Thursday, February 16, 2006

Christians on parade

My good friend Brad at Broken Messenger takes aim at political pundits who have risen to fame (if not fortune) under the guise of GodBlogging.

What Brad doesn't know is I've been savoring the juiciness of this topic since I began blogging and I kicked around ideas so long I forgot to write my tome. He captured my sentiment perfectly.

One of my great irritations in life is being stereotyped as a RIGHTWINGFUNDAMENTALISTZEALOT (trademarked by Mother Jones) as soon as I let people in on the secret that I'm one of those people. Whatever these people thought of me before, they now, by way of culture, have new assumptions about me like:

  • I watch TBN and Pat Robertson -- and not because I need a good laugh.
  • I got married by clubbing my (future) wife over the head and dragging her by the hair to the altar
  • I lounge around the house in a three-piece aqua blue polyester leisure suit (OK, this is a little out-dated, but we've never been known for our fashion sense)
  • I drive a mini-van. (This might be the most irritating).

    Part of these stereotypes are based on the fact we favor political people to speak for our spiritual concerns. We, as a church, best organize when something we agree on politically is at stake. For example, the vast majority of pro life leadership is Catholic, but it is best buoyed at the ballot booth by people who identify themselves as Evangelicals.

    So in the U.S., those who otherwise bear the cross of the Gospel message are best know by their ... politics.

    I don't think I'm speaking out of turn when I say Brad and I agree on fundamental political issues. We are both fairly conservative and probably agree with much of those conservative political bloggers he lists. I probably separate myself from the tone of the message without disagreeing with the content.

    Where I think we're both discouraged is the lack of the centrality of some alleged GodBloggers in the things that they write. The wrong message that the Christian Church is about politics is reinforced in silence, and it's something that needs to be addressed by the GodBlogging community. A challenge is needed for those who are at the pinnacle of traffic and who benefit from those of us who link to them because of our shared faith. They need to express their faith more -- not for us, but for the many who read them and have no faith.

    On the other hand, I think there are GodBlogs that suffer because there is barely the hint of a real person in their extensive writings on theology. I don't mean to downgrade the power of God's Word, but before I want to know what you believe, I'd like to know who you are. This plays out regularly in the real world. You have to gain my trust before you gain my ear.

    Christians do all sorts of interesting things besides organizing the next GOP election and starting wars in faraway countries. It would be nice to read more about the personal lives of Christians, and dare I say it might actually be beneficial to discuss challenges, difficulties, and other areas of life. There's a demand for intellectual honesty in blogs, and I think it starts with the personal disclosure that we are real people with real problems -- but who still engage the world with a message of hope.
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