Christians seem to finally be shaking off the ghost of George McClellan.
In a stroke of fantastic fortune, Union Major General George McClellan had in his possession the detailed battle plans of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The detailed plans indicated that Lee had divided his army to three different areas, each subject to isolation and defeat, if McClellan was willing to act on the new found intelligence.
Instead of taking advantage of this and positioning his troops for a massive victory, McClellan squandered 18 hours and the Battle of Antietam ended in a bloody draw. Realizing that this could have been the decisive victory needed to end the war, President Lincoln removed McClellan from his command.
Too often Christians have been content to stay on the edges of cultural issues lobbing bombs in the middle of an issue, hoping to inflict damage to the other side. Several recent examples have given me hope that we have put the “playing it safe” days behind us.
Unfortunately, when most non-Christians think of Christian political or cultural activism they think of one word – boycott. On virtually every issue our answer has been a boycott. The Last Temptation of Christ portrays Jesus in a less than divine light – boycott. Walt Disney owns Mirimax which makes movies we don’t like and they have a gay day at their theme parks – boycott. Ford wants gay people to buy their cars – boycott. Over and over and over again, Christian groups throw down the boycott to limited, at best, success.
I’m not sure if we have changed generals or what, but a new batch of evangelicals are seeking ways to engage culture with the Truth – understanding that as Christians we have nothing to be afraid of. Two current issues that have Christians moving away from the sidelines and into the front lines are MySpace and The DaVinci Code. This post will deal with MySpace, while the next will discuss DaVinci
The explosion of blogs may have caught many Christians off guard, but many believers have jumped into the new media head first. But while blogs may be the way young adults learn of news and information, teenagers are influenced by their peers on MySpace.
The internet community/blog site has exploded over the past year and with the explosive growth has come the horror stories of sexual predators using MySpace to solicit underage kids, with far too many falling victim. While the stock Christian response would be to ban our teenagers from MySpace (some have) or call for a boycott (I’m sure some have), many are using the site in positive ways.
At a recent youth event a young evangelist informed the audience full of teenagers that he had talked with all the youth pastors early in the evening and had gotten their permission to put 10 random MySpace blogs on the big screens at the front of the auditorium. As he explained the situation further, murmurs could be heard, numerous teenagers became fidgity and anxious. At the last possible minute, he confesed that he hadn’t seen any of the blogs and he wouldn’t be showing them, but the reaction to his stunt told him all he needed to know.
Since that time, several youth leaders have logged on to MySpace to check out their student’s sites. Some were encouraged, some were ashamed, but they are all more informed and can better deal with the issues their students are facing concerning MySpace.
Saturday night, I heard a Christian music show, Sound of Light, illustrate how they would be a “light” in MySpace. They were asking listeners to sign up as their friend in MySpace. Their goal was to get 300 friends signed up in one night.
They explained that the reason they wanted to do this was to increase their exposure and influence to teenagers using MySpace. They wanted to be a light for Christ to as many students searching for Truth as possible.
Just as McClellan had the information but waited too late, in the past Christians wait until a trend is already on the decline before we decide that we can use it for Christ. Intelligence information is only as good as the time you choose to act on it. If you wait too late the intelligence could be worthless, or even harmful. By the time the “next” MySpace craze comes along, most Christians will just then be aware that the “old” MySpace would have been a great thing to use and they will start an account.
If Major Gen. McClellan were alive today, he would most likely be leading a Christian political activist group advising fellow Christians that we should really look into that internet thing, but if we find anything particularly offensive we may have to resort to a boycott.
Eventually Lincoln realized that while McClellan may have not been losing the Civil War, he certainly wasn’t winning it either. Maybe Christians have actually realized what Charles Spurgeon said, “The Gospel is like a caged lion: it does not need to be defended, it just needs to be let out of its cage.”