Who has more followers than anyone else in the world? Take a few guesses, and the answer may surprise you.
Well, I guess it depends on who is counting, but by at least one reliable measure, Katy Perry is the number one most followed person in the world, with over 86 million devotees hanging on every 140 character statement she makes. She is closely joined by Justin Bieber at 79 million, and Taylor Swift at 75 million. Coming in fourth is President Obama with 73 million followers. At least that one is a truly prophetic voice in today’s world.
Social Media phenomenon “Twitter” has redefined the word “follow” for contemporary society. Without ever having met a person, without ever spending time in common company, without a single phone call or even an email exchange, anyone can be a “follower” in the Twitter-sphere. Twitter has changed the connotation of the word “follow” from one that describes a deep formative relationship to one that is a tally of someone’s popularity.
The Apostle Paul dealt with a similar redefinition in his experience with the Corinthian Church. Near the very beginning of his first letter to them, Paul criticizes the divisions forming in the church around some popular and charismatic leaders. Some in the church were following Apollos, others were expressing allegiance to Peter, and still others claimed Paul as their leader. The Corinthians were breaking apart because they failed to hold on to their true discipleship as followers of Jesus Christ. Paul was urging them not to lose their unity in their following of Jesus Christ.
The single-mindedness of our discipleship was critical to Paul’s understanding of the church’s true foundation. While other groups in society look elsewhere for leadership, for comfort, for wisdom, or for entertainment, the Church looks only to Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, as its source of wisdom and strength. Paul even recognized that a single-minded devotion to Jesus would be rejected by most of the world as foolishness. But it is faith in God’s foolishness that gives Christian discipleship the potential for great transformative power.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I like Katy Perry and I like some of her music. She is a talented musician and I can appreciate the appeal she has. I like her, but I don’t follow her, and I’ve never met her.
I follow Jesus Christ. I meet him each week during worship. He promises his presence with me each and every day. I can talk with Jesus in prayer. I can cry and Jesus places his hand upon my shoulder. I am blessed by the gift of a relationship with the crucified and risen Christ.
Whom do you follow?
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About this website
Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church (GA) in New York City has been chosen as one of eight internship congregations to participate this year in a church-wide initiative designed to increase our understanding of Holy Scripture and most importantly, to cultivate our engagement with it. In partnership with The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Vicar John Heidgerd will be working to develop innovative ways to deepen our faith formation and sense of discipleship for the sake of ourselves and our communities.