This is my obligatory comment about Will Smith and Chris Rock.
They are living the dream of every human being, which is to be paid gobs of money while doing what they want to do.
There, now I’m finished commenting about Chris Rock and Will Smith.
A couple months ago Tipping Idols received an unsolicited inquiry about whether we would accept advertising. Yes, you read that right … somebody asked us if they could pay us for the privilege of appearing with us on our website! Obviously it wouldn’t be much, but still…
Cash. Coin. Filthy lucre. The root of all evil. Yes! Money flowing into the site instead of out of it – the exact opposite of how things have operated up until now. Many faith sites generate revenue from advertising or membership fees – capitalism at its best. For some, it is their primary income and that’s fine, but for us the picture is a bit different.
I found myself considering again what the website means for me. Should it pay for itself? Do I want to increase the number of views? Is it a way to satisfy my word dependency? Does it fill a deep need to tell people what I think? Is it a ministry? An act of worship?
Yes to all the above.
After sitting with it for awhile, I’d like to go back and rephrase one of my opening sentences: the dream of every human being is to do what your heart compels you to do.
My heart compels me to do this.
we’re kind of a big deal
I have always enjoyed words: reading them, understanding them, working with them. I’ve been known to take journalism and creative writing courses just for fun. Research papers were easy high grades. I’m a book addict. I hope to publish.
And here we are: this blog is Tipping Idol’s three hundred-and-fiftieth post! Blogging isn’t quite like other forms of writing but I enjoy it. I don’t have the attention span to add up all the words from the last four-ish years but it’s equivalent to roughly eight or ten novels.
As you might imagine, Tipping Idols is a substantial operation and kind of a big deal (in our minds). Our media empire consists of two computers, two unpaid employees, and a
lavish recording studio microphone in a spare bedroom.
Cheryl is our I.T. department – she designed and built the site from scratch and continues to maintain all technology from beginning to end. I’m responsible to fill that technology with words about how God and life intersect, as well as poking fun at evangelical culture.
Ah yes, evangelical culture. These days it looks very much like the church Martin Luther and the Reformers rebelled against five hundred years ago.
Evangelicalism has always been odd and self-important but during the last half-century large chunks of it have devolved into the business of power and money. Political influence, culture wars, conspiracy theories, hidden wealth, narrow teachings, sexual and emotional abuse … evangelicals are known more for their toxicity than for their love.
I hear voices.
Sometimes they are shared voices from honest conversations; often they are cautious voices that need to say what they’re feeling. Some of the voices come from people who believe in God but have learned that christians don’t have space for doubt or dialogue. Others are voices that grew up in church but are now feeling out of place, disillusioned, tired, under fed.
Sometimes they in the form of a question, sometimes they’re framed as a frustration. Often the voices are from individuals who simply can’t agree with the mindless beliefs, suffocating leadership, a misused Bible, or doctrines that are inadequate. The voices are concerned that morality, kindness and social justice coming primarily from secular initiatives rather than christian ones.
During the pandemic some of those restless voices got louder. The covid holiday brought to light the discomfort and exhaustion many church-goers had been feeling for a long while. Health restrictions and Zoom didn’t damage the church, as some suggest, but magnified the sallowness and fractures that were already there.
The voices are legitimate. Honest seekers and faithful christians will always have a ‘holy restlessness’ in their souls. A new generation of reformers are tired of institutional heaviness and empty idols – their souls are craving the easy yokes and light burdens Jesus spoke of.
let me explain
As you can tell, the voices are important to me. I’ve been one of them for years. That’s why my heart is compelled to use this non-revenue-generating blog to continue tipping our foolish religious idols.
> Not everybody is ready to have their idols tipped. I have lost followers for being too raw, too pointed, too progressive. That’s okay. If you don’t get it, I’m not writing for you. Yet.
> But if you’re annoyed, hurt, confused, curious, stuck, embarrassed, shunned, tired, empty – we get it, you’re safe here.
> And if something is stirring inside you; if you’re restless, curious, open-minded, thirsty – if you think God must be much more – you’ll find a home here.
Please remember that when I write critically it’s not out of disrespect for my faith but out of my passion for it. When I push the christian community to be better it is because God’s kingdom matters more than the church’s comfort.
I hear voices. Maybe you do too.
And they’re telling us to tip more idols.
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