Discussion Journal

Controversial: Why I Write What I Write

I was hungry…

My friend Jeremy and I were having a celebratory breakfast because finals, and my anxiety, were momentarily appeased! He was being an encouragement to me, and I gave him some encouragement as well. After catching up over our meal, I began to share with him my insecurities and some of the issues related to the purpose of my life. After going back and forth, he encouraged me to write a post about why I run this website.

Here it goes:

When I started this website 6 months ago, it was the result of a push I received from a number of friends who saw my life and wanted this message to get out into the open. After finally agreeing to go through with it (11 months of putting it off!) I let a friend know I would and within days an entire site was set up for free. Now, what I didn’t expect was the tremendous amount of readers I would get from all over the world. To this day, more Italians read my work than Americans. Of course, when you engage with this kind of project, controversial things are said and offense is taken. The trap of social media is that a lot of information is presented from different perspectives of experience and understanding. The potential for offense is rife, but this is usually the result of people who do not know the experiences I use as the primary backdrop for my work, so they misinterpret what I am doing by assuming my primary objective is to disrupt and be controversial for its own sake. That is a ridiculous assumption and would be very immature of me if I was “edgy” for its own sake. Many of my readers might be surprised to find that when someone sends me an email or private message to argue with me, I rarely engage with that person at length unless I see a genuine hunger for truth. I do not engage with people who want to debate for the sake of debate. This is a fruitless endeavor.

My heart for this website was birthed out of a convergence I experienced with the church people telling me one thing about the “world” and the “worldly” people who would tell me what they thought of church people. In the end, the common thread was fear. Plain and simple. I am an evangelist, so my heart for lost people is not the only thing on my mind, but also for people in the church to be prepared to reach those people in the world.

The Heart Question

I’m deeply disturbed by church people who want to criticize my work, and pass it off as too edgy without first asking the more important question: “Does this bear fruit?” In the western church, we have become totally committed to judging the acceptance of certain bible study curriculums or even leadership styles based on the least amount of offense caused when those ideas are communicated, rather than the fruit that is really there. And only in the West do we exalt certain Bible teachers who don’t have any stories that test the teaching. The early Quakers had this one little saying: “Never traffic an inexperienced truth.” Only in the West can a professor who has never started a business, teach a class on business.

What about the Bible?

I don’t see Paul worried about comfort for the church who wants to remain in mission by their own ideologies (Romans). The Apostle John, in the beginning of the book of Revelation, tells some of the churches that if they want to keep forgetting about Jesus as the head of the church they can exist but their “Lampstand” will be removed. The Lampstand is the churches influence in the community. If we want to continue on with resisting some of the questions we need to ask ourselves then we can keep our comfort and lose our Kingdom mission/influence. Now, with that being said, I am part of a local church and love the people I am surrounded with.

Who do I write for?

1452122_10201821767772259_2301404640415807253_nThe honest truth is that the majority of what I write is for two groups of people: 1. The Church and 2. The Seekers. I hold these two groups in tension and nearly everything I post is to help people understand the world we are a part of and bring up topics and ideas that are constantly associated with church and stumbling blocks that lost people have when it comes to following Jesus. Too often we who call ourselves “evangelicals” use the offense we have generated within the culture as a sign that we are doing Kingdom work because of some random verse where Jesus says if anyone hates us it is because the world hated Him first. Honestly folks, bearing no fruit is not a type of fruit. I see many in the early church getting killed for the faith, but these groups simultaneously received more and more into the Kingdom as a result.

Hardly any of the people in my church share my life perspective because we are very different, but we all recognize that church is not an option. The church is a necessity. It is a fellowship of differents, and when there is disagreement, we are commanded by our King Jesus to bring that concern and offense to one another. Many of my friends who are in ministries that they could do apart from the church still stick with the church community because they recognize this one simple truth: Kingdom work is only possible in the church. And a church must be unified in a community before that community is holistically engaged with love and the Gospel. I attend a local church with my wife, and this will continue to be a part of me for the rest of my life.

Time would fail me to share with all of you the stories of people who read this website and become interested for the first time in Christ. Those emails are my favorite, and much of what I do is birthed out of a heart for them. Numerous people have been brought to Jesus and become disciples as the direct result of this website and the people who help me get everything together in a professional way. I wouldn’t do this if it didn’t bear fruit. Testimonies are created all week in the ministry life of my friends and I with incredible stories of personal gospeling taking place all the time, but I rarely post them because those people read my posts would rather be discipled without it being put on a website scorecard.

You’ll never know the strength of a theological position until you take it to the streets. And if it doesn’t bear fruit, it’s probably of the west and not of the Kingdom.

So, why do I do this?

I do this for the hungry.

Jon

Comments

comments