Catfishing the Church

The start of October marks the beginning of the second month of our Pre-Launch phase. As we build towards the full launch of Renew Church in January 2015, our Lead Pastor, Dihan Lee, is teaching the church about Renew’s core values. This Sunday he’ll be teaching on Authenticity. Check out his blog below for a sneak peak on what’s to come this Sunday. Catfishing when I was young involved a rod, line, and chicken livers. Now it’s a verb that describes the act of pretending to be someone you’re not on social media to pursue online romances.

It’s bizarre. People are using fake photos, misrepresenting their age, gender, ethnicity and occupation, and they carry on these online relationships with people who are probably doing the very same thing to them. You have alter egos falling in love with other alter egos. I’m not a psychologist, but I think this phenomenon speaks to the deep insecurity we feel in presenting our true selves. We are doing online what we would love to do in real life—create an idealized version of ourselves.

As we see time and time again, catfish romances never end well. Relationships based on a lie have no real future. Genuine love requires the interaction of real people.

Catfishing is not just a problem in the digital world, it points to a real spiritual problem that we all face. How many of us are truly authentic before God and each other? How many of us present ourselves as we really are, as opposed to some idealized alter ego that we carefully manage?

The church should be the one place where alter egos are left at the doorstep because God refuses to deal with false personas. There can be no true fellowship where people are not themselves. And yet it’s often the place we catfish the most. If the church is supposed to the most loving environment on the planet, then by necessity it has to be the most authentic environment because love requires real people. But has that been your experience?

This Sunday, I’ll be teaching the church about our core value of authenticity and what it means for Renew. As we continue to build the church, it is critical that we build a community that is authentic and welcomes people as they are.

If you want to learn more about Renew or even help us build the church, I’d love for you to come check us out this Sunday at 10am at the Actors’ Gang Theater.

Hope to see you there!