One of my current favorite party games is Telestrations. If you took the classic game of “Telephone” and mashed it up with “Pictionary” this is the game you’d get. Tonight, we had our first summer meetup of the Gardner Journey Community Group, and so I broke out Telestrations as an icebreaker with a purpose.
The game works by giving every player a starting word or phrase. Players write these on the first page in a flip book. (A small spiral bound note pad works great, or you can use the spiral bound dry erase boards that come with the game.) Each person reads the word or phrase passed to them and then flips to a new page in order to illustrate it. After illustrating the word, the book is passed to the next neighbor where he or she tries to guess the word or phrase that was drawn and the pattern continues until each player receives his or her original book back. This is where the real fun begins! Taking turns, each person begins with their starting page and then flips each page to reveal the new illustration or new guess. And just like the game of Telephone, distortion is inevitable! My favorite of the evening was “King Tut,” turning into “King Ear,” then “King Kong,” into Monkey, and finally into Monkey Bars! Haha! We had a great laugh over that one!
The whole point was to set up the series we are going through in the Gardner Journey Group this summer, “SPF 21.” No, it’s not the latest sunscreen. We’re talking about Spiritual Practices For the 21st Century.
This week we talked about the practice many of us have of thoughtlessly forwarding emails or Facebook notes. Most of these are negative in tone and often times don’t have their facts verified. Why is it that when we receive a juicy bit of gossip in our inbox, we feel the need to make sure everyone on our contact list must also know about it?
Those of us who follow Christ must be quick to practice what Paul outlines in Ephesians 4:14-16 (our text for tonight), which is about not believing and repeating everything your hear, but instead speaking truth in love, building each other up.
I’m concerned that when the first thing we want to do is click the forward (or share) button whenever something seems juicy, it affects our spirits and affects the ways we see others (especially those who are different). In today’s world, forwarding is believing. And when you begin to add up all the negative (and often incorrect or at least incomplete) news that you forward, it will harden your heart, make you cynical, and perhaps leave you looking foolish.
As a follower of Christ, I feel compelled to build up, and speak the truth in love. I try to look for the good in others and spread it on. And when a gossipy email lands in my inbox, I always try to verify the facts. A great site is www.snopes.com Even if I discover something to be true, I ask myself, what good will it do for the other person if I forward it? But more importantly, what good will it do for me by forwarding it?
Some practical thoughts and tips:
- Just because it’s on the internet, it does not mean it’s true.
- Just because you know and trust the person who sent/posted the message, that doesn’t mean it’s true.
- ALWAYS verify before your FW: (like I mentioned above, www.snopes.com is a great place to start)
- If you discover something to be false, unverified, even partially true, do everybody else a favor and send a link to the article back to the person who origianally posted it. Ask them to keep sending the truth backward.
- Finally, ask yourself, if by sending this am I speaking the truth in love and building others up (Eph 4:14-16) or am I sending this for some other reason.