Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Why The Eagle and Child

During my blog sabbatacal, I asked the question “is this thing worth it?” It does, after all, take time and energy to put together 1-3 posts a week. What keeps me bloggging; what is the purpose of the Eagle and Child? I beg your indulgenceear with me as I lay out some of my reasons for doing this thing:

First and foremost, this blog is my laboratory. My vocation requires that I work out lots of ideas concerning the connection of Christ and culture. On this blog, I can play with concepts and thoughts, get feedback, make interesting new connections, and work out some ideas for other avenues (like sermons, articles, and other publications). This blog also doubles as a writing laboratory where I’m forced into the discipline of regularly crafting something reasonably coherent. So, above all else, this is a place for me to practice.

But this blog is also a place for conversation. The advantage to blogging is the open structure that allows for feedback and ongoing conversation among commentors. I love to read your comments on the ideas that I put out there. I’m always up for you to invite others to join us in the conversation. Seth Godin in his e-book about blogging talks about three different types of blogs: “cat” blogs (a blog for friends and family only – a place where you talk about your cat and such things), “boss” blogs (highly focused blogs for work teams), and “viral” blogs (blogs that seek to spread ideas and get as many readers as possible. I envision the Eagle and Child as a kind of viral blog – for I’d love to invite as many people as possible into the conversation.

However, a caveat is necessary. I don’t mind challenges to my ideas or even disagreement with them. However I will not tolerate rudeness, profanity, or insults. I will delete such comments as soon as I find them. Repeat offenders will be banned from posting. I also reserve the right to delete anonymous comments (while some must remain anonymous for fear of recrimination, many use anonymity as a cloak to hide mischief and disruption – this is of course a judgment call, but I need to be honest about what may or may not cause a deletion).

The Eagle and Child deals mostly with topics of living the Christian faith in the contemporary American world. At my best, I try to emphasize the doctrine of Common Grace – that evidences of God’s goodness can be found even in the works of those who refuse to recognize God. Wherever there is truth, beauty, or goodness, there we can find the fingerprints of God prompting His people to shout Hallelujah. This is not to say we ought to be syncretistic – just because a work contains some truth, it does not mean that the author understood saving truth. We must exercise discernment.

A case in point – a reader commented after my post on Testament that we have to ask ourselves if exposure to such storylines is edifying. I don’t suggest that we use such a work as a discipleship tool for teaching. However we also need to realize that such expressions of pop culture reveal heart cries in the culture – in so far as they resonate with their audiences, they reveal some deep longing and need—a longing or need that the church might have missed. And so we must pay heed. When we acknowledge the points of truth, beauty and goodness, we acknowledge touchpoints through which we can present gospel truth.

Finally, I hope that this blog serves as salt and light. As people stumble across this blog, I hope they’ll find that Christians can be thoughtful and can indeed enjoy the arts. Admittedly, I’ve gone off the deep end a few times (the Christmas stamp post was probably a little too conspiracy theory, for instance, and I veered a bit too much into the critical on my Kitty Carlisle post or the Aristocrats post) – but on average, I think my posts have been explorations involving both critique and affirmation.

As I ramp up my return to blogdom, I look forward to interacting more with you readers – I look forward to getting more feedback from you, via comments or via email. May God bless you all.

Soli Deo Gloria