Where Is Our Impact?

Why aren’t we making a difference? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I don’t remember where I heard it, but I heard someone over the weekend talking about how a small group like the transgenders have such a big impact. They’re right. 20 years ago I never would have thought that I would have to defend the idea that men are men and women are women. I never would have thought I would have to defend marriage as a union of a man and a woman. Yet today, these things that were believed for thousands of years by everyone have been called into question.

Let’s look at statistics. It’s my understand that transgenders or people who claim such I should say are actually about .3% of the population. I think homosexuals are really 2-3%. Some sources more leftist indicate a 10% of the population. Let’s suppose that that is true. That’s still definitely a minority.

And what have these people done? When I fill out surveys online, many times when I get to the question of sex or gender, I see categories put up there for transgender people or people who have been convinced that gender is something fluid that you can just change or is a social construct.

What about the homosexual movement? How many countries around the world are now redefining marriage? This is something we never would have thought possible to happen a few decades ago and yet now we seem to have a new normal going on.

What did these people do? They spoke out. They demanded. They used the media. They used the entertainment industry. They were vocal about what they believed and they shared it. There’s a joke that a transgender, a homosexual, and a vegan walk into a bar. I only know about this because they told everyone within five minutes of entering.

Now let’s compare this to Christians. We have so many churches all across our country. We make up a decent percentage of the population, but let’s go light. Let’s say Christians only make up 40% of the population. So what are we doing?

We are the ones who are often marginalized and cast down in society and seen as the backwards people. If anything, we’ve probably done something to earn that image. We’re usually known for what we stand against and not what we stand for. Christians are anti-gay, anti-transgender, anti-science, anti-sex, anti-progress, anti-whatever it is out there.

Instead, we fail to get out the message that we are really pro-things. Christians are not anti-sex. We should be the most pro-sex people out there. We have the Song of Songs after all! We just value sex so much that we think it should be used in the proper time and place. Like all people, we put barriers around the things that matter to us.

We need to use the media to the best of our advantage. Can Christians please make decent movies and video games and TV shows sometime? Believe it or not, you don’t have to explicitly state the Gospel in every single thing you do. C.S. Lewis never did that in his works and yet those works have stood the test of time. A number of atheists can even easily enjoy the Narnia series.

And you know, maybe sometimes we should make good content just because it’s good content. You don’t have to make everything into evangelism. Be good at what you do regardless and you will draw attention to yourself.

Definitely, we need a more informed populace. We need to know what Christianity is, why it’s true, and why it matters. If the average Christian cannot articulate a basic defense of Christianity and what difference it makes, then they are not prepared. I still remember to this day a lady in a small group I was in who said, “I’m saved and my children are saved so I’m just waiting for Jesus to come.” A lady like this is part of the problem. What about if your kids go to college and lose their faith? What about everybody else’s kids?

We Christians are way too focused on our own selves and looking out for ourselves instead of going out there and changing the world. We can say the homosexuals and transgenders and progressives have a false gospel, but it doesn’t help us to do that because at least they are out there sharing it. They are more true to a false gospel and we are false to the true gospel.

Most of the media we make when we make it anyway is for us. Christian movies are made for Christians. Other people aren’t going to see them so we’re just preaching to the choir. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, right alongside it came Old-Fashioned where the guy wouldn’t even be in the same room with the girl in the trailers at least. Guess which one the world was more interested in. That’s not saying Christians should make movies like Fifty Shades, but we should make a movie that people would want to see and would show Christianity as something that they would not only want, but at least want to be true.

Definitely every church needs to teach some apologetics. Every church should have at least one go-to person in the congregation for apologetics. Larger churches will need more. Every church should have someone they can call when Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons come by. (Speaking of being true to a false gospel, they tend to do more evangelism than we do.) Definitely, youth need to be trained up long before they are ready to go off to college.

It’s bizarre to me that we can have events about how to divorce-proof your marriage or how to be a good parent or how to get out of financial debt, and we should, but we so rarely have them on why Christianity is true and what difference it makes. It’s as if the only reason to be a Christian is to have a good marriage, be a good parent, and live debt free. Do those things, but don’t forget the engine behind them.

While we disagree with those other groups, let’s admit that we can learn something from them. We should definitely not do anything immoral, but we can learn how to do evangelism better. We can learn how to use media and culture better. We have nothing less at stake than the lives of countless souls all over the world.

Think it’s worth it?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

For Christians Seeing Movies

What should we consider when we see a film? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My wife and I have some dinner and a movie gift cards, so today we’re going to go see the new Star Wars movie and then go out for a dinner. Some of you might be surprised to learn I’m not really much of a Star Wars fan. I know the basic story, but that’s about it. We went to see Episode VII because my wife wanted to and that’s the same reason we’re seeing VIII.

So I wanted to give some advice about seeing movies. I’m not going to talk about the usual things you might expect such as sex and violence and profanity and the like. That has been said over and over. What I am saying will apply to not just movies, but to books and most any other form of media as well.

When I was a student at a Seminary, we had a professor who really loved movies and wanted to start discussions based on movies. One night at the seminary all students who wanted were invited to watch The Truman Show. I had never seen it and it was a free movie so I decided to go along.

When the movie ended, the professor came out to ask us what we thought and also to talk about the messages that we saw in the movie. Naturally, this is a room full of Christians and I have no doubt many of them wanted to impress the professor and their peers with how insightful they were. I was off sitting more by my self, but I saw student after student speak up and talk about how X was a symbol of Christ.

It’s understandable. In some ways, I think Christ figures are unavoidable in movies. Christ is the ultimate hero after all and the ultimate example of self-sacrifice. What we have to ask is if that was really what was in mind.

This gets down to how to approach any work of media in the world. When someone goes to see the new Star Wars movie, they could see images that remind them of Jesus. That doesn’t mean that that was in the mind of the producer necessarily and even if it was, it doesn’t mean that the producer of the film is trying to give a Christian message.

When you see a work in the media, try to interpret it based on what you think the author is really trying to convey first. Be honest with the work. If the author is not a Christian, he’s quite likely not trying to convey a Christian message. We would not want someone to watch The Chronicles of Narnia and try to find a Buddhist message in it. We know Lewis is talking about Jesus in it.

Also, keep in mind you can enjoy the movie. Just because a movie or a book is by a non-Christian doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, and even still you can find some glimpses of the truest story of all in there, even if they are not really intended by the author. If the Gospel is what our hearts really long for, it will come out eventually.

If you’re going to see the new film today, have fun and enjoy it, but don’t try to turn a non-Christian film into a Christian masterpiece. Treat the work fairly.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 10/24/2015: David Wilkie

What’s coming up on the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Art. We see it in the world all around us. While we might think it only exists in drawings and paintings, any time we sit down to watch TV, in some way, we are seeing art. Even the way a news reporter dresses and the way their show is lined out is meant to make a statement. The commercials that will take place are often artistic in some sense. Music is all around us and many of us travel with our devices listening to music that we hear and as much as cars have advanced, though sadly we did not get the flying cars that we were told we would get, it is quite likely music will be a part of them for some time.

What impact can a Christian have when it comes to art? Many times in the apologetics world, we have focused on the world of the head. Bring forward a good argument and that’s enough. For some people, it could be, but many times it’s not just the message that reaches people, but it’s the medium that reaches them as well and art is a fantastic medium. Why not have on the show someone who brings together the world of art and the world of Christianity? This week, I have decided to do that by having David Wilkie come on. If you don’t know him, he’s the author of the popular comic strip Coffee With Jesus.

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So who is he? According to his bio:

Born in Germany of a Californian Army father and a New York Italian mother, Dave Wilkie considers himself a Transcontinental American, though he’s still trying to find a home state.
From his earliest days, Dave was fascinated with the written word as well as the audio and visual arts. He enjoyed most the ability of all of these mediums to make people laugh and think. Compiling audio montages became a hobby early on.

Dave has held numerous and varied positions in his career, a career that started in journalism, if you count delivering The Washington Post as a 6th grader a job in journalism.
Dave has been an advertising copywriter, creative director, producer, musician, on-air talent, clergyman, fax repairman and artist, sometimes all at once. His favorite role is that of Grounds Maintenance Foreman for Radio Free Babylon, the organization he founded with his wife, Katie, in 2000. “You can’t edit a mowed and manicured lawn,” he says.
Dave and his family reside in Florida, with Roman, their Australian shepherd.

This Saturday then, we’ll be talking about art and apologetics. How can a Christian be a witness for Christ? Is it possible to use artwork in order to make an impact for the Kingdom? How should Christians best engage with the media that is around them and use it for the glory of God? What kind of skills does one need to get in the world of art in order to best use this medium for the Gospel?

Tune in next time to the Deeper Waters Podcast!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Be Your Own Media

What’s the best way to go about getting hits in social media for your ministry? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

My friend Mike “Moondog” Burnette asked me if I’d be open to hosting a guest post on my blog. Now I haven’t done that before, but I had a need to put in something else and I figured why not, especially since so many other people are kind enough to link to my work.

Details about Burnette can be found at the end of this post. I also will not hesitate to say I need to practice much more of what he says in this post. That’s one reason I plan in staying in communication with him.

True Truth: Be Your Own Media

I’ve done media consulting with a couple Christian ministries lately who are not cutting through all the communication noise very well — in some ways they’re hiding from the noise with their fingers in their ears. The noise I speak of is LOUD and coming from our over-communicated, hyper-speed social media culture — so much so that if you’re not hustling, planning, fully present, extremely valuable, and engaged — you’re done. Many of these well intentioned people were great at media marketing in 2004 — the problem is it’s now 2014 and they haven’t adjusted. I believe their messages are important, but since they have no media plans, strategies, or budget — they’re destined for failure; barring divine intervention. Some groups have wonderful Christian men and women on their boards, but they have no practical knowledge of media programming or understanding of how powerful current media platforms are to success. They think Vimeo, SnapChat, Twitter, SoundCloud, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, etc– are all very quaint entertainment fads — they may not even realize the car has replaced the buggy.

In their marketing ignorance they pay to advertise on “little used country roads” instead of along “major highways” — paying for things no one see, uses or pays attention to. I’m not a part of that type of thinking. My personal and professional corps values stem from questioning meaning and purpose and include a code of serving others by doing the right things, for the right reasons, and taking care of people in the same ways that I want to be treated. I could lead them astray and take their money, but that’s definitely not what God called me to do. I started MoonDog Radio to consult and produce commercials for Christian ministries. I want to honor God with the best results possible — highly successful ministries and first rate media. So, I’m passionate about using my consulting and creative DNA to help strengthen believers, evangelize, and shape culture — it’s not about making money for me.

The biggest piece of advice I could give you is to BE YOUR OWN MEDIA and program your content like a DJ — by programming your content, using your personality to give it context, and cross-promote your organizations benefits and features. Why pay for billboards, YouTube ads, Pandora, and radio when EVERYONE is listening on their time (on demand) — on their smartphone or iPad. Few people still look to billboards or watch ads on TV for information — if it’s not in their RSS feed it probably doesn’t exist. Maybe I’m the only one–but, I record all my TV programs and run through the commercials. I also call up multiple pages on YouTube and let the commercials play so I don’t have to watch them.

Remember to target your media to those people, places, and platforms that use what you provide. You are serving them — they are just borrowing you.
Blessings In Christ,
Mike “MoonDog” Burnette
Founder, MoonDog Radio
https://www.moondogradio.com/

Liberty University alum 79-83
American Forces Radio & Television Veteran
Chief, Army Broadcasting, DOD
Cell:907-280-9646

Thanks to Mike “Moondog” Burnette for writing this!

In Christ,
Nick Peters