If I were to give an alternate title for this article it would be “How to feel good about making a difference while making the rest of us look dumb.”
I first heard about the “Three Throw” while listening to Christian Radio station K-Love this past Monday. Usually I am lulled into a mind-numbing coma by the repetitive, poorly-rhymed lyrics and themes of most Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), so I am surprised that I even heard the interview with the founder of the “Three Throw” movement. Along with most of my co-workers, I was caught up in the absurdity of a hand gesture to connect me to other members of my Christian faith. I quickly glanced at my calendar, is it April 1st?
Here’s how it works. Hold up three of your fingers as if you were a toddler telling me your age. There! Now I know you are a Christian! If I do it back we can both rejoice, because as we stand in the middle of a world going to hell in a hand-basket, we are secure in our belief that we’re going to heaven! Yay. Of course, I could look at you with a dazed expression that says, “what the…?” In that case, you can view the situation as an opportunity to witness to me, “this little finger is God, this little finger is Jesus, and this finger is the Holy Spirit…” Once I know the sign, I’m in! Hmmm. So that’s the “Three Throw.” For more info, check out their website: www.threethrow.com. Seriously.
I know that I am using a facetious tone as I get this message across, and while I admire anyone who actually gets up out of their pew and does something about their faith, this is just a bad idea. I am specifically referring to the actual idea of a “Christian” hand gesture, I am trying hard to ignore the fact that there is an entire line of merchandise for sale. We need Christians that will not use their faith as a marketing strategy, but as a way to affect who they are and the world around them.
I shared the link for the “Three Throw” website with Seattle-based author Jeffrey Overstreet, and he had these words to share:
If I remember right, the idea was that those who know Christ would be recognized by their love… not by their “Are you in the club?” exclusivity signs. Nor, for that matter, by the way they vote, their political party, their fashion, their ethnicity, their income, their denomination, their taste in art, etc… etc…
We don’t need our own sign! Nor do we need our own “Christian” Facebook, iTunes, music or bookstores…. As Christians, we are called to excel in the gifts and talents that God has given us, and share the love of Jesus organically as we live life to the fullest in the world! Rather than “Christian” authors, musicians or who-ever’s, as Christ-following authors we will write out of the overflow of heavenly inspiration, as Christ-following musicians we will be passionate about creating something that would sound sweet to the One who has heard it all. In whatever we do, we are to do it to bring glory to God. Labeling something “Christian” doesn’t necessarily accomplish this.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am aware of how easy it is to criticize someone else’s work, and I actually believe that the founders of the “Three Throw” are well intentioned. I bet they’ve spent time in prayer and poured a lot of time and energy into this. I’d love to see that much energy and creativity poured into an effective witness for Jesus. Because of my criticism I must must resign myself to finding real, constructive ways to allow my faith to affect people around me. I hope that means living and loving life and letting Jesus shine through.
PS – Here’s hoping the Three Throw goes the way of WWJD bracelets and Fish-shaped car decals…BE the change, don’t BUY it.