Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Developing a Christian Impact on Society - Revisited

Matt Stokes posted yesterday at Stones Cry Out on the lack of evangelicals in the media, particularly within the conservative media. Mark Sides then continued the conversation in this post sharing that there are a fair share of evangelical heavyweights, however, they seemed to be confined more to Christian than secular media outlets.

(Correction: I originally incorrectly attributed the second post to Rick Brady. Thanks to Mark for pointing out my mistake.)

Both of these posts are indirectly speaking to an issue that has been circulating for a while in the blogosphere: how do Christians develop greater influence on society at large?

Consider this parable from Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost in a post entitled "Breaking Out of the Ghetto":

A guy named Saul finds himself in dire straits. His business has gone bust and he's in serious financial trouble. He's so desperate that he decides to ask God for help. He begins to pray: "God, please help me. I've lost my business and if I don't get some money, I'm going to lose my house as well. Please let me win the lottery." Lottery night comes, and somebody else wins it. Saul again prays: "God, please let me win the lotto! I've lost my business, my house and I'm going to lose my car as well." Lotto night comes, and Saul still has no luck.

Once again, he prays: "My God, why have you forsaken me? I've lost my business, my house, and my car. My wife and children are starving. I don't often ask you for help, and I have always been a good servant to you. PLEASE just let me win the lottery this one time so I can get my life back in order." Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light as the heavens open and Saul is confronted by the voice of God Himself:

"Saul, meet me halfway on this: Go buy a ticket."

In other words, we need to be engaged in the culture. As a blogger, it's not enough to simply have our own blog and write eloquent posts on matters of faith and life. We have to engage in conversation with other bloggers. We also have to be willing to blog about the ordinary things, not just deep theological issues (though there is a place for that as well). Pastor and blogger friend echoed this sentiment in a comment in response to the upcoming GodBlogCon.

The lack of evangelical presence in the media noted by Matt Stokes is because Christians as a whole have been withdrawing from the culture at large and developing a Christian subculture that in many ways looks a lot like the culture at large except it is dominated by "Christian" stuff. We have Christian books, Christian magazines, Christian music, Christian radio stations, Christian bookstores and many other things that primarily serve Christians as their audience and market. Is that bad? Not necessarily. But I think that it's help to contribute to the withdrawal of Christians from culture at large.

I confess I am as guilty of this as the next person. If you look down my blogroll, you'll see that most of the blogs I link to are fellow Christians. There are very few (if any) blogs that I read that aren't written by Christians.

Let me be clear about this: I have no problem with blogs that have as their purpose to encourage and equip other Christians as their vision. I think there is a definite place for those types of blogs. In fact, I think that those blogs will become a valuable discipleship tool as the blogosphere continues to grow.

However, I also believe regardless of the specific emphasis of our individual blogs, we as Christians have an obligation and an opportunity to engage other bloggers in conversation for the sake of spreading the gospel.

Therefore, here is the challenge: to start seeking out well-written blogs that are not written from a Christian point of view and begin to engage those bloggers in conversation. Make it a point to read a blog a day from someone who is not a Christian. Begin to comment on their posts. Start a conversation with them. Use it as an opportunity to spread the gospel.

We're already on our way to developing an influencial segment of the blogosphere through the multitude of great Christian blogs. If we do not reach out beyond our comfortable borders, we are destined to just become another segment of the Christian ghetto. I believe we're being called to something much greater than just reaching out to other Christians.

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