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If you have surfed ye olde worldwide web for more than, say, five minutes, you may have run across any (or all) of these headlines. You may have even clicked on them (I admit it – I clicked on them for the purposes of this article – you know, for science). All of these were taken from internet sources famous for clickbait. What is clickbait you ask? One definition (of course, from the internet) is “An eye-catching link on a website which encourages people to read on. It is often paid for by the advertiser, or generates income based on the number of clicks.”
The last year has introduced us to other new verbiage, like “alternative facts” and “fake news.”
According to the Oxford dictionary, the word of the year for 2016 was “post-truth.” It may seem that we live in a culture where the truth no longer matters, or is at least questioned. Stephen Colbert called it “truthiness”: the belief in what you feel to be true rather than what the facts will support. There are many sources, sometimes seemingly reputable news sources, disseminating stories created to deliberately mislead, and many often use social media to increase their impact.
The challenge for today’s churches is to break through the noise created by fake news and deliver the truth. How can you know what the truth is in this post-truth era? In the next sermon series, “Headlines,” we will be taking a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at some Bible stories presented “clickbait” style, but speak the truth of God’s love and care for His people. Jesus is quoted in John 8:32 as saying “you shall know the truth and it will set you free.”
I look forward to sharing some of these headlines with you!
-Rev. Carl Palmer