What does my selfie stick say about me?

What does my selfie stick say about me?

As Christians we are not called to ‘throw away the selfie stick” however I believe we are challenged to look beyond the ‘self’.

What does my selfie stick say about me?
Ann Brereton
NST Chairman, Australia
ICCRS Councillor for Oceania
(Used with permission ICCRS Newsletter 2016)

Imagine an archaeological dig site in 1000 years’ time. A long aluminium stick with a claw on one end and button on the other is found. After much research it is discovered to be a ‘selfie-stick’ from the 21st Century. It is displayed in the National Museum with the following inscription “Selfie Stick. A popular photographic tool used by our ancestors to capture a moment in time with the operator of the device being the main attraction”.

Most of us have participated in a ‘selfie’ or possess our own ‘selfie stick’. I remember being told by a professional photographer that where possible include a person/people in holiday scenery snaps, as this can help to recall where and when the photo was taken. However the scenery or event remained the subject of the photo, unlike today. The selfie-stick phenomena in which we are now living has shifted the attention to ‘self’ being at the centre and all else as incidental.

This is not a new trend. Reflecting back through the years to family snaps, our usual reaction when seeing them for the first time is to look for myself. If it’s a good photo of me then I love the snap and may even put it on display, regardless of what everyone else looks like. If it’s a bad photo of me although everyone else looks fantastic, the photo could be relegated to the bottom drawer.

So fundamentally little has changed when it comes to photography and our response to it. The basic human need to be acknowledged, or even adored, is a temptation faced by many. The current affair with the selfie stick feeds this ego centric desire and can easily become an inordinate attachment and sometimes addiction which feeds our need for recognition.

The voice of Social media today bombards us with the messages that we are of value and acceptable only if we are at our most glamorous and sometimes we are driven to post a selfie which proves this. Now of course, it’s possible with body-slimming, skin smoothing and age-defying filters and apps, to change our appearance, to change from our true self to that which will be acceptable to others. The number of ‘likes’ we get will tell us is we’ve been successful in this task.

A recent quote I read said “ People get obsessed with likes. It’s an addictive drug. You get a taste of it, and then you want it more and more. People can tell you the precise moment they broke 100 likes”. Alternately we can feel ostracised and depressed if we do not receive the desired response. This can cause a spiral into an abyss of depression, which can have terrible consequences.

We would do well to heed the words found in Samuel 16:7 …….The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

As Christians we are not called to ‘throw away the selfie stick” however I believe we are challenged to look beyond the ‘self’. A selfie can be a wonderful tool to enable us to look at the world a little differently. A photo is usually taken to seize a moment, an emotion, a scene or a place which holds importance to us. Look beyond self in the picture and ‘see’ what is happening in the background. Your photo may contain an act of kindness, of love or joy. If scenery is captured, it’s beauty could remind you of the Majesty of God. Look to the other people in the photo. Give thanks to God for them. Be Real and true to yourself. Give thanks for who you are created to be in God’s Image. (Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made………”) Selfies do not have to be narcissistic they can and should include the other.

Let us continue to Capture the moment! But also to see beyond ourselves. It is then that our world is enlarged, our lives are enriched and God is given Praise and Thanks.

As Christians we are not called to ‘throw away the selfie stick” however I believe we are challenged to look beyond the ‘self’.