God Needs Followers (But Friends Will Do)

The Salvation iPhone AppI have to admit, I love the MeaCulpa iPhone app. For only a couple bucks, it delivers a lot of penitence. I’ve been using it to confess all sorts of things, like that last slice of pizza I ate, the trip I took with the kids where I forgot to bring their shoes, the yogurt I stole from the office fridge…

Okay, some of my foibles aren’t included in the app, which tend to run more toward Leviticus than Seinfeld. “Have you harbored hatred in your heart?” the app asks. “Have you led anyone into sin?” It’s like a medical questionnaire for the spiritually ill.

But I’ve got to admit, the app is fun. MeaCulpa does help me bear the burden of being such a douche. I wonder if there will be a Facebook app. “Prayerville: Clara wants to share an Our Father and two Hail Mary’s with you. Accept?”

I bet I can build such an awesome Prayerville layout that eternal salvation is guaranteed.

Or maybe not. I’m pretty sure that no matter how many Ave Marias I collect, when the great alarm clock in the sky chimes for me I’ll be on the down escalator. Maybe this post gets me into a deeper circle.

But here’s the bottom line: The Vatican has already approved the app. The highest authority in the Christian religion (and the most brilliant marketers in history), understand that God needs followers. And what better way to gain followers than to gain… followers?

If religion is strictly about penitence and virtuous obedience, maybe the app won’t cut it, but if religion is also about community and service, then this limited method of engagement is a whole lot better than nothing. If that means sporadic iPhone users instead of weekly kneelers, the church has evidently decided to deal.

What would Jesus do? Probably send a shout out to his peeps: “Call me.”

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