This might be a good time for you to skip reading my blog. I am about to say a few things that some might find offensive. It is not ever my intention to offend, but some may well be offended by this post.
My heart bleeds for the church tonight. It bleeds for Catholics, who are fearing the loss of their beloved Pope. I respect John Paul 2, he has been an open and welcoming heart for all in these troubled times, regardless of what creed they profess. If the church were more like that, would our pews be full?
But my heart doesn’t stop with grieving for Catholics. It grieves also for the misconception that we, the church, are centrally located, and because we are, all will be drawn to our convenient location. Take a look around. Do you see a lot of people not coming? I do.
I am disturbed because a recent trend in web logging is an attempt to draw people who don’t believe to our blogs. I wonder, will they come?
Does the internet match reality? I would have to say reality is matchless against wires and chips. However, the internet, in all its glory, does mimic trends in the real world. And it does so exactly because people from the real world come here, and interact here.
The recent trend, to draw people who don’t believe, is noteworthy, and very commendable. But it says something to me I don’t think I like. It says we are as lazy in our evangelism on the net as we are in real life. To see the same trend that has existed for eighteen hundred years begin to exist on the web is disturbing. To see it begin under the guise of giving glory to God is even more disturbing.
I have no doubt that people truly would like to glorify God in their lives. I know I want to. Yesterday, however, I spoke of theory against reality, and the reality is, in theory, I want to glorify God. I even think every so often, I might actually do it. But in large part, I do not glorify God, not with my life, and not with this blog.
I started this blog as a means to find fellow believers, and interact with them, and encourage them in their lives. I also started with the wild hope that one or two people who didn’t believe might wander here, and read something that would open their eyes to the truth of the gospel.
If you read that last paragraph carefully, you will see that the reason I started this blog is about me. I do not believe I have ever said otherwise. To say so now would be a lie, one that would shame me before my God. He knows the truth, and so do I.
Having said that, is it possible for we who blog to glorify God consistently? In other words, does our writing draw attention to God, or to ourselves? Again, I’d love to say my writing draws attention to God, but I know it really only draws attention to myself. There is nothing wrong with writing, and my goal is not necessarily to draw attention to myself. Yet in the end, this blog is about me. I am hoping God can use that.
So what is the difference between me, and all the rest of the God-bloggers out there? As cynical as this may sound, I don’t believe there is any difference in our motives. I think we all would want to say that we write to draw attention to God. That’s the theory. In practice, I don’t think we are that beneficent.
That’s not even what troubles me the most.
What troubles me so deeply is a question; Why do we wait for them to come to us?
Here, in this medium where frontiers are breeched every day, why do we do the same old things we have always done? The same things that people who don’t believe say are the things that anger them most about us? Why?
I don’t care about blog associations, or aggregators, or any other method of grouping people. If you want to join it, it’s okay to do it, and I don't think, given good management, there is anything wrong with it. But these things are never going to replace the truth about evangelism.
You see, evangelism doesn’t take place inside of the church. The church is the body of Christ, and people there are already evangelized. Evangelism takes place outside of the church. So, by that description, evangelism is going somewhere, not staying put. Evangelism is not painting the church, or building a new building. It is not singing chippy songs that everyone dances to, or a half comedian, half bible thumping preacher. And it is not the Christian world gathering together in loose associations on the internet.
Evangelism means going to them. Going to those who don’t know Jesus, going where they are, and you know this as well as I do; most of them are not in churches. In fact, in America, no matter how much we decorate our churches, no matter how lively and fun our “worship” is, it doesn’t draw people who don’t believe. Most of the newcomers to any church attend for the first time because they already know someone going to that church gathering. This is a fact, and it will never change.
If we want to draw people to Christ, we have to get to know them outside of a church building, and here, on the internet, it means we have to get to know them outside of our blog, and outside of our comfortable associations. I am not saying these associations are wrong. I am saying these associations won’t draw more people who don’t believe. It doesn’t work in the real world, and it won’t work here.
I have seen women reach out to strippers in my town, and some of those strippers know the name of Jesus, although they don’t yet profess Him. I believe they will, exactly because I believe the women who reach out to them are the hope of their lives. These women offer something to the girls who dance nude that no one ever has, love without a price tag. You will never see one of these strippers walk into a church on her own seeking Jesus. But you will see one of the girls walking to Jesus, because someone went to them. That’s how the gospel works.
The gospel is not stagnant. It moves, and it meets people where they are, wherever that is, in whatever condition they are in. Church buildings are clean and pretty, and smell nice. But where people don’t know Jesus, life can be ugly, smelly, and downright dirty. They won’t come to us, because they don’t know us, and if they don’t know us, chances are, they’ll never know Jesus.
We can wait for them to walk through the door of our buildings. We can wait for them to click the site meter on our blog. But, don’t hold your breath. They are where they are by the design of God, and we go where they are because Jesus lives in us, and He came to seek and save that which was lost. They aren’t the seekers. We are.
Thank you for reading this post.