I have a thing against bandwagons—a term we use to denote people leaping into a suddenly faddish cause. Mostly I don’t think people who jump aboard popular crazes are using their heads, or their hearts, or their character. They are simply going with the flow.
Of course I can be wrong about that. I once declared the Beatles were a passing fad. Oops! Turns out they revolutionized pop music. I missed on that one.
But you can see why a non-musician such as I might make the mistake. I mean, there were countless girls at their concerts, screaming and crying, to the point that you had to believe NO ONE was actually listening to the music.
Of course, I didn’t understand about the music industry either—how records and radio and promotion all worked.
The point is, I know from that experience bandwagons may be more than faddish, but my first instinct is to suspect they aren’t.
I’m glad about that too because I think it protects me from going along just to go along. Not that I haven’t done that on occasion. In college a friend asked me to go to a movie with her. Sure, what are we seeing? Turned out to be the controversial X-rated (since, downgraded to R) Midnight Cowboy.
Going along just to go along can lead to some places I don’t want to be.
But just recently, I discovered that, as logical as my decision not to go along “just because” might be, as important as it is to fight against mindlessness, there’s a greater reason to stand against bandwagon jumping: God is against it.
At least He warns against it. I should have seen this sooner. After all, the New Testament uses the analogy of a narrow road and few who find life, but a broad road with many on it heading to destruction.
In the epistles, we’re told not to be conformed to the world—no going with the flow.
In the Old Testament, God clearly told the people of Israel not to be like the nations around them—no fitting in just to be one of the guys, or one of the cool nations with all those idols and altars.
But most recently, I read with new eyes an admonition in amongst the “sundry laws” given Moses at Mt. Sinai:
You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice (Exodus 23:1,2 – emphasis mine).
Jesus’s crucifixion is the perfect example of the kind of bandwagon jumping God commanded His people to avoid. I mean, one day the masses were clamoring to make Jesus their king, and in a matter of days they were just as vociferously telling Pilate to kill him.
In the passage above, I didn’t highlight the “doing evil” or “pervert justice” parts, but here’s the thing. If someone jumps on a bandwagon—goes along just to go along—he rarely is thinking about whether or not the end is evil or if justice will be perverted.
The very me-too-ism involved in getting on board a bandwagon requires a blind eye.
Seems to me we would do well to slow down and think, search the pages of Scripture, pray, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit before we write the next scathing blog post or call someone like the President or governor or Senator or a neighbor unkind names for disagreeing with those of us atop the bandwagon.
Stretch that out to writing a certain kind of novel because that kind is selling, or to proclaiming parts of the Bible outdated because they clash with what most people in our culture believe, or to abandoning belief in an unchanging authority because the majority of society has swallowed postmodern philosophy. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. While I might be wrong about what is or isn’t a fad, I don’t think I’m wrong about our need to turn to God before we take a position … about anything. Turning to Him seems like the best way to keep from jumping on any old bandwagon that might be passing by.
This article is a revised version of one that appeared here in September 2009.</font