Do you know what a “milkshake duck” is?

“Milkshake duck” is a term made famous by the Macquarie Dictionary as its current “word of the year”. It refers to a seemingly innocent person who is initially embraced and loved by the internet’s mass audience only to be brought crashing down when further investigation reveals them to posses a fatal flaw.

It all started two years ago when Ben Ward, an Australian cartoonist, sent a joke on twitter referring to “a duck that drinks milkshakes subsequently being discovered to be racist”. Now the phenomenon has gone viral.

Here we enter a fickle world where popularity, notability and acclaim is almost instant in the eyes of the world, only be trashed and washed away just as quickly.

An example concerns a Florida “hot cop” who posted pictures on the internet of himself helping victims of Hurricane Irma that ripped through the Atlantic in September last year. He became an instant hero only to be soon discovered that he previously posted a series on anti-semitic comments on Facebook.

Then there is the so-called “Manchester hero” who was reported on social media helping victims of the recent bomb blast during Ariana Grande’s ill-fated concert. Subsequent CCTV security footage showed him wandering among the dead and injured taking mobile phones and money.

In this digital age, heroes are born, celebrated, disgraced and forced back into anonymity all in a matter of hours. What’s really at stake is the accuracy, the authenticity and the dependability of much of the information we receive today. By means of the internet what appears be true one minute is chastised, castigated and reviled the next!

Given this “milkshake duck” phenomenon, can we be really be certain of anything these days?

Is the Christian story, for example, just as vulnerable? Do the accounts of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection come into contention here? Will we wake up one day to suddenly discover the whole affair is simply a hoax, a massive fraud or an enormous scam?

What about you? What to do really know and understand about your faith? What do make of the claim that Jesus is the “the way, the truth and the life”?

I have spent more than 30 years in ministry and I believe both fervently and passionately that Jesus is no “milkshake duck”. What do you think?

Rev John Barr