Friday, July 8, 2011
A Bizarre Encounter with BBC World: Alisdair Thompson
I was quite stunned last night to receive a phone call at around 9.45pm from, of all people, the BBC. It was a producer on the BBC World Service asking if I would join a discussion concerning Alisdair Thompson's recent radio interview and his sacking. Apparently, they had read my blog on the issue and wanted me to make a contribution. That is all good, and I entered the conversation, said a few sound bites amidst others, and that was that. Not sure I did very well, such situations are nerve-wracking and you second guess what you say.
My interest in the event is not that it happened, but how it happened. I got into blogging a year or three ago and thought nothing much of it. Blogging is really an extension of me working out what I think about stuff. I find blogging one way of doing it. If I had time, I would do it a lot more, even if no one was listening – I don't usually have time. Truth is, I think I enjoy just putting my thoughts down. I have never really cared much if anyone took any notice, who read it, etc. I figure, in a world with excessive available communication, where there are a million bloggers, twitter, facebook etc, well, I will just say stuff and if anyone cares, good for them.
This has kind of woken me up a little. It shows that you never know who is listening. I mean, I would never have expected someone in Britain to: 1) find my blog; 2) Show an interest; 3) Let alone invite me on a show. Far out.
We definitely live in a world where you can speak to others through the Net, and with search engines, you never know who is listening. It is a means of sharing Christ and getting a point across. I would have preferred it if someone had read something I had written about Jesus and wanted to engage over that.
I actually feel sorry for Alisdair Thompson. He has a government medal for services to the nation, he has served his nation well across a long career, he was the deputy president of a political party and a mayor for some ten years. What a guy. I feel for him. But, in this world, you can't cross certain lines, and he did unwittingly, and then kept digging. God bless him.
Anyway, the upshot is, that there is power in the electronic word. It is not incarnational, but it still has power. People are listening, and with the power of the search engine, who knows who will notice. Who knows what effect it might have? Who knows who will come to Christ through it.
It shows that there is a ministry of e-evangelism and it is possible to be an e-evangelist.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all book-evangelists, writing the Gospels for the world to read. Many have followed in their footsteps like C.S. Lewis, N.T. Wright and others. I myself have dabbled and will continue to do so with my book What's God Up To On Planet Earth.
Paul was a letter-evangelist, letters a primary medium of his day.
In recent years there have been radio-evangelists, TV-evangelists and Video or DVD evangelists (especially Alpha).
In a world where we communicate in many means, e-evangelism is definitely another way. The power of the word in all sorts of forms (language) to communicate the story of the Living Word is amazing, in a myriad of forms.
God has chosen language as his medium of self-revelation and is likely not fussed whether it is written, spoken and in what medium, face to face, book, letter, email, website, blog, a film, a cartoon, art, drama, poetry or whatever. 'What matters, is that in every way, Christ is proclaimed' (Phil 1:18).
'In every way' is developed in context in Phil 1 in terms of motive, whether by false motives or true. A search of the type of Greek construction Paul uses, the eite – eite ('either, or') constructs, shows that his intent is broader. He always uses the construct with a stand-alone axiom or premise, and then develops it with an 'either-or' construct for the purpose in the context (see my chapter on Phil 1:12-18 in my book Congregational Evangelism in Philippians (https://wipfandstock.com/store/Congregational_Evangelism_in_Philippians_The_Centrality_of_an_Appeal_for_Gospel_Proclamation_to_the_Fabric_of_Philippians). 'In every way' then expresses Pauls' delight that the gospel is being preached, whatever the way. Even if it is done so by people who are hoping they can increase his personal suffering in Roman prison, he is delighted. All that matters is that Christ is proclaimed. That is why, whatever we think of the form of evangelism at, say like the recent Greg Laurie Harvest event, we should delight that the gospel is preached. Especially when 2700 people are converted!
As for blogging, who knows who googles searching for God. We have a great opportunity, we must take it well.
The upshot is that I must do better.
I will remember that next time I blog there really are people possibly listening!
By the way, here is the link: BBC World Service, World Have Your Say.