I love that quote from G. K. Chesterton. Not a surprising statement, considering it comes from a man who once wrote a lengthy essay about his fascination with all the items he found in his pants pocket.
Like Chesterton, I am fascinated by all kinds of things. One of the reasons I write and read blogs is because I am curious. There’s so much to learn. So many interesting voices to listen to. So many insights into life and love that arise from places you least expect.
Is Your Blog Post “Christian?”
When I first considered moving my blog home to The Gospel Coalition neighborhood, I realized that my choice of subject matter and daily links would be more eclectic than some of my blog neighbors. Perhaps that’s why, in the past few months, I’ve received occasional comments or emails from readers puzzled about my choice of topic for a blog post or link. Almost always, the question concerns the perceived “Christian-ness” of the choice.
Here’s an example. My post on “7 Myths about the Columbine Shooting” earlier this week prompted this comment:
A question about your article….and I accept I might be missing something here…apart from a review of a book and you sharing some things you learned from it….I’m struggling to see how this article is either helpful to a Christian or is relevant to a Christian. I guess another way of putting it might be, what is there about the article that makes it ‘Gospel Coalition’ content? Just curious?
No, the commenter isn’t missing anything. He’s right. There was nothing distinctively Christian about the post, apart from the fact it was written by me – a Christian. I wrote about the book because I found it fascinating and thought others would be interested in some of the truths I learned.
That said, the Columbine post certainly provides a number of possibilities for further conversation. Here are a few:
- The power of the media to shape a narrative in the wake of a tragedy.
- The persistence of myth-making and conspiracy theories in our culture.
- The willingness of Christians to pass on an inaccurate martyr story in order to invest a terrible tragedy with spiritual significance.
- The ongoing discussion about bullying among children and teenagers.
Though I didn’t pursue these avenues in detail, I knew the blog post might spark some good thought in these directions.
Living on Earth as Citizens of Heaven
Whenever I hear from readers who wonder why my daily links do not always relate directly to Christianity, the church, or pastoral ministry, I point them to the name of this blog: Kingdom People: Living on Earth as Citizens of Heaven.
Too many times, we think of something as “Christian” only when it is directly tied to our being “citizens of heaven” instead of our “living on earth.” But I don’t think we can separate the two. Those of us who seek to improve our ability to exegete the Bible for our congregations should also be experts at exegeting the culture. Kevin Vanhoozer writes:
I cannot love my neighbor unless I understand him and the cultural world he inhabits. Cultural literacy – the ability to understand patterns and products of everyday life – is thus an integral aspect of obeying the law of love. (Everyday Theology, 19)
So why learn to read culture? Vanhoozer offers three reasons:
- It helps to know what is forming one’s spirit. It helps to be able to name the powers and principalities that vie for the control of one’s mind, soul, heart, and strength.
- To make sure that the scripts we perform in everyday life are in accord with the Scriptures – the story of what God is doing in Jesus Christ through the Spirit to give meaning and life to the world – rather than some other story.
- Because we need to know where we are in the drama of redemption. The world is our stage, but culture is the setting for our next scene.
Chesterton was right. There are no uninteresting subjects, only uninterested people. That’s why, whenever I find something of interest on the web, my first thought is not – Is this Christian? - but Is this interesting? Is it “worth a look?” Is there humor in it? Pathos? Insight into the way the world works? The way people think? If so, I’ll link to it or write a post about it.
This whole world is God’s. As Nate Wilson reminds us, “To an infinite artist, a Creator in love with His craft, there is no unimportant corner, there is no thrown-away image, no tattered thread in the novel left untied.”