga might be out of the picture, since she’s obviously chosen Judas. Maybe TobyMac or Kirk Franklin instead. Dare I suggest Mumford and Sons? Even if they use obscene words in their music? But then, there’s the rub. What does it mean when you like something on Facebook? Does it mean that you appreciate something? Or does it mean that you accept and condone everything that comes with it? This is, after all, one of the more difficult aspects of living as a Christian within a culture. Jesus can come at this a bit differently; with pure and holy motives he can love completely even when the cracks and fissures of the broken are on display for all to see.
When I list what I think Jesus would like, I realize that it often has more to do with what I like. For instance, it seems obvious to me that Jesus is pro-life, against both abortion and the death penalty, because I am. He’d like Sojourners magazine and Bruce Springsteen because of their interest in the overlooked and oppressed. But what if he didn’t? What if he likes something you or I don’t?
What if he likes gay couples or right-wing conservatives, Pilates instructors or drug dealers, Wall Street executives or IRS auditors, Jehovah’s Witnesses or the in-laws you just can’t get along with? The fact is, he does. He likes them all. He doesn’t just like them, he loves them. And so it is not up to us to decide who and what we like (and by omission, those we don’t). We are here to love them all. Jesus would probably wear out the like button. Or maybe he’d just skip Facebook and find some people so they could reason together, face to face.
(Illustration by Schuyler Roozeboom.)