Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Here's what I think: writing about contemporary culture - Nesdoly

I don't often write about controversial contemporary issues. There are a couple of reasons why. One is that in order to form a valid opinion on something, you have to have some knowledge about it.  On some topics I just don't feel well enough informed. Another is that when you express opinions that are not mainstream (and increasingly, those shaped by a Christian worldview aren't) you open yourself up to attack. It's not a position I put myself in without counting the cost.

However it's increasingly important that we as Christians learn to think for ourselves and relate to contemporary culture (both church and secular) on the basis of convictions. It's also a valuable skill to be able to articulate and defend those convictions.

I love reading well-thought-out articles on contemporary culture written from a Christian perspective.  One writer I've discovered recently who isn't afraid to take up that gauntlet is Dr. R. Albert Mohler (President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary). In fact his mission as expressed on the "About" page of his website (www.albertmohler.com) is " to address contemporary issues from a consistent and explicit Christian worldview." He has recently written articles on:
  • An open letter to Professor Karl Giberson responding to an article in the Huffington Post in which Professor Giberson attacked Mohler personally in  Giberson's defense of evolutionary creationism ("On Darwin and Darwinism: A Letter to Professor Giberson). I've just named three; there are many others.

Reading him is challenging me to try my hand at this kind of writing, if for no other reason than to clarify my own thinking on contemporary culture issues and their relationship to my faith.  Perhaps you're interested in joining me. Here's how the process could work:

1. Read articles from the daily news and bookmark those that arouse your  interest.

2. Choose one.

3. Free-write your reactions to get an understanding of why it caught your attention and why you agree or disagree with the position of the writer.

4. Refine your thoughts until you have articulated a position of your own,  to the extent of thinking of and answering objections to your ideas. (I can imagine this step might involve some research.)

5.(Optional) When you're satisfied with what you've said, post your piece on your blog (making sure to publish a link to the original article if it's online) or  send it to the publication that ran the catalyst article (perhaps as a letter to the editor). 

I'd love to know who your favourite contemporary culture commentators are. If you'd like, share names and links in the comments.

-- Violet Nesdoly

Website: www.violetnesdoly.com

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Peter Black said...

Sounds like a great plan, Violet, and well thought out.
Hmm, I probably won't try my hand at it --at least, for now (I'm too inefficient).
Hey, but I expect there may be others of our group who will.
Thanks for bringing Dr. Mohler's work to our attention.

The Sheepcat said...

One of my favourites is Steven Greydanus, whom I first came across as a film reviewer but who has also written scrupulously fair-minded pieces on controversies such as the Islamic centre near Ground Zero.

Closer to home, there's Fr Tim Moyle, who comments frequently at the National Post's Holy Post blog and contributes a few full opinion pieces of his own.

violet said...

Thank you, Sheepcat - I will check these out!

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