A Pinterest Theology

I’ll admit it: I Pinterest. In search of a new recipe, a note of inspiration, or a change in workout routine, I’ll gladly open my Pinterest app and spend some time. For those of you who have abstained from Pinterest (first of all, pat yourself on the back) the site is taglined “The world’s catalog of ideas.” It truly is a hodge-podge of everything: hair styles, fitness training regimens, diets, clothing, quotes, its all there. Each one has its own “pin” – a small graphic that accompanies a link to its outside source where you can go for more inspiration. You add the pins to your boards and a smorgasbord of ideas is created.

Originally I used it only for recipes and then, well, it got a little out of control. And one day, I found myself starting a “Ministry!” board…

Every time I use it, I feel like I am cheating on my Bible. I took all the good wisdom, condensed it down to a few happy verses, added some cool fonts and beautifully crafted graphics and viola! a pin has been born. I justify using this as a tool to remember verses I enjoy and want to be able to find quickly. “As I have loved you, love one another” (John 13:34)? – consider it pinned. “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2)- yes! Pin that as well! It seems so easy and, well, innocent.

I found a beautiful quote this morning: “God is within her, she will not fall.” (Psalm 46:5). I quickly hit the “pin it” button and added it to my Ministry! board. What a beautiful sentiment: as a woman, God is within me and I will not fall. As I meditated on the thought, I started to get…skeptical. Why would God single out a woman? God is within her, she will not fall? It didn’t seem very biblical. To be quite honest, I could see this written about a man, but unless this verse calls out a specific woman…I don’t know if I believe it.

So I went back to my trusty New Interpreter’s Study Bible for answers. Psalm 46:5 “God is in the midst of the city, it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.” Ugh. I should have known better. My beginner Hebrew knows that city is a feminine word so maybe, just maybe, in its roughest form you could kind of justify this interpretation? But it is definitely not the shout-out from God I was looking for. Sigh..burned by Pinterest. I looked at the pin count for solace. I wasn’t the only one burned: so were the 79,500 other people who had added this to their boards.

As I sit and feel sorry for myself for being gullible, I realize how dangerous this can be. Sure, I fell for a beautiful saying — words twisted from the Bible to make me feel like a strong and infallible woman. But what about the not-so-beautiful parts of the Bible? If we can twist it for good, we can surely twist it for evil. I know there are areas of the Bible that people use to justify all kinds of atrocities: domestic abuse, hatred towards homosexuals, mistreatment of other faith practices, the list goes on. And while I don’t think those are necessarily the prettiest pins on Pinterest (say that five times fast) I don’t doubt their existence.

How often do we get swept up in pretty fonts and beautiful sayings? We want a Pinterest theology – one where we can find little nuggets of goodness to speak to us. But as we pick and choose what we want (and don’t want) to hear, we lose the context, the message, and the bigger picture. And as we twist the words of God, we lose the true meaning and the application to our lives.

I’m not shutting down my Pinterest account and I’m not suggesting you do either. But I learned a lesson today – one I will not be forgetting anytime soon. Be careful, my friends. And when in doubt, turn to your Bible.

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