From Selfies to Service

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

The word “selfie” was the new word a couple of years ago.   It refers to how people take pictures of themselves.  It has become quite popular.  It has also become extremely dangerous.  In the first 8 months of 2016, 73 people died while taking selfies.  That’s up from 39 selfie deaths in 2015, and 15 selfie deaths in 2014.   The majority of people fell from buildings, mountains – others tried to take selfies on train tracks or while posing with fire arms.  Men accounted for 76% of the deaths.Selfie Naruto

Even animals are becoming fascinated with selfies.  About 6 years ago, a wildlife photographer was shooting pictures in Indonesia.  A crested macaque named Naruto discovered the camera and snapped a photo of himself.  The selfie was placed on social media and immediately went viral.  Interestingly enough, a discussion occurred about who owned the rights to his selfie.  The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have sued so that the monkey can get a percentage of profits he made from the selfie.

In October 2017, a teenage girl was taking selfies of herself at a Los Angeles art exhibit.  She posed in front of a row of pillars, accidently brushed one of the pillars, causing them to fall like dominoes.  She created $200,000 worth of damage.  The artist, Simon Birch, commented, “We trust people.”   I’m not sure if the exhibit will continue trusting selfies.

A Greek fable tells about Narcissus, a youth with extraordinary beauty, who became infatuated with his beauty.  He neglected the advances of Echo, and she died of love sickness.  Narcissus was punished by the gods by being made to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool.  He couldn’t get away from looking at his own reflection, and he grew weak, dying of love-sickness.

Narcissism is alive and well today.  Most of us just think too highly of ourselves.  If most of us could be bought for what we’re worth, and sold for what we think we’re worth – someone could make a fortune!  Derric Johnson said, “It’s amazing to see the number of people taking ego trips . . . with so little luggage!”

One piece of evidence of a selfish mindset might be the rise of “sologamy” – a new term that means marrying one’s self.  This trend comes from single people in Brooklyn and San Francisco who are marrying themselves.  They actually have full marriage ceremonies.  Erika Anderson, 37, recently invited friends and family to witness her tying the knot with herself.  She said, “It means that we are enough, even if we are not partnered with someone else.”

Some of these ceremonies have become quite expensive.  In September 2017, an Italian fitness instructor named Lura Mesi married herself in a very lavish ceremony.  This 40-year woman said she was just tired of playing the dating game.  She spent $12,000 to stage “my fairytale wedding – only without a Prince Charming.” 

Selfies and sologamies are counter to God’s instructions for us.  Jesus was not interested in what He could do for himself, but what He could do for others.  He invites us into that same kind of lifestyle.  He said, “I didn’t come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). 

Move from a selfie mentality to a service ministry!


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