Instagram Is

Kyle Steed, Paul Tellefsen, Allie Anderson, Brenton Little, Branden Harvey, Benito Ferro, Michael Giroux, Sarah Thacker, Greg Schmigel, Tim Landis, Chris Connolly ....

What do they have in common? Outside of my family & friends, these are the people I follow on Instagram.

I've had Instagram for a while now, but never fully committed myself to using it. At least not to its full potential.  For me, Instagram was a tool to capture our vacations and nothing more.  You see, in my household, my wife is the photographer, equipped with a digital single lens reflect camera and the talent, savvy and intuition to know how to use it.

I, on the other hand, am a fully equipped iPhone 5 user with no knowledge of how to capture a photograph outside of opening up Instagram, tapping the camera, and with a modicum of hope, selecting a filter that makes my pictures pop with a tinge of interest.  My life is my kids, theology, and geekiness wrapped up in workbooks, headcount budgets and teaching an occasional class over the intricacies of using pivot tables & vlookups to more effectively present your data in an oversized spreadsheet. My wife has the kids covered and you can't exactly photograph theology. So, just a vacation picture taker then.

That was until the other night, when I stumbled upon an intriguing documentary over the community aspect of Instagram.  I sat consumed by this hidden side of Instagram, that I never really thought about. Sure, I was aware that you could share photos and that it was a part of social media, but this was different. This group of users would travel to places to meet one another, take crazy shots together, and embrace the community aspect of Instagram.  Not only that, but they took amazing pictures together and just appreciated the art of being surrounded with a group of friends who didn't really care what filters you applied, but were more interested in sharing life through the lens of a kindred spirit.  Community in all aspects of the word transcends technology and Instagram, at least for this group of friends, was just another piece of the puzzle. It was a tool for capturing and sharing life.

The more I thought about it, I realized this was a reflection of the original intent behind the Kingdom of Christ.  Believers were meant to share life together.  At any point during His plan, God could have intervened with a divine ultimatum that we all must worship in the same temple, return to Jerusalem, etc. But instead, Christ sent the disciples out weaving a fabric of community, wherein all the members are dependant on the artistic and creative inputs of its fellow members. The contributions differ, the filters expose us to various styles of worship, tradition and liturgy, but the purpose remains the same: sharing life through service and in doing so, ultimately bringing glory to God.

Every photo taken in Instagram is a personal point in time and yet circumvents privacy through a medium of social media.  Likewise, it is the very nature of our relationship with Christ: personal but never private.

With that in mind, I invite you to watch the documentary:
I realize that the creators probably never meant the spiritual overtones I have applied to it. In all fairness though, I warned you all I think about is my kids, geekiness, and theology!