The Gospel According to a TikTok Evangelist | Sojourners

The Gospel According to a TikTok Evangelist

Be fierce, creative, and practical in your desire to do good. 
Illustration by Matt Chase

IF JESUS BROUGHT good news to the poor today, it might look like one of Shaunna Burns’ videos.

Burns is an honest-to-God evangelist on TikTok, the fast-growing, Chinese-owned, short-form video-sharing social network. Translate Jesus’ “brood of vipers” and “whitewashed tombs” into f-bombs and salty vernacular and you get Burns’ practical “good news” that’s changing lives.

A former debt collector, Burns knows all about the shady practices of collection agencies. But she didn’t start her 60-second “debt pro tips” on TikTok until she got a call herself from a collection agency harassing her for her daughter’s medical bills.

“Hey, guys. So, here’s some quick debt-collection pro tips,” North Carolina-based Burns starts in her first video in December. She then instructs the uninformed: It’s illegal for debt collectors to call outside of certain hours. Medical debt has a statute of limitations—usually three to six years—that varies by state. Always ask a collector for a copy of your original signed invoice.

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