Sunday, February 27, 2011

Charitainment and Slacktivism

An article in TIME magazine labeled 2005 as the year of “charitainment.” In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it became chic for celebrities to support humanitarian causes. The idea seems to be that celebrities can use their fame to raise money and awareness of important issues. Around this time last year, similar phenomenon appeared when the earthquake occurred in Haiti. More recently, the television program “30Rock” did an episode which satirized the media’s reaction to tragedy.
More recently, best-selling Author Donald Miller wrote a blog post about what he calls “slacktivism.” The term suggests that many non-profit or humanitarian organizations raise money by selling fashionable products, such as t-shirts or bandannas. Although there may be many different ways to donate to these organizations, all you have to do to appear philanthropic is buy an expensive hip t-shirt and wear it.
By contrast, there is Jesus’ comments in Matthew 6:1-3. He tells his followers not to do their acts of righteousness in front of others. He even goes so far as to suggest we hide the actions of one hand from the other. He did not say that it is wrong to do good in front of others, but he did suggest that doing so will only lead one to brief rewards. 
Jesus’ words ring true as we rarely see celebrities on the news in Haiti a year later. Even the popular “Extreme Makeover - Home Edition” program has hit a new low of viewership. Charitainment comes and goes.
I am not trying to pass judgment on anyone who really believes in slacktivism and charitainment. I understand that that these things may result in people doing good in the world. However, I think individuals who really care about a particular cause will pursue it whether or not anyone else is watching. Jesus seems to be telling us that we should be about much more than good PR. I think Christians should seek the good in the world because God has called us to it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget