Earlier this year I was speaking with my Grandfather who has just turned 90 years old. He has followed Jesus since being a boy. He is still as sharp as ever. I was showing him the new design for my blog here on Patheos.com. He was looking at it intently, and his eyes alighted on a single phrase in my sidebar. It said “Follow Adrian Warnock.” In a flash, he said with some force “We should be following Jesus, not Adrian!”
Of course I replied with some platitude about how Twitter has changed the meaning of the word, and it really just means “subscribe” or “stay in touch with.” But the damage was done. He got me thinking, and a nagging sense that he was right to be concerned wouldn’t leave me. As a direct result I changed the wording of my sidebar to read “Connect with Adrian Warnock.” It may be a subtle change, but I think it is an important one. You may want to consider doing the same. Incidentally I chose not to use the word “subscribe” because some of my other older relatives assumed that meant that people would have to pay.
There is a not-so subtle self-promotional nature about the online world and recent evidence that Facebook use can lead to increased envy and sadness, and that those who amass a large number of Facebook “friends” have a tendency to be narcissists. Frank Viola has written about this from a Christian perspective.
I think we all handle the temptation to seek great things for ourselves in different ways. One of the ways that I have always sought to counter self-aggrandisation tendencies in myself is to point ot other Christians you would be better off reading than me. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of such a person you should be reading is Spurgeon. And, at risk of sounding like I am overly promoting a project I am personally invested in, I would encourage you to consider supporting our planned documentary of his life. Spurgeon was someone who seemed to manage to cope with quite intense levels of interest from the masses, all the while focussed on Jesus. We would do well to learn from him.