It has been too long since I’ve shared a selection of letters to the editor. Here are a few of the most noteworthy that have come my way recently. They cover blogging, preaching, gossip, and more.
Letters on Nobody Respects a Blogger
Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for not using the dreaded “Sign up for my newsletter” popup. I consider it one of the scourges of the internet.
On every encounter, my reaction has ranged from “Would you please just give me a chance to read the article first?” to “I can’t even tap the X to close this because your mobile theme is so bad, so I will have to close the whole page now.”
All they do is distract me from your potentially good content and shorten the time I have to evaluate your writing. The best I’ve ever seen is a section on the bottom of an article inviting me to subscribe if I enjoyed reading it. Classy! More, please!
—Christoph K, Albuquerque, NM
I’ve felt pressured, of late, to build my audience and platform, and in and of itself, that just did not satisfy me. I spent many days in prayer, seeking the Lord before moving forward. This may all change (as the Lord leads), but for now, I am to “be content” with blogging. I have three blogs with different purposes. And I am committed to helpful, biblical content. There’s still that “nagging” feeling that I should be platform-building and boosting my audience unnaturally to get a publisher’s eye; but the Lord knows my time frame for life in general, as well as my role, calling, temperament and current spiritual goals. “Not now” appears to be my marching orders. But I have to tell you how much I appreciate you, Tim. Thank you for not only elevating the respectability of serious bloggers, but also magnifying the importance of seeking the Lord’s direction and timing in our lives. He must be Lord of our blogs as surely as our worship on Sundays.
—Dawn W, San Diego, CA
This article is very timely as I have been struggling with the same issues you identified. Namely, looking at blogging as a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself. I started blogging after a conversation with a mentor about a book idea I have banging around in my head. But I have been recently feeling the tug to “build my platform” so that others will become “part of my tribe” – all in an effort to build something that might lead to literary credibility. In that slow erosion I almost forgot about the real reason I started blogging in the first place. I want to build and hone the craft of writing. Thanks again for your reminder that blogging is valuable and that it should not be regarded as a substandard medium. Keep up the good work, you are inspiring and encouraging others as you hone your craft.
—Tim C, Maple Ridge, BC
Letters on Consecutive Exposition Is Not the Only Way
I enjoy reading your essays and how they cause me to think deeply about important topics. This one was no exception. I have a couple of thoughts regarding topical vs consecutive exposition. In the interest of full disclosure, my pastor uses the consecutive exposition method, therefore I may be biased, though I hope not. I want to state up front that true exposition is essential whether one is preaching topically or through a specific book.
The major advantage of preaching topically is that this method allows the preacher to address issues that may be facing his congregation at any given time. The potential problem with this method is that it allows one to easily avoid passages that may be deemed controversial or unpopular, such as Romans 9 or passages dealing with gender roles in the church.
This brings me to what I feel is the biggest advantage of consecutive exposition. When this method is used, the preacher will eventually be forced to address the types of passages mentioned above, thereby exposing his church to the whole counsel of God. The use of consecutive exposition does not, however, prevent the insertion of topical sermons in the middle of the series. Our pastor frequently does this for special days such as Mother’s/Father’s day, Sanctity of Life Sunday, and similar occasions, returning to the series he was expositing the next week. A topical sermon dealing with a particular issue of concern facing a congregation could be inserted just as easily.
While I acknowledge that there is no right or wrong way to exposit God’s word, I feel that going systematically through a book and dealing with hard texts is advantageous for our growth.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom and for your service to the church.
—Stan B, Dothan, AL
Letters on The King Is Within Earshot
I am moved by this small article on gossiping and speaking behind people’s backs. I am guilty of this and at many times I have done so, sometimes from good intentions but in most times from my own sinfulness.
It is so sad that most of us would speak ill of everyone, except of ourselves. We gossip about others and talk of all negative things about others, and no at any one time do well tell them or correct them if they are wrong.
Self-righteous people fall into this problem and always speak ill of others trying to justify their own righteousness. May God help us not to hurt one another in our gossiping. Love should motivate us not to gossip!
—Kenneth I, Lucknow, India
Letters on How We Worshipped
Just a thought: could you include start/end times, or even the times each section of the service begins? The time references could help those of us who serve in churches where there’s significant pressure to keep services on the shorter side (one hour, no more). There are a whole host of other issues involved in that parameter, but time references could help us with time management as we patiently work to stretch the people’s commitment to worship the Lord together.
Letters on Christian Men and their Godly Moms Series
Having my own godly mother, I understand the dependence on God and faithfulness it takes to raise children (especially six of them). I’ve been reading through 1 and 2 Kings. As I was reading, I noticed a bit of a pattern. I always wait with baited breath to see if this king will do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. And if he did, often his mother was mentioned by name and family. Sometimes he had a father who did not walk in the ways of the Lord and so I assume it was the influence and prayers of his mother that taught him. Those books and this series challenges me to remember the little ones, to pray and love them just as Jesus did.
—Annie P, Delaware, OH