Virtue of the WeeK: Sincerity

SinceritySincerity and Technology

Today’s generation has grown accustomed to losing themselves in their technology in order to avoid seemingly awkward and uncomfortable personal “face to face” interactions. Interactions where we are compelled to be sincere. Generally what young people say in social situations or wear or post on social media harbor double meanings — one sincere, the other ironic or sarcastic and usually a parody of the first meaning, employed as a protective mechanism. Irony and sarcasm are used to ward off the possibility of criticism about anything we think, say, or do. God forbid we would have a varying opinion let alone defend it. Technology and our youth’s inattentiveness to the outside world work together to feed “their incapacity to deal with the things at hand.” By covering their insecurity with apathetic, self-aware remarks, they can seem to be fully engaged, while protecting themselves from criticism from their lack of genuine interaction. Flickering haphazardly across virtual media, they avoid being sincere altogether. No one will notice, they imagine, and if they do, irony and sarcasm can veil them from the possibility of being unmasked as stupid, unmotivated, weak willed, or just plain lazy. Some social engineers think that returning to sincerity would undo the effects of irony on our culture. That may be true, but I don’t think it fully accounts for the synergistic effect—when technology supercharges ironic and sarcastic interactions. But maybe the first part of a more complete solution has to do with consciously putting away the technology, young people coming out of their ironic shells, and trying to have some genuine face to face personal interactions.

Yes. Let’s start there.

Fans of Jesus

These "Fans of Jesus" are the ones that Jesus seems to have the most trouble with. Fans who will walk into a restaurant and bow their heads to pray before a meal just in case someone is watching. Fans who won’t go to R-rated movies at the theater, but have a number of them saved on their DVR at home. Fans who may feed the hungry and help the needy, and then they make sure they work it into every conversation for the next two weeks. Fans who make sure people see them put in their offering at church, but they haven’t considered reaching out to their neighbor who lost a job and can’t pay the bills. Fans who like seeing other people fail because in their minds it makes them look better. Fans whose primary concern in raising their children is what other people think. Fans who are reading this and assuming I’m describing someone else. Fans who have worn the mask for so long they have fooled even themselves.Kyle Idleman

The Cult of Sincerity