Thursday, May 21, 2015

Recommend-a-blog (9)

You know how it goes: you find a blog or website you enjoy, with writers who grab your attention and content you can really sink your teeth into. You devour everything you can find in their archive, bookmark it and wait expectantly for more of the same.

Then ... nothing.

Okay, this may not be everybody’s experience; not everyone reads as voraciously as I do. But if you do, you recognize the creeping feeling of disappointment when something you like doesn’t appear predictably, when the quality becomes spotty or the posts are so short they don’t even merit a “[Read More]” link.

Not the case with Frank Viola. The Christian author started blogging in October 2012, after an invitation to participate in the Patheos blog platform, which hosts numerous blogs representing different religions and theological points of view.

Here was his threefold aim:

“I will be writing primarily for the evangelical community, I want to interact with those of other faiths as well. Patheos affords me with this opportunity.

I will be featuring blog posts that will create dialogue on some of the “hot-button” issues that face Christians today, all with a view toward rediscovering the supremacy of Jesus Christ.

I wish to model civil, gracious, and Christ-honoring dissent with some of my peers over various issues. My hope is that such dialogue will serve as a model for Christian disagreement. We can disagree without resorting to misrepresentations or personal attacks. I also hope it will aid in clarifying various issues, both for myself and for others.”

He had me at “rediscovering the supremacy of Jesus Christ”.

I don’t imagine I’ll agree with Frank on every issue, anymore than I agree with any fellow believer. But he tackles absolutely everything from contentious current issues to reexaminations of familiar passages of scripture, blogs up to 20 times a month and is relentlessly interesting.

He’s also a careful Bible student and clear expositor, and as far as I’ve been able to see, avoids taking silly or extreme positions.

And I love the phrase “Christ-honoring dissent”. Many Christians are afraid to call an error an error, even graciously, for fear of giving offense or looking “unloving”. I find this strange, considering neither the Lord nor the apostles seemed too concerned about it. When they demolished arguments and lofty opinions raised against the knowledge of God, they stayed demolished.

Taking every thought captive to obey Christ requires singling out and analyzing the thoughts that do not. That is not always a pleasant process, and sometimes a little hard on the ego, but it is terribly, terribly necessary. Frank Viola does this, and graciously.

One caveat: Bear in mind Frank blogs at Patheos, so there’s a lot of junk Christianity being offered for sale in the blog gutters, lots of pop-ups and more than a few links to opinions you will almost certainly disagree with. Such is the nature of blog platforms ...

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