Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Looking for God on Pinterest

Do you know Pinterest? It's a relatively new social networky site where people "pin" images either from their photo collection or, more often, from things they see online.  Think of it like an online clipboard, where you can store all sorts of cool images and ideas you have as you surf the web. (In fact, you can organize your material into "boards".)

I've had a Pinterest account for probably six months, and most of that time if I used it, it was only to find images like this:

What can I say, Star Wars humor makes me happy.

But then recently I started using with the program more intentionally.

And as I hunted down images like this--

ET Better Phone Home Fast, Cuz He's About To Get Blowed Up

and this --

(Amen to that.) 

-- I had the thought, what about God? Where might I find God on Pinterest?

And so I started a search. And it's been an interesting journey.  I've learned a lot about how we think about God, and where he and isn't to be found (at least for me).

For the next couple entries, I'm going to post my search.  And hey, search along with me.  Get up on Pinterest. And if you find any images that speak of God to you, share them with me!

A Teaser: What's in a Name? 

I started my search by simply searching under God.

Here's what I found:

Yep, that's right. Words. Lots and lots and lots and lots of words.

Many quotes from the Bible. (Intriguingly, none from the Koran or the texts of other religions.)

Some paraphrases, like the above Scary-Movie-Title-Looking "Trust in the Lord" (which I think should have after it, "OR ELSE!" or "'CUZ HE'S COMING BACK, AND THIS TIME HE'S TAKING NO PRISONERS".

Some are more artistic, like the lovely hand quote on hand above.  Others are really mundane, if incredibly well intentioned, like this:

(I feel like the voice on this is a valley girl, like, totally talking to her friends and like someone says, my dad is like, uber amazing, he like totally understood when I had that party and like totally trashed his Mercedes. 

And then this other girl says, actually, you know who the best father is? God.  

And they're all like, DUHHH.)

But almost always, words words words, and not much in the way of other visuals.  Under the category of God, pretty much no one offered a real image.  

A couple exceptions: 

1) The Combo, word plus image (in this case, a pretty sweet one).   

2) The Wow: Though listed as "God", "God" is here not an indication of the person standing here, or the person who made the dress, but basically another way of saying "wow".  

Why so many words? I think because words are little doorways for people back into deep, important things. They're a means of reminding us of who we are and what's important, and of reassuring us.   Some pointed to our need for God, some encouraged us to believe, some told us it's all going to work out.

All good. But this wordiness didn't resonate with me, not at all. I love Scripture, I love to read it, but little pithy phrases -- that's not God for me. That's not what I was looking for. I want images.

So that was my first discovery: For me, God is someone I see, someone I look for, more than something I read.

But what kind of images? My first thought was, beautiful ones.  God is found in beauty.

So, that's where I went next -- "Beauty"

Come back next time to hear what I found...

(Actually, I did find one word-based piece under God that I really liked.

God does the best post-its.)


mminsider said...

Was surprised to find 4 different "AMDG" boards.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but surely you know that "Christ plays in ten thousand places."

I strive to ignore the happy amulets of Pinterest Christianity -- Boenhoeffer's cheap grace made into crafty signs to hang on your mantle -- and all the consumerism that convinces us that God really does love capitalists more than communists (thank you, Pat McCurdy).

I think that is the interesting tension of social media, in particular - to take what is valuable and not get caught up in rampant materialism and 1st world ideology.

With which, I have said more than need be.

Grace in your journey.

Jim McDermott, S.J. said...

Great comments! And I will check for AMDG boards!

Anonymous, I'll have more to say on your comment soon. It's great food for thought.