A few years ago, I sat in a job interview awaiting a response from a somber-looking man who had just gotten a first-class pitch from yours truly. He tugged off his glasses, looked me straight in the eye, and told me he thought I had all the skills to be a terrific employee. Then, settling in his seat, he added, “But I don’t need another Billy Graham on my hands.”
Why this remark? Why the curt answer? He’d noted that my résumé revealed my college major as “Christian Education.”
I once had a Christian career consultant warn me that unless I changed my major to simply read “Education,” I would find work hard to come by. When I told her that this would be lying, seeing that my college had an Education department distinct from the Christian Ed department, she said, “It’s okay. Everyone does it a little bit.
I write this post with some trepidation. Even pointing this out carries with it some risk. It may be silly to some, but I believe that Christians who have an Internet presence need to be aware that we are being watched. What we write online is being duly noted.
With “Google Me!” becoming a part of the millennium’s lexicon, it is easy for anyone out there to find considerable information on anyone. Couple this with the pressure of conformity to the world, and Christians who regularly write online, have a blog, or simply comment on life in a random website somewhere run the risk of having what they say used against them.
Not everyone is pleased by our discourse. The more we lift up Jesus or note the depravity of the world around us, the more open we make ourselves to winding up on the wrong end of a Googling. Could you lose your job because your blog notes that only those who profess Jesus will be saved? Could a bank turn you down for a loan because you stated online that porn use is deadly to the soul? Is the person you just interviewed with angered by your godly comment on some obscure website thanks to a simple name search on one of the many search engines out there? How would you ever know that the negative response you got from someone sitting on the other side of a mahogany desk was simply due to the fact he didn’t like what you said online about his special brand of deviancy?
While it is true that anyone with a strong opinion and an Internet presence is subject to this kind of spywork, Christians—as in so many other cases—are scrutinized with a higher powered loupe. We are a convenient target of the world’s ire, a worldy wrath that shows no sign of let-up.
Paranoia? Perhaps. But neither did I think that an employer might reject me because of a certain adjective—a life-giving one—that modifies “Education” in my résumé.
Should we stop speaking because the world will hate us even as they hated our Lord? By no means! However, we who talk about the things of Jesus in the forum of the Internet must also realize that we are largely treading cyberspace with few to back us up if the words we speak rile others. We need to find ways of supporting each other should we wind up persecuted by search engine.