Keep Your Mind Pure
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
~ Phil 4:8 & 9 – The Message
Are You a Spectator or a Participant?
Are the people at your church participants or just spectators? Cathy Lynn Grossman asked this question on her discussion forum on the religion page of USAToday (linked on my blog, but a new topic may have been introduced, pushing this one back to a ‘previous week’ status). She wrote:
When I looked at the challenges and changes in the realm of megachurches this week, pastors I spoke with were concerned.They’re proud of the high quality of their worship services — good music, clear preaching, creative artistic touches and lots of talk about serving the world.But they see a worrisome number of people who come to church the way they go to a movie or concert. A little entertainment, a little something to think about and then it’s time to move back to real life.
But one of the most interesting responses came up this morning from a Mormon woman. Here’s what she wrote:
As a member of The Chuch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you cannot be an active member of the congregation and be just a spectator. All of the adults in the congregation take turns giving talks over the pulpit, we do not have our Bishop preaching to us each Sunday. I personally like hearing from those different people, their experiences, testimonies, and it’s nice to look at new faces across the pulpit each week. Also, we each serve in the congregation to make the rest of the Sunday meetings possible. From serving as adult Sunday School teachers, to teaching a youth class, or one of the many children’s classes. There are people who are asked to play the piano, lead the music, work in the library that provides supplies for the different classes, run a nursery class for the children 3 and under. We are all working together and contribute to have a wonderful Sabbath day experience worshipping at church. I think because of that, we are stronger members of the church and we feel like we need to “practice what we preach”, because we are all doing the preaching in one aspect or another.
There is much being written today about the small group movement and the house church movement, and I believe that the message to those of us who have chosen to remain in the institutional church is to greatly increase the interactive element in our services, and greatly increase the number and degree of lay participation.
The Male Domination of the Christian Internet
Although the blogroll at right lists a handful of sites I think are worth visiting, my personal bookmarks include some 70 + Christian blogs which I try to check out at least every other day. That’s a lot of blogs. And you know what? They’re all written by men. As in males. As in not women.
Tonight I landed on a couple of blogs written by women that aren’t part of my bookmarks. I immediately bookmarked both of them. I need to hear their perspective. I need to listen carefully to what they’re saying. I realize there is a certain dimension, possibly even a certain depth of spirituality that I don’t find reading stuff by fellow guys. A different understanding of God’s dealings with us in this broken old world.
I think that much of this has to do with the fact that men “publish” on the internet with the intention of reaching the widest audience. Women tend to be truer to the idea of blogs as online diaries; they write about raising kids, about intimate feelings, about deep personal discoveries in their reading of the scriptures. In that sense, women bloggers often tend to be more “Psalm-like” in their online composing. In the Psalms, David (or Asaph, or whoever) unleashes both high praise and extreme frustration towards God, who is always there as listening friend, whatever David’s mood that day. The Psalmist just wants to express something.
What do you think? Is it just me, or is Evangelical Christianity totally dominated online the way it’s dominated in the church, and in Christian publishing? What percentage of the bloggers you read are female?