As I was saying in the last post, Hugh Hewitt’s book Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation was a challenge and provocation for me. The more I reflected on it after reading it, the more I realized that in many ways my blog was, well, bland.
I hate to admit that to myself, because I feel that I’ve been pretty informative, encouraging, challenging and even edgy (heck, who else do you know that writes about butt boils?). However, I have rarely written about topics that are controversial. I have for the most part steered clear of politics (except for last year’s sales tax debacle). And I have been very vocal about my faith and love for Jesus Christ. It is the absolute foundation of all that I do.
Yet, Hewitt’s book bothered me. In a nutshell, it caused me to consider whether my writings were really influencing readers – or if they were merely informing readers.
When I was running MonticelloLive.com, I chose to not only report news but to dig deeper beneath our community’s noise and try to see what was making things “tick” and “go bump in the night.” I learned a lot about some people’s motives, ideals and agendas. Some of those were encouraging; some were disconcerting.
The times that I wrote editorials (1, 2, 3), I got quite a bit of negative feedback from some leaders in town and even from a few Christians. The gist of their complaint was that I was a pastor, and that I shouldn’t be saying the things I was saying. It’s quite a turn of events to realize that just 100 years ago, pastors were the moral leaders and opinion influencers in their communities. Heck, 500 years ago, pastors were the primary civic leaders and engines of community life. (Can you say Martin Luther or John Calvin?!) Imagine what things would be like politically and religiously if they had listened to folks tell them that pastors should just preach and not get involved!
That brings me full circle to what I am have wrestling with. It’s been obvious over the past year that local news outlets choose simply to report news. It’s like a reflex. Something happens; someone writes about it. There is not much of an effort to dig deep and find news. Truly getting involved and seeking to contribute to community life, however, requires more than that.
Edmund Burke said,
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Wayne Greeson has an excellent sermon on this topic here.)
It’s not just evil that triumphs when good people do nothing. Ignorance prevails. I think it’s time to do something. How about you? (to be continued)