Are you offended?

Consider this: Most non-Christian university students don’t attend church. The world that attracts them is far different than the one most Christian university students live in. So would it stand to reason that a website that relates well to non-Christian university students would very likely make Christian university students a bit uncomfortable? And wouldn’t that same site make the far more conservative church, composed of people mostly older than university students, very uncomfortable?

So if you are attempting to create a website that appeals to non-Christians, doesn’t it seem logical that it would offend the church? Isn’t that a little ironic? Does your website offend anyone in the church? If not, do you think that’s a mark of ineffectiveness? Take a look at this to see what I mean. (Original idea by Tom Seely)

4 thoughts on “Are you offended?

  1. Could you explain the graphic. I don’t understand it.

    Yes, unbelievers will be strongly attracted to things of the “world”, in the biblical sense of the word. Those things should be distasteful to the Christian.

    However, unbelievers also are still created in the image of God, though corrupted by the Fall. As such, they are still somewhat attracted to justice, love, mercy, beauty, and truth, though they also supress acknowledging the source of these things. Therefore, we can’t say that everything that they are attracted to would be offensive to Christians.

    So, I would say that using “the world” to attract non-Christians would not be a good approach, though it might be measured as “effective” in the purely statistical sense.

    Conversely, why not show them Kingdom life?

    What you draw them with is what you draw them to.

  2. By your comments I think you understand the diagram, generally. If society has a spectrum of things in which it is interested that ranges from calm to radical, then most of what the church is interested would lie in the calm end of the world’s spectrum. That begs the question, “Is something that the Christian subculture would find interesting be interesting to the rest of the world?”

    I’m wrestling with the issue of what type of content is best for “bridge” sites, that is, sites that find common ground and bridge to spiritual issues. The group of people who are interested in spiritual things are a small subset of everyone. Yet we need to engage everyone, in some way, in dealing with the issue of Jesus Christ, keeping in mind that it is God who draws someone to Christ. The question seems to be, “What is an appropriate cultural language to use as we try to engage people with the issue of Jesus Christ?”

  3. >”What is an appropriate cultural language to use as we try to engage people with the issue of Jesus Christ?”

    That is indeed a difficult question that requires wisdom and discernment. Today, I think that movies are possibly the most common language among many postmoderns.

    http://www.ransomfellowship.org/Movies_Philosophy.html

    and

    http://www.ransomfellowship.org/Babylon10.pdf

    (Their entire series on Living in Babylon:Being in the World, Not of It is very interesting. Just substitute 01, 02 etc for the “10” in the above address. There are ten in the series. I think that you will find them quite applicable to this whole issue. In fact, I was just re-reading 01 and they ask, “Does Christian faithfulness in a pluralistic society neccessarily include taking offense at unChristian behavior?”)

    As they note, we need to be very careful of our own temptations when using movies as a bridge and they might be embracing some aspects more than I would….. I am still thinking about it. In the process of “meeting people where they are”, there is always the danger of leaving them where they are and us moving closer to them (in terms of conforming to the world). Again, we need to have active discernment, a strong Christian worldview, and the humility to admit our areas of weakness and temptation as we do this.

    This is really a big subject with many big questions. What defines or characterizes “worldly” things? What does it mean to be “set apart” as Christians? What is the difference between engaging culture, transforming culture, and building culture? Can we plunder Egypt? If so, what are the boundaries and limits? When are we no longer salt and light? At what point have we adopted pragmatism in our methods? (marketing studies, targeting demographics, making the “product” “relevant”, etc).

    And…..most importantly…..What is the scriptural pattern for engaging culture?

    – Jeff

  4. “Most non-Christian university students don’t attend church.”

    This statement has to win first prize in a ‘stating the obvious’ contest. It just as true that most non-Muslim students don’t attend Mosque.

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