I think the Christian equivalent of that line goes like this: "Everyone thinks they have the spiritual gift of discernment and a sense of humor, but they couldn't possibly all have, well, either one." (If you've watched many televangelists, you know good taste is not highly valued by evangelicals, and don't get me started on the absence of a sense of humor exhibited by too many Christians.)
Simply put, discernment is the ability to recognize truth, and no one wants to admit they might not have that ability. Our lack of discernment is much more insidious than Jess's affection for his coffee table. It's exhibited on many levels, not the least of which is mindlessly forwarding emails, the equivalent of the "stupid, wagon-wheel, Roy Rogers, garage sale coffee table," that even Harry couldn't support Jess on. (Okay, Harry's mind was on his ex-wife and Ira, but still, he attacked the coffee table when Jess was hoping for some back-up.)
I get emails all the time from my Christian friends that leave me wondering what they're thinking. Any "you won't see this in the mainstream media" line sends them into a frenzy of forwarding because they think we're all being kept from the truth and it's their duty, as a Christian, to let the rest of us know about this conspiracy. The only problem is that if they had any sense of discernment at all, they would know they're forwarding nonsense.
Jonathan Acuff tackled this issue in a post this past week, Not using snopes.com or google. He offered a number of tips for discerning the veracity of a forwarded email. For instance, the "Fwd" in the subject line should be our first clue. "If you're a Christian, you must read this," is another clue that should tell us to check it out before clicking that forward button.
Jonathan also uncovered an urban legend on snopes.com that, to their credit, even my friends who are the most egregious in this regard have never forwarded to me. Evidently there is an urban legend that claims a hole to hell has been drilled in Siberia. He didn't go into it, but there are actual YouTube videos that claim to have recorded the voices of
Pardon my French, but WTH are people thinking when they send this stuff out? This was part of my reply to Jonathan's post:
My issue with these mindless forwards is that the story of Jesus is hard to believe. It defies logic. It takes faith. When Christians show ourselves to be gullible chumps who will believe absolutely anything that is forwarded to us in an email, how can we expect anyone to take our faith in Christ seriously? How can we expect to witness effectively when we believe someone actually dug a hole to hell in Siberia?
I know I'm preaching to the choir since you all are clearly discerning readers. But I need to unload. Since we're half-way between Presidential election cycles, perhaps this is a good time to tell you that it's not just the alleged hole-to-hell in Siberia that makes me crazy. It's the political nonsense that my Christian friends send me during every Presidential election, things they forward without stopping to question, because it supports their political point of view. Again, that damages our witness as followers of Christ.
The same is true of Facebook. I have friends who put every viral post that comes along in their status bars, again, never questioning them because they support their point of view. I know they mean well. I know they believe they're speaking up for Jesus. The only problem is you can't spread a lie and speak up for Jesus at the same time. Alright, that's not the only problem with forwarding without question, but you get my point.
I feel better now. Thank you for indulging my rant. You have been terribly patient to keep reading to this point. Now, to reward you for your patience, here's the wagon wheel table clip from When Harry Met Sally: Even after all these years, it still makes me laugh.