#FOMO and #YOLO: A Responsive Reading for the 21st Century Church

On and around a museum bench, seven different people each bows their head over their respective smartphone.

Note: #FOMO means "Fear of Missing Out" and #YOLO means "You Only Live Once." These are accompanied by hashtags because their acronyms originated out of the Twitter-style writing (limited to 140 characters, with hashtags that connect you with other posts about the issue). Each #FOMO or #YOLO is meant to denote "Voice 1 & 2" or "Speaker/Congregation." The lines read by the #FOMO group are representative of that perspective (the fear of missing out); similarly, lines read by the #YOLO group explore what it's like to embrace "You Only Live Once" as your philosophy.

#FOMO: We see the public lives of our friends and neighbors, and wonder if we are living up to our potential.

#YOLO: We feel the inner doubts and questions, and try to live life fully—creating the life we want by our words and deeds.

#FOMO: Life feels like it’s moving too fast; we cannot do all that we want or need to do. We long for us all to slow down.

#YOLO: Life is moving too fast; we have but one short life to do all that can be done. We long for us all to speed up.

#FOMO: Are we missing out by living the life that feels true to us?

#YOLO: Are we missing out by doing so much that we cannot simply just be?

#FOMO: In this moment, we let go of expectations, of fears, of worries—and we accept that life is exactly what it ought to be.

#YOLO: In this moment, we let go of the past and future, living into the moment, accepting that life is exactly as we make it.

Unison: Our different lives represent different threads; each a color and texture of its own. May our lives be woven together, becoming stronger by our connections and brighter by our diversity.

About the Author

Scott McNeill

The Rev. Scott McNeill has served congregations in Omaha, Nebraska; Manassas, Virginia; and Bloomington, Indiana.

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