Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My Relevant Secret...

I have a confession to make. My name is Topher and I'm addicted to Relevant. Relevant Magazine (both online and in print) has got to be the coolest thing to come out of Christian sub culture in a long time. I know Cameron Strang (founder and CEO of Relevant Media Group) would be mildly disgusted that I just identified his fine culturally sensitive publishing as part of Christian sub culture, especially since this culture has rejected so much of what he's behind and doing (When Barnes and Noble wants to pick up your books before Berean you must be doing something right!). The whole organization brings up lots of thoughts and issues to me.

Why is our Christian subculture so censored and vanilla-ized (we try to make everything the same... and it's good, just a little boring, needs chocalate and nuts). Makes me think of my friend Paul who has self published two great books but has not yet found effective distribution, largely I believe, because our christian market is not quite ready for such frank material. He deals with sexual addiction in one book and then the false hope of prosperity teaching in the next. Great books, just plenty of room to offend some folks.

Another thought... Would Cameron Strang have been able to develop such a subversive "media group" if he was not a Strang? If this name is not ringing a bell to you, his dad Stephen is founder and CEO of Charisma magazine and ministry. I'm sure he would have. However, his success, at least in the christian market, has to be partly because of daddy's success, stability, and support. This flys right inline with what I believe is happening as older traditional churches begin to plant new and different churches. Why would a church be the financial backing and suppourt of a church they don't totally agree with? Because they know and believe in and even trust people like Cameron Strang. I want everybody I know to be a Cameron Strang. The bridges from this place to the next. You feelin me?

Back to my confession... is not only my hopepage, but I check the slices all day. The articles often become illustrations for sermons. And many of the user submittted pieces inspire me (maybe one day I'll be an author on relevant... tear tear). Since the relevant store is moving, I have totally depleted all my family's flex money. I just have to get more free stickers and CD's! What can I say? I'm a sucker for a good deal; and now I need a new book shelf.

All confessions aside, today I read this. Deals with many questions I catch myself asking. Hugely biased self serving opinion coming soon... These are the questions I hope to be discussing more and have already been discussing at book club. Are you ready for it... How do we teach our kids about faith? almost... Do we have to take them through this detour path we all seemed to go on or is there a way that's more direct? (I can already hear the comment of JDF praising the orthodox reformed ideas of a Presbytery) just a few more lines... Maybe we should keep our kids out of church and let them decide for themselves. WATCH OUT! That has got to be the dumbest idea I've ever heard of! Isn't giving our kids something, albeit full of faults and imperfections, better than nothing? Let's take our kids along side us on our journey. Let's allow them to go at least as far as we have. Let's allow them to see and experience our faith in a honest and joyful manner. And then... lets allow them to doubt and question. Let's give them good tools to process through these things. Let's allow them to have a "crisis of faith" while they are in our home and even in our church. Let's love them through it and in it and together, may we find Truth.

I think this is officially my second rant. Sorry it took me a while to get there but the pit stops were worthwhile. Thanks for coming this far. Peace.


Anonymous said...

Hey Chris - I appreciate your post. I can't say that I disagree, but I think that you've created a few "straw men" in your association of (and lack of distinction between) faith, the organizations that we participate in under the banner of the Church, and formation in the way of Jesus. I appreciate it nonetheless. Keep ranting! There will be good things to talk about at "the club."

Topherspoon said...

Fair observations.

I struggle with being able to seperate people from their organizations and those organizations from the Jesus they claim to serve. Surely there are seperations, but to what degree?

prodigal pastor notes said...

Chris - that was one effective rant with a lot of rave. You always come to the point of your rant, and clearly the devil should be worried because your rants and the points you make are sharp. So sharp and to the point that those quilty of you topic of the rant will feel the point as it penetrates their shollow, holier than thou skin.