Bereans and Blogs

This blog almost didn’t happen.

Not because of technical glitches or external pressures or anything like that.  It just seems to be that nowadays everyone is writing a blog.  And the reading of blogs has become a new way to judge whether or not someone is culturally “with it” or even educated.  “Do you read [insert blogger name]’s blog?” is a question I’ve been asked on numerous occasions, usually to find out if I’ve participated in certain conversations the asker deems vital.

More than this, however, I’ve noticed that certain theories or ways of thinking are considered weighty because they come from someone who blogs.  Maybe because we used to judge the validity of an idea or artistic expression by whether or not the writer had his/her work published.  If someone has a blog – that is, if they are “published” online – they clearly are qualified to comment on their subject matter, right?  Such is the assumption that seems to explain why people lend so much weight to blogs.  That and the degree to which the blogger’s perspective is compatible with our own.

None of this is particularly encouraging to someone – like me – who has been debating whether or not to add a voice to the cacophony of more (and less) “qualified” commentators.

So, why blog then?

First of all, while I will be writing a larger percentage of these blogs, this is not MY blog.  This is a forum for a community of Christian disciples, striving to answer the question “What does following in Jesus’ footsteps look like in this wonderful, puzzling, and often challenging world of 21st century North America?”  If you do not consider yourself a student or follower of Jesus, we invite you to participate anyway.  Ask questions and think deeply along with us. 

Secondly, one of the purposes of this blog – and especially this entry! – is to challenge all participants to process carefully, prayerfully, and thoughtfully the variety of opinions encountered, well, EVERYWHERE.  Whether on television, radio shows, social network sites, or – yes – blogs, the standard response should be to test whatever you hear/read.

Our Role Models

In the early days of the church, St. Paul and one of his travelling companions, Silas, found themselves in a place called Berea during one of their journeys.  The Jews of Berea were known for being “more open-minded and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message.  They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth” (Acts. 17:11 NLT).  As a result of this tendency to test what they heard, many people came to accept and live by the truth they heard Paul preaching. 

Because of this penchant for testing, the Bereans tend to get a lot of airtime in evangelical Christian circles.  And for this blog and the community represented by it, they will serve as models for us.

We, too, will explore a variety of perspectives through our understanding of Judeo-Christian Scripture.

We, too, will test the teachings espoused all around us.

All of them.

We will test everything we discuss and match it with the story of Scripture and the life of Jesus, who embodied that Scripture.

If I could give one piece of advice. . .

it would be this:  test everything you hear.  Notice, I don’t say “challenge” everything.  Challenging implies you already know and are on the “right” side.  Testing is different.  It implies a willingness to learn.  The description of the Bereans given above says that they were “open-minded” and “listened eagerly” to what they were being taught.  That’s the basis for testing and will be the basis for ours here.  So test everything.

“Even what you say, Gene?”

Absolutely, yes; even what I say.

I consider myself a student of Scripture and a follower of Christ.  And a human being.  Which means I might be more or less in line with Scripture in my viewpoints on a given topic.

This blog represents a journey – a project of sincere inquiry in the context of Christian belief.  Remember, with God there is grace.  Bear with me.  Bear with one another.

And welcome aboard! 

(It should go without saying – though I’ll say it anyway – that as a forum for a Christian community [and friends], respectful dialogue will be the rule and not the exception.  As such, I’ll be vetting comments to make sure they maintain such a tone.)