What I Learned From a Viral Post

imagePeople care more about kidnapped school girls being sold into slavery than they care about institutional church dynamics.

This is the best news I’ve received in decades.

I write a churchy blog.  Even when it’s not overtly about church, it’s about church.  Through the years, some of my most popular posts have been about parenting, dating, politics, and one about a Middle School performance of The Wizard of Oz that was picked up by a newspaper.  But if you believe that everything is spiritual (as I do) and if your believe that the spiritual life is best lived out in community (as I do) then – at least for someone like me – everything is about church. Not the institutional/pipe organ/steeple/Sunday School/pulpit/’special music’/Vacation Bible School/diaconate/flower guild/stained glass window/narthex/chalice & patin/chancel/choir robes church.

But the prayer partners/midnight crisis/heartbroken/drug addled/crushed spirit/dead inside/hoping against hope/peace-that-passes-all-understanding/”I totally get you”/”I don’t get you at all but I’m not leaving you” church.

This is the church that Jesus lived and died and lives again for.  This is the church that came together over the past couple days to choose the names of kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls and commit to pray for them until they come home.  Some of the thousands (!) who responded to my previous blog post via WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook do not even believe in God, but they still agreed to hold ‘their girl’ in thought.

My friends, this is the real church.  It’s full of skeptics, diversity, and a desire to Do Something.

Maybe all we can do is pray for the messiest, most horrible, most complicated, seemingly hopeless situations.  But we do it together en masse.  And the bottom line is that we care more about the most vulnerable people in our community than we care about sermon series and leadership organization.

And that’s what I learned the day my little blog had 20,000+ hits.

Image source.

10 responses to “What I Learned From a Viral Post

  1. Amen and Amen!!!! Thank you for proclaiming THE WORD!! May we BE the Church together !


  2. And again, AMEN!


  3. Christine Chakoian

    Amen, Jan!

    *From:* achurchforstarvingartists [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Thursday, May 08, 2014 6:01 AM *To:* cchakoian@firstchurchlf.org *Subject:* [New post] What I Learned From a Viral Post

    jledmiston posted: “People care more about kidnapped school girls being sold into slavery than they care about institutional church dynamics. This is the best news I’ve received in decades. I write a churchy blog. Even when it’s not overtly about church, it’s about church”


  4. Aaron Fulp-Eickstaedt

    Thank you, Jan.


  5. I haven’t blogged about the girls, (although I’m fine with what others are saying) because I wonder if we cared about these girls before they were kidnapped. Our society doesn’t seem to value the children we see on the streets here in the states. We have cut funding to schools and the social safety net. Looking overseas, have we been advocates for those girls before they were kidnapped?
    Certainly, I’m horrified by what has happened to them. But for me, personally, (not speaking for anyone else), it seems insincere to claim I care about them now when we haven’t created a world where they are safe and valued in the first place.
    Not sure this even makes sense. But it is why I am hesitant to step on this platform.


  6. Well said. Everything is sacred, so everything is church. There’s no reason to separate being the church from the world since we are sent into the world.

    I’ve been trying to crack the code for getting my church blog viral, I understand your desire on that. I’m not sure we can get church post viral. But I am sure thankful enough people care in the world that discussion on the lost girls went viral.


  7. This made me cry. I recognize these names. They are the people with whom I grew up. They have been crying out to God not only for these girls, but the many others killed, injured or left without homes or businesses. I am so grateful to all of you. I am an American, but a Nigerian in my heart. These are God’s people. …thanks for knowing their pain is our pain.


  8. Thank you for posting. I am praying for them as well.


  9. I linked to you yesterday and posted similar thoughts, also calling my friends to pick a name and to pray. I have watched as my very small blog has had numbers I have never seen before…a fraction of your viral impact, but astounding to me as well.

    Here in Nashville our church has been involved in the End Slavery movement, and the situation with these girls is so close to that…I think it caught many of us who have been praying for the girls caught up in that slavery. Regardless of what caught our attention, the names gave us all something to wrap our prayers around…something specific.

    Continuing to pray for the horror of this situation as a whole, but praying with the intimacy of a name as well. Thank you for sparking my attention, and so many others.


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