Internet Outrage, Public Shaming and Modern-Day Pharisees

Internet Outrage, Public Shaming and Modern-Day Pharisees by Scott Sauls [from Relevant Magazine]
The online mob mentality is dangerous.

New York Times writer Tim Kreider coined the term, “Outrage Porn,” to describe what he sees as our culture’s insatiable search for things to be offended by.

Based on hundreds of comments and letters to the editor, Kreider says that many contemporary people feed off of feeling 1) right and 2) wronged. "Outrage Porn" resembles actual pornography in that it aims for a cheap, temporary thrill at the expense of another human being, but without any personal accountability or commitment to that human being.

It often escalates into the public shaming of groups and persons

Labeling, caricature and exclusion occur as offended parties rally together against a common enemy.
There are many forms of online shaming: The angry blog, the critical tweet, the vicious comment on Facebook. Whatever the method—people try to hurt people. Sometimes the shaming escalates into a mob, a faux-community that latches on to the negative verdict and piles on. Under the pretense of righteous indignation, the mob licks its chops as it goes about demonizing, diminishing and destroying its target.

The Power of Shame

Andy Stanley once said in a sermon that it would take just five poorly chosen words, spoken in the wrong setting, to destroy him personally and professionally. This nightmare came true for Justine Sacco, a PR consultant who posted an offensive tweet—just 12 words to her 170 followers—while boarding a flight to South Africa.

When her plane landed, Sacco discovered that her tweet had gone viral. In a few short hours she had become the headline, the inhumane bigot and common enemy to tens of thousands of people. On the basis of those 12 words, she lost her career and the life she once knew. (She's also featured in journalist Jon Ronson's new book So You've Been Publicly Shamed.)

Looking back on the incident, Sacco reflected:
“I had a great career, and I loved my job, and it was taken away from me, and there was a lot of glory in that. Everybody else was happy about that."

Imagine for a moment. Your entire life, all you had ever done or worked for, reduced to a single, 10-second lapse in character and judgment. And those who brought you down? They never met or heard of you before today, and will never again think of you after today. To those who brought you down, your name was never sacred. Rather, it was a product—Outrage Porn—to be consumed and evangelized as the latest cheap thrill.

Your character assassins will never have to look you in the eye. Nor will they be held accountable for turning you into a nothing, or for their blatant disregard for your whole, image-bearing person.

Scripture and Shame

Outrage Porn is not new. The holier-than-thou New Testament Pharisees “trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and looked down on others with contempt” (Luke 18:9). It’s there in Simon the Pharisee as he shames the woman anointing Jesus with perfume and washing his feet with her tears and hair. She is “a sinner.” Not a person, but a thing. Not a woman, but an animal. Not the image of God, but sub-human trash (Luke 7:36-50).

It’s also there in those who brand the woman caught in adultery with a Scarlet Letter. The mob encircles her, ready to pile on and destroy. Had Jesus not intervened, they would have destroyed her just like the Internet mob destroyed Justine Sacco for her single act, the act that she apologized for through tears. But apologies don't make good stories, do they? They aren't as tweetable.

What Shame Tells Us About Ourselves

The pious Pharisee’s bravado and righteous indignation is just a mask for self-justification. Forming a mob around a common enemy—around “the sinners”—was the groupthink of deeply insecure, small men looking for a way to medicate their own small egos at the expense of a scapegoat—a scapegoat who was no more shame-worthy than they.

When tempted to join the mob and to shame, maybe we should shift our eyes from the computer screen to the mirror. Maybe we should ask ourselves why we, too, enjoy the caricature and the labeling. Maybe we should ask ourselves why we, too, are prone to “like” and “share” when someone else’s whole life is reduced to their most foolish, offensive and regretted public moment.

A Better Way Forward?

As a Christian who is active on social media, I often remind myself that each image-bearing name is sacred. The ninth commandment, which warns against bearing false testimony of any kind about one’s neighbor, must remain in the forefront. I must remove all negative caricature—the exaggeration of someone’s worst features and the censoring out of her or his best ones—from my words, both spoken and written. It is unChristian to bless God while cursing a person with a soul.

What if instead of condemnation, we became known for giving benediction? What if instead of being on the hunt to catch people doing wrong, we went on the hunt to catch people doing right? What if instead of looking for someone to curse, we started looking for someone to bless? What if instead of naming people according to their worst behaviors and features, we named them according to their best and most God-reflecting ones?

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Dove award winning worship leader, singer, songwriter Paul Baloche is coming to Manila next month, and he is going to lead a night of worship and a LeadWorship Workshop. For further details, refer to the pictures below:
For more information on this event, visit:

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Move Beyong Tweetable Bible Reading

Move Beyong Tweetable Bible Reading by Chandler Vannoy [from Relevant Magazine]

Cultivating spiritual disciplines in the Internet era.

In our world today, every bit of news and media comes in short, easy-to-read snippets that seek to get the point across very quickly.

This is great for breaking news, quotes and quick thoughts, but unfortunately, our minds are becoming rewired to expect all information to be fast and convenient for us. We are trained to read 140 character tweets, watch 6 second vines and show someone we care by simply double tapping their photo. A recent study showed that people’s attention spans are now only about 8 seconds. That is a second less than a goldfish can concentrate on a thought while swimming around a fish bowl. Yeah. Let that sink in for a second (but probably not longer than 8 seconds).

Our generation is apt to always thinking about the next thing, and in turn, we become distracted easily. Even the San Francisco 49ers know that this is true: They are now implementing “cell phone” breaks into practices and meetings every half hour, because studies from Stanford show that millennials are too distracted and really aren’t learning anything after that threshold.

This way of thinking has seeped into the way we read the Bible. With our phones always in front of us, we can fall into viewing the Word of God as something to fit into a tweet or lay over a beautiful mountain landscape on Instagram. We have shifted from reading the Bible for ourselves to reading short Bible verses or opinions shared by others.

As Christians today, it is easier to retweet a Bible verse for all of our followers to see than to spend half an hour reading the Bible and become a more effective follower of Jesus. And this is a problem. Jesus Himself told us in John 15:4, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

We are called to remain and abide in Jesus, and the way that we remain in Him is through Scripture. This means the majority of our “quiet time” should not be spent with the words of social media in front of us, but the words of God our Father. The Bible is not something we can just scroll through and double tap our favorite parts. It’s something we must read, study, meditate on and then let change our life.

Our daily dose of Scripture should come before we ever check our phone. But this is going to be a hard habit to create. So how do we do this?

First, find a reading plan that allows you to know where you are going and set goals to achieve along the way.

When I first started reading the Bible, I started by randomly opening it up, placing my finger on whatever passage I had opened to, and starting to read from there. That lasted about three days before I gave up. I was jumping from place to place and had no rhythm or reason as to what I was reading. But then a buddy and I decided to read through the entire New Testament and keep one another accountable. In about four months, we had both read it through it and were ready to set a new goal.

Each of us need to figure out what’s going to work for us. Maybe you find a plan to read the Bible in a year. If you don’t feel that’s doable, find a two or three year plan. If you don’t know where to start, look around the Internet. There are plenty of great plans out there. No matter what, plan it out and start reading.

Second, find a time and place that is consistent and allows you to have time to yourself and with the Lord. This might seem intuitive, but while we often plan out other aspects of our days, we often avoid doing so with Bible reading, instead just hoping we’ll get to it if we have time.

You have to be intentional about spending time with God. If you don’t carve out the time, other things will get in the way. You can even be creative about where and when. It could be at a local coffee shop in the afternoon, or it might just be your kitchen table every morning before every one else gets up.

Third, find a way to journal your thoughts, prayers or reflections on what the text is saying. This will allow you to document the ways the Lord is working in your life and look back to remember His faithfulness. This also can help you understand yourself in comparison to God. As we write about what Scripture is saying, we are automatically going to relate it to our own lives and how it will impact the way we live.

Once again, tailor journaling to fit your lifestyle. This could mean handwriting in a journal, creating a journal on a computer or tablet, or even, if you are artistic, drawing what the Lord is teaching you. I find it helpful to write out three different things: what the author is saying in the text, how I need to apply it to my life, and then a prayer for God to bring about the change in my life.

Fourth, and lastly, find a way to take what you read with you. As Don Whitney wrote in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, “When we meditate on Scripture, it colors our thinking about God, about God’s ways and His world, and about ourselves.”

We emulate the things we think about, so we need to finds ways to always be thinking about Scripture. One way to do this would be by memorizing Bible verses with a friend. Another would be to pick out a verse or phrase you read and constantly be thinking about it throughout the day. One more would be to pray through the text over and over again as you go about your day.

Whatever your method ends up being, try to fill your mind with the things of God. What we read in the morning should impact our lives—not just our Twitter feeds.

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Colton Dixon Announces New Dual EPs, Available September 11

NEWS SOURCE: The M Collective July 20, 2015
Nashville, Tenn. (July 20, 2015) - Colton Dixon will give fans a glimpse of his musical versatility with the upcoming releases of dual EPs Calm and Storm, debuting September 11. Calm, a stripped down collection of acoustic songs, and Storm, a compilation of energetic remixed tracks, will feature fan favorites from Dixon's debut release A Messenger and current project ANCHOR. Fans will hear transformed versions of the biggest hits including "You Are," "Never Gone" and "More Of You." 

Copies of the EPs will be available as one full-length album including both Calm and Storm titled The Calm Before The Storm, or the EPs may be purchased and streamed separately through digital music services.
Earlier today, Dixon announced the EPs on social media, sending fans on an online scavenger hunt through instagram, Apple Music and Facebook, which eventually led them to the EP titles and album artwork.
Calm and Storm follow Dixon's sophomore release ANCHOR, which continues to see success as current single "Through All Of It" recently hit No. 1 on the Hot AC chart and Top 10 on the AC Indicator Chart. The album's first single, "More Of You," spent three weeks at No. 1 and was the most played Hot AC single of 2014.

Following a busy summer performing at festivals across the U.S., Colton will hit 36 cities this fall as a part of TobyMac's ***THIS IS NOT A TEST*** Tour. For a current list of tour dates, click here.

About Colton Dixon
Colton Dixon quickly became a household name in 2012 when he made it to the top seven on Season 11 of Fox's hit show American Idol, and his career has been on the fast track ever since. Dixon's 2013 debut, A Messenger, set the record for biggest first-week sales by a new solo Christian act, becoming the No. 1 selling album by a new Christian artist and the No. 9 best-selling album of 2013 in the Christian genre overall. Colton Dixon has also been named the latest Steinway artist, following in the footsteps of legendary artists such as Harry Connick, Jr., Diana Krall and Billy Joel. Dixon's sophomore effort ANCHOR, released last fall and includes the most played Hot AC single of 2014, "More Of You," which spent three weeks at No. 1, as well as "Through All of It," his fourth consecutive No. 1 at Hot AC Radio. In 2013, Dixon won a Dove Award for Best Rock/Contemporary Album Of The Year, along with two additional nominations.

Get Connected with Colton Dixon
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DC Talk's "Jesus Freak" Makes Vinyl Debut In November

NEWS SOURCE: July 20, 2015
Gotee Records and Superfan Vinyl are celebrating 20 years since the release of DC Talk's groundbreaking album Jesus Freak by making its vinyl debut this November (the same month it released in 1995) in a limited edition double vinyl. In addition to the original 13 tracks on the album, the vinyl release will include two fan favorites from the Jesus Freak single: "Jesus Freak (Freaked Out Remix)" and the band's live cover of Larry Norman's "I Wish We'd All Been Ready." Jesus Freak will be pressed on 180 Gram black vinyl.
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Israel Houghton & New Breed Are Set To Release "Covered: Alive In Asia" July 24, 2015

NEWS SOURCE: W&W PR July 8, 2015
NEW YORK-July 8, 2015-Last October, Multi Grammy®, Stellar and Dove Award winning gospel recording artist, Israel Houghton and his longtime ensemble NewBreed traveled far east to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ while recording their highly anticipated new album COVERED: ALIVE IN ASIA (RGM/NewBreed/RCA Inspiration). Recorded across Asia in stadiums located in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Korea, Tokyo and Manila the remarkable worship experience birthed 13 new tracks and will be available on Friday, July 24. Pre-order COVERED: ALIVE IN ASIA today and instantly receive "In Jesus Name" and "Already Done" featuring Jonathan McReynolds. 
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House of Praise Mid-Year Clearance Sale

House of Praise, the retail arm of Praise Incorporated, is having their first-ever mid-year clearance sale! It started today, July 10th, and it will push through the 31st!

For the mechanics of the event, you may refer to the photos below:

House of Praise Panay is located at 145 Panay Avenue Cor. Sgt. Esguerra St., Quezon City.
For more information, you may visit their Facebook page at
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Darlene Zschech Releases New Book "Worship Changes Everything" This Fall

Worship Changes Everything
Experiencing God’s Presence in Every Moment of Life
by: Darlene Zschech

ISBN: 9780764214271
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
Pub. Date: Nov 2015
SRP: $19.99
Number of pages: 256

Renowned Songwriter and Author Helps Readers See Worship as a Way of Life

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