In a comment on my blog about Christian Magazines, Eric left a comment thinking I’d been a bit rough on the industry and painted with too broad a brush. I thought his comments had some validity, so I want to try to clarify that previous blog here:
Eric, Thanks for writing. I love you’re perspective and your heart. Maybe you’re right. It was a bit tough.
I certainly do not believe nor mean to intimate that folks who work for Christian magazines are evil. But this piece was not directed at individuals who work in the industry, but at the industry as a whole and how groupthink can make the subobjective of making a profit more important than helping people discover the truth of God’s work on the earth. I tried to make it clear that they don’t see it that way, and as you say are doing what they think best to spread the kingdom.
But isn’t that what is scary about it? When I was a pastor I was deeply convinced that by building my institution, I was buildilng the kingdom. My passion for God was the same then, but the groupthink of the institutional enviornment took those passions and twisted them into manipulating people with guilt and commitment, saying what would not offend even if it wasn’t quite the truth and thinking the success of the institution was more important than the growth of individuals. When the subobjective of buildling an institution replaces the key objective of living loved and loving, horrible things can happen by well-intentioned people. I wasn’t writing about anything I haven’t also experienced firsthand. And yes, that is a confession.
I wrote the original blog because of the number of people that thought I could influence Charisma to give more weight to those thinking outside the box. I know the futility of that given their readership. I don’t know the editor there at all, though I have tried to write him on a number of occasions and have never had him respond. I have LOVED a lot of his editorials that challenge religious ways of thinking. I’ve often wondered how he stays there given the overall humanistic and materialistic feel of the magazine and those it covers. I stopped reading it years ago because it beckoned the wrong motives in me.
That said, I do think there is a huge difference between people reading what I write because it resonates with them, and me writing what I write to draw the largest audience I can. Very different. Pleasing people is not a trap I hope to fall into yet again. I’ve been in that pit way too many times before. It’s muddy at the bottom and the sides are steep and slippery. There’s no way out without a firm and loving hand from above!