Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jeremiah Steepek, Facebook and me

There's a story circulating around FaceBook and the Internet about a pastor of "a 10,000 member church" named Jeremiah Steepek, who pretends to be a homeless man, and is dismissed by his parishioners. It's a great parable, but unfortunately is being presented as factual. does a great job of setting things straight.

Jesus was known for his parables, and scripture often records them, identifying them as parables.
cf. Mark 4:33-34 "With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything."

The problem here is that the internet is a mashup of different genres, fact and fiction. It is impossible to know what is what unless the writer helps us out. The way this story was presented led many (including unbelievers) to take it as fact. But then, when it is exposed as fiction, its power is diminished, as people feel they have been victims of "bait and switch." They can't focus on the Truth of the story because they are upset that the story isn't true.

Christians, let's not perpetuate that sort of thing. Let's speak and write with integrity. Let the offense of the gospel be in its message, not how it is presented, lest people get sidetracked from the Truth.

Epilog:  What's curious is that FB keeps pulling my status updates referring to this story, and not only mine, but my friend Joshua's. What gives?

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