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Starting an UnSelfie Movement

By November 9, 2019Leadership

In 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary added the word “selfie” to its official list of words. It was a linguistic recognition of a cultural trend that had been growing for several years — and one that hasn’t slowed down since.

Nearly all smartphones come equipped with front and rear-facing cameras. In between actual phone calls (who does that anymore), you can flip around your camera and snap a few selfies.

With so many pictures being taken, it shouldn’t be surprising that many of them turn out bad.

Here’s one of me at Casa Bonita, a Denver landmark not known for its quality of food but for cliff divers and people in gorilla suits. It was also featured in episodes of South Park and Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (literally for its dives). Don’t worry, I never held a hot plate – I had other things to worry about … like the food on the plate.

While in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to snap a picture with Elvis. This is the one I chose – or, rather, I seem to recall he chose me. He kind of wandered up and became my new best friend. For another $20, he offered to strike a variety of poses. I passed. He didn’t seem to mind.

The last picture is one that only theological nerds will appreciate. During a break at a conference, I found myself waiting for the bathroom standing next to N.T. Wright. Or, as his friends call him, Tom. We weren’t yet friends. N.T. Wright is a modern-day theological genius. He was kind to let me snap a picture … before we entered the bathroom.

In case you’re wondering, I didn’t invite N.T. Wright to Casa Bonita (though he did seem like the sort of chap who would like to go – maybe I should have asked. That would have been a great selfie).

Selfies can be fun. Add a filter, attach a sticker.

Pictures are one thing; selfishness is another.

As a person who has devoted his life to studying Jesus, I’ve come to believe that what we need is a #UnSelfie movement.

Instead of taking pictures of ourselves with Elvis or holding a donut, what should we do? I’ve got an idea:

What if we started posting pictures of people who are doing nice things for others? No posing, no setup. Just grab your phone and take a picture of the teenager helping the older lady with her groceries. Snap an UnSelfie of the neighbor shoveling another neighbors driveway.

Instead of self-promotion, let’s start promoting the kind of behavior we want to see in the world. #UnSelfie

Together we can start a #UnSelfie movement!

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