If you enjoy occasionally peeking into the collective psyche of the world, you might try looking at Google Trends. Google takes in between 400-500 million searches a day. On the top end of the range, that works out to an average of 5,787 searches … per second! I certainly add a few numbers to the daily search totals myself.
Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) is a new section of Google that allows you to see what the hottest search words and phrases are. As Google says, “Hot Trends highlights searches that have sudden surges in popularity.” Many times you can tell what is in the news by looking at what gets searched for. Many times you’re just confused!
Just out of curiousity, I pulled it up for Friday, January 18. Top search phrase: “yin and yang.” Number two: “sheep dash.”
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution came in at number 14.
In a humbling display of arrogance, Google had the audacity to give me this message: “Your terms – Ken Hensley – do not have enough search volume to show graphs.” At least I know my number of internet stalkers is fairly low — at least on January 18.
While Christ-followers need to be aware of what is moving through our culture, it is also too easy to get caught up in it. The German theologian Karl Barth was once asked about what made for good preaching. His response: A Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. In other words, effective Christ-followers bridge two worlds — the world we live in and the world of God.
When they compliment each other, there is tremendous synergy. Christians have harnessed the power of radio waves, television broadcasts, and the internet. These are not good or bad mediums — they are neutral advances in culture until harnessed for good or bad. Creating music that fits the times is another powerful example of effectively bridging two worlds.
When the two worlds collide, we yield to the reality of God’s truth. Our challenge is to use culture when appropriate and to draw a line when necessary. This is the tension that authentic Christ-followers have lived with for centuries.
Add that to your Google Trends!