I have the sneaking suspicion that I’m evil and going to hell. No, I’m not a murderer, I don’t make a practice of bashing people up, and I’m not even a hard-drinking, party-hardy hedonist. No, I think that I may be going to hell because I get incredibly annoyed by all the folks on Facebook and MySpace who do God shout outs.
If you aren’t familiar with God shout outs, let me explain. These are when people write something like “God is SOOOO good!!!!” or “Soooo truly BLESSED!!!!” or “God is GOOD, all the time And all the time, GOD IS GOOD!!!” or “God is just so AWESOME” for their status comments. I wish that the gratuitous use of the all-caps and exclamation points was my own addition, but, sadly, that really is how I have seen it. Usually people stop short of saying, “Rah-Rah, yeah GOD!” Usually, but not always.
My dislike of the God shout out gives me a lot of guilt. Considering how few real vices I have, it is pretty funny that I feel like a badass, but I think that is the fault of my particular religious sub-culture. With this group you can be a complete degenerate simply for admitting* to drinking coffee–and I do. Yep, I’m a goody-two-shoes badass because I’m caffeinated. So you can imagine how much extra evil, badassness I feel for being annoyed when people on Facebook or MySpace say that they like God.
But I have my reasons for not liking the God shout outs. Here are a few of them.
- I have had way too many editing classes. There are all sorts of things that will annoy me in print that the rest of the world probably won’t notice or care about. As it happens, the gratuitous use of exclamations points and all-caps is one of those annoying things that will make me twitch. It is right up there with people using the word good when they should use the word well. I realize that for the bulk of the population this is not an issue, but these are my reasons for not liking God shout outs, not the bulk of the population’s.
- The God shout outs never seem to give enough information. “God is SOOOO GOOD!!!! Praise GOD!!!!! He’s just such an AWESOME GOD!!!!” Really? What happened? Some thing good? Did you get a promotion at work? Did your baby take her first steps? Did you finally get the dog house-broken? My point is that, if you are feeling so elated that you wanted to trumpet God’s goodness all over a social-networking site, then share the joy and tell us what the heck you are so damn happy about. Give us a clue and let the rest of us join in your happiness.
- These shout outs smack of that holier-than-thou mentality that believes in conspicuous Christianity rather than consistent Christianity. This is very likely my own rampant insecurity talking, but it just seems like another venue for people to act religious for the rest of the world’s benefit. I find that some of the more truly sanctified and holy individuals I have met are not the sort who carry Jesus pom-poms and lead an online cheer session. They are the people who spend more of their time asking what they can do for someone else and less time making noise. Kind of like Mother Teresa.
While there is nothing wrong with God shout outs they annoy me because, for some of us (that would be me), faith does not come easily. I tend to ponder things like the conflict of belief in an all-powerful, all knowing, loving God versus, oh, say the reality of the Jewish Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide or suicide bombers or good, God-fearing people dying of cancer. In spite of all that, I choose to believe that God is good, maybe not all the time, but eventually. And, I choose to believe that someday He will sort all that stuff out for me in a way that makes more sense than, “Gee that one took me by surprise. Way bigger deal than I expected. Good thing I can resurrect people. You feel me?”
But just because I believe God is good doesen’t mean I have to like God shout outs. So I won’t. However, I have a sneaking suspicion the God shout out is here to stay. Feel free to keep posting “God is soooo GOOD!!!!!” and I will keep trying suppress my desire to reply, “Yes, but does He do windows?”