A friend of mine who lives and works in a very conservative, community in Appalachia called my attention recently to a phenomenon on Facebook that he calls the “I love Jesus more than you do” competition or what I’d like to call “competitive Christianity.”

Facebook appears to serve as an arena of social competition for many social circles. Who can post the cleverest, most humorous status? Who can find the most pertinent political reference or video to post? Who can post the most beautiful photos, or the ones that make the most people go “aww” and “how cute!” Who can garner the most comments to their status posting?

However, the competition in my friend’s circle of Facebook “friends” from work and his local community centers around declarations of love for Jesus/God. The competition seems to involve one-upmanship in showing verbal devotion, and in seeing how many people to “like” your post or make agreeing comments.

Here are just a few of the Facebook status quotes my friend shared:

…God is so Good and I just want to Praise Him for all things! We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. So lets pray one for another.

…needs patience, though one would think I would be loaded with it by now…God, make me more teachable, so I can see the lessons You have planned for me.

…is so grateful to GOD

…”It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.”Psalm 18:32-36

…Thank God that they found your camera…those are memories that you could not get back…GOD IS SO GOOD!! Thank you Lord for watching over my loved ones and bringing them home safe!

…I KNOW! When she came back on the phone from checking the lost & found, she said, “yes, we got it” I said,”PRAISE GOD!” 🙂 And He sure watched over us on the way home, VERY heavy rain, there was a tornado warning in one or two cities we drove through.

…just wanted to let you know you have been on my mind and I have been praying for you. Hope all is well.

…I have just look [sic] at one of the most beautiful babies that my Lord has ever made. He is so loved by all of us and he is so happy. God is so Good . I do praise His Name!

Neither my friend, nor I are Christians, and our knowledge of Christianity is “academic.” For example, I’m aware of several texts in the New Testament, in which Jesus warns his followers against making a big show of their faith and prayers, such as in Matthew 6:5-6:

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

So, it would seem to me, as an outsider to the faith, that Jesus would not have approved of this type of Facebook display.