On Saturday March 31st we launched our annual April Fool’s joke, albeit a day early. (More on why we did it a day early below.) Here’s what we said:
The internet has changed so much since LifeTeen.com began over 10 years ago. But starting 4/10/2012, LifeTeen.com will be no more. As we try to serve teens and young adults better, we realize that social media is where you want to interact with us. That’s why we’re moving our entire web ministry to Pinterest.
You can find the whole joke here.
If you’ve been around Life Teen long enough you recognize that we have done a series of April Fool’s Day jokes. In 2003 and in 2005, we “officially” changed our name to “Teen Life”. Ironically, it was a change that a lot of people agreed with. In 2008, we created “iLifeTeen,” an interactive iPhone app which allowed you to download and connect with all of the resources for Edge and Life Teen. This was before apps were even created for iPhones, so the joke was really funny. Today, if we were to create an app like that, it would seem like it was about time.
Matt Smith should really be credited with creating a culture of having April Fool’s Day jokes. It was his leadership and creativity that generated these creations in years past. I’m happy to have continued in that tradition.
Why We Did It
For 2008, Matt Smith shared the reasons behind our April Fool’s Day joke. I want to elaborate on the idea, though.
During this year of Radiant Joy, we are discovering more and more about God’s joy in our lives. The fact that we have a life is something to rejoice in. Pope Benedict points out that joy can come from “the experience of reading a great work of literature, of admiring a masterpiece of art, of listening to or playing music, or of watching a film.” (The Path of Joy for Evangelization, 2012) Among those great joys is the ability to laugh, even sometimes at ourselves.
We know that thousands of people come on LifeTeen.com daily looking to find a deeper connection to God and to others. We recongnize that it’s an important ministry for the Church and for you and we will continue to do everything in our power to serve you well. But the people who work for Life Teen joyful and fun. It’s a Core Value of ours and we will always try to live that out.
For our joke this year, we decided social media would be the best way to share that joy. Pinterest, as you have now discovered, is a new social network where people “pin” images to “boards.” It’s growing faster than any other social network ever and it has potential to share pieces of content in a unique and engaging way. But the content is sometimes not very valuable. For instance, there are pictures called “memes” that are posted frequently on Pinterest. Some are funny and some are distastful. So we thought it would be fun to play off of that trend and post some clean and funny Christian memes. Of course this could never replace the much more valuable content on LifeTeen.com, but it was a way to highlight the irony behind the trend.
The reason we did the joke a day early (and we understand this is heresy to some people) is to keep the focus on Christ on this Passion Sunday. It’s too easy to get caught up in a joke and never focus on the purpose of our Sabbath, especially since this week is the start of Holy Week. We did it a day early because our focus, first and foremost, is always on the Eucharist.
We hope that looking back you can understand how ridiculous the idea was and laugh a little bit with us. May the joy of Christ be with you always.
“God writes a lot of comedy… the trouble is, he’s stuck with so many bad actors who don’t know how to play funny.” – Garrison Keillor