Our new normal of a meeting primarily online, some of you have found that fun feature of setting a "virtual background" to show behind you. Instead of your messy dining room, your screen presence can have in the background pretty much any image or scene that you want - the seaside, mountains, a logo, and in one case I saw, the inside of an old submarine. The more monochromatic your real background, the better the technology works to project a virtual background.
(Note: We're turning that capacity off in our Sunday morning meetings to prevent a form of Zoombombing.)
For many, it's just for fun or variety. No doubt, some can use it to be deceptive. "Yes, boss, I am in my office working. Those bird noises? Ummm ... I have a window open. Yeah, a window open."
I've used a few photos of interesting places we've been a few times, but I generally don't use virtual backgrounds just because they can be a little distracting.
In some ways, we try to project virtual backgrounds for our lives when we meet in real life - choosing an image to back us up that is better and more interesting than our actual backgrounds. We put into the view of the "camera" our best moments, best accomplishments, and best successes.
And there's nothing wrong with appreciating the high moments God has brought into our lives.
But are we hiding from each other by projecting an imbalanced image? Are we too afraid of people seeing how messy our dining rooms are? Would we rather people didn't know our full story, but just our Kodak moments? And if so, why?
What does our tendency to hide from each other say about how we view God's redemptive work in our lives? What does it say what we're trusting in - grace by faith or self-righteousness by our own effort? Our tendency to project virtual backgrounds may reveal some lies we're believing about who God is and what He has done, is doing, and will do in us.
I write this as a fellow traveler, who is more than capable of projecting virtual backgrounds. And no one wants to constantly drag in front of everyone all the ugly scenes of their lives. But at some point, we have slid right into lying to one another because we're trusting our accomplishments more than we're trusting the redemptive power of the Gospel to frame our visage.
Trusting the Gospel includes showing everyone that the real background that matters for you has the Cross in it, not your trophies.