I read the Blackbird Press because I have no links with the academic world and I am interested in exploring and discussing issues of faith with others who are discontented with the mainstream Christian culture* and also because I want to have some input. It makes me think and keeps me interested and aware of other people’s thoughts, views and ideas. It reminds me that I am not alone in my discontent.
You would expect anybody could get this from their local Church on a face to face level, but things do not work that way. Going to Church does not necessarily mean that people are actively interested or thinking about faith issues or wishing to discuss them with others. There seems to be an idea among some congregations that the minister or pastor is responsible for dealing with the ‘faith issues’ because he or she is the ‘professional’. There is some safety in that idea but also pitfalls.
I feel encouraged when I see young people are thinking faith issues for themselves and that it is important enough to them that they take the time to share them with others. Not just learning about the faith which I see a few young people doing but being discontented with what is going on, for instance the idea that Christ lives in us yet many of us often live so far from that reality in practice.
The Blackbird Press gives me hope and inspires me to want to share as well. It is doubly counter-cultural in that it is not only counter the world’s culture but also counter the prevailing Christian culture*. The second one is an important contribution to change in the Church… that’s pioneering! The post on sermons a few weeks ago was a good example of stopping to think instead of just carrying on and raised a good question.
Finally, if there are Christians who are discontented with the way things just carry on and the Blackbird Press did not exist, where would they get together to share their thoughts and experiences and be encouraged to remain discontented and seek God for a deeper encounter?
*I don’t mean that there are not streams within the prevailing Christian culture that are not good but that still the mainstream is missing the mark and sometimes by a long chalk.