The announcement was ripe for mockery, but after reading it, it’s interesting to note that the Pope’s emphasis throughout is on extending pastoral care to their flocks, not on “reaching the lost.”
That’s a significant point of emphasis, and one different from what Christian new media advocates envisioned and talked about several years ago. The internet, we were told, was going to open up new avenues for communicating the Gospel. It was going to increase the opportunities Christians had to interact with the rest of the world.
But it hasn’t happened. At least not that I’m aware of.
I may be overly cynical here, so I’ll pose it as a question: which Christian blog that is not a blog written by Christians about politics has a sizable portion of its readers–say, 10-15%–that are not Christians? My guess is that when Joe jumped to Senior Editor at Evangelical Outpost, that number dropped from 1 to 0.
Here’s my basic hypothesis. Christian blogs fit into one of three categories: Christians exhorting other Christians to live Christianly, Christians talking about politics, and Christians exhorting other Christians to stop talking about politics and start reaching the lost instead.
Of course, those blogs are great. I read them, enjoy them, and am often edified by them. People like Desiring God, Resurgence, and other big Christian websites produce great content that is very influential for the Kingdom. Even Mere-O has drifted toward becoming one of them (exhorting Christians to live Christianly) over the past few years. Don’t hear me saying that Christian blogs have to be oriented toward talking to non-Christians. They don’t.
But if I was a non-Christian judging the shape and dynamic of our churches by our behavior online–a reasonable thing to do, I think–I’d probably leave a tour of Christian blogs thinking that we spend most of our time talking about how to reach people, rather than reaching people.
In other words, I don’t know of a major Christian blog that has crossover appeal.
And that makes me sad, like the opportunities promised to us have passed us by. We don’t live in an ‘agora’ where ideas are exchange freely. We live in the ghetto of an echo chamber, and the only way out is through the political trap-door, which will make at least half the Christians think you’re selling out the Gospel.
I could be wrong, of course. I’d be thrilled to be wrong. So if there’s a blog I’m missing that has a significant non-Christian audience, I’d like to know about it.
And if you’re not a Christian and you read Mere-O, I’d love to hear your perspective. Which blogs do you read, and why? And before you comment, you should know that I’m thankful for all the non-Christians that have read our stuff and interacted with us throughout the past five years. We’ve always worked hard to win your respect, even if we don’t ultimately win your agreement.