As a Communication major, clarity is something I always strive for, so hopefully this helps answer some questions you may not have even known you had:
What kind of content should be expected?
Personally, I’ll be tackling theological and apologetical issues I believe today’s Christian church (as a people group) may be a little off on or may not be placing enough emphasis on. I may also address overarching philosophical issues I see in the world today, and how I approach them as a Christian.
Pieces written by my friends will cover whatever they please as I’ve given them the freedom to choose whatever subject is on their mind. These friends will be theists and non-theists alike, as open-mindedness is imperative if any progress is to made as far as understanding is concerned. A reminder to all, discussions concerning theology should be a discussion, NOT an argument. “Argument” implies there is a loser and a winner at the conclusion of the dialogue, one typically fueled by undesirable emotion. “Discussion” is the free exchange of ideas, which is way more fun anyways.
This isn’t going to turn into another political ranting blog that I see all over social media, is it?
In short, I don’t necessarily like or care about politics. One of my very favorite questions is “What matters? No, what REALLY matters?” I ask myself that question constantly (it can be exhausting), and as a Christian, the simple answer to that is Jesus every time. Jesus was:
- counter-cultural. He constantly told those around him, “You have heard it said X, but I tell you Y.”
- respectful of his political authority, except for when it collided with the heart God had for His people.
- willing to acknowledge the economic system in place, but didn’t especially care about it. The Christian message not only transcends man-made institutions, but it also flourishes when it may be constricted.
Will there be some parts relating to politics on here? Sure. I’m not foolish enough to say that just because I don’t concern myself with these issues means that other people don’t either. But it wont be a focal point, mainly because trying to argue theology through the lens of politics is completely backwards. Here’s how I see it:
As Dr. Voddie Baucham says, every person forms their opinions and makes important decisions based on their own theology, whether they realize it or not. I just want to help people with their theology. The rest will take care of itself.
You just paraphrased this Voddie Baucham guy. Do you even think of any of this stuff yourself?
As Mark Twain says, truly original thought is impossible; everything we do or say is based on personal experience, whether we consciously or subconsciously recognize it. That being said, I do find my writing a bit more credible if I back up what I say with a ton of stuff people with doctorates have said. I believe any wisdom I may have comes from God, but these are the main humans I owe most of my thinking to:
Alive: Shane Claiborne, Voddie Baucham, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, JP Pokluda, David Pendergrass, and Francis Chan
Dead: Paul the Apostle, Augustine of Hippo, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Arnold of Soissons (patron saint of hop pickers and brewers [this is a beer joke]), C.S. Lewis, Mother Teresa, and Jonathan Edwards
Dead, then alive: Jesus of Nazareth
So you have all the answers then, huh? How convenient for you.
Far from it. It took years, but I am firmly at the point where I can comfortably say the three most freeing words in the world: “I don’t know.” I grew up in a rigorous schooling environment where, and I mean strictly among peers, asking questions meant slowing everyone else down, and saying “I don’t know” meant you were dumb. But I’ve come to appreciate how liberating it is. Many of my posts will have questions in them that I don’t actually know the answers to. I mean heck, I’m not going to seminary, I’m not writing a thesis to get my doctorate, and honestly I don’t even read as much as I should.
You obviously care about this nerdy side of Christianity a lot, but there’s people who care a lot about model trains, too. Why is this important?
If you are a Christian, I believe it is absolutely vital. The main verse for apologetics is in 1 Peter 3:15:
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
There’s lots of good stuff in there, but many overlook an extremely important qualifier, the 2nd person pronoun of “you”. “You” in this context means “ALL of you” (that’s in 2:1). Trends of belief in the faith operate like small, stationary boat rocking in the ocean. When a new aspect about an old thing becomes more and more accepted as true, it builds steam as more people sway to that side, like a the boat rocking to the left. But then too many people have accepted this aspect of the old thing, and there is resistance to this new thing. In this case, the fallacy of “learning getting in the way of loving” could not be further from the truth, definitely not in my own life.
If you are not a Christian, apologetics provide the foundation of what Christianity is actually concerned with. In one of his speeches, Shane Claiborne brought up a study that was done to see what the main characteristics of Christians are. The three main answers where homophobic, judgmental, and hypocritical. Obviously we have our work cut out for us as far as improving our image goes, but the solution for getting to that point is simple. Don’t just ask “What would Jesus do?”, but “What did Jesus do?” The road map for the Christian life has already been created. We just have to turn it right-side up. And that’s why apologetics are important for the non-theist, too, so that the image of the Christian is not dependent on the actions of all men, but on the actions of one man, Jesus of Nazareth.
What’s the story with the cover picture at the top?
Perhaps you don’t actually care, but I think it’s cool regardless. That picture is a painting of the Apostle Paul on trial before Herod Agrippa II (or King Agrippa as he is called in the Bible), a highly pro-Israel Roman official in the line of Herod the Great. Paul makes a defense for what he believes various political courts with no lawyer in rooms where people either want to kill him or really don’t care what he has to say. In fact, he successfully cleared himself of any charges after the FIRST trial, but Paul saw an opportunity to bring the Gospel higher and higher up the political chain of command, so he argued in favor of him going through additional trials (Acts 25-28). Wow. This essentially was the first (and best, at least from what I’ve read or heard) use of apologetics in the Christian faith.