This coming weekend I’ll be attending the first national conference of The Brothers of John the Steadfast, an organization made up of conservative, confessional Lutheran laymen (and pastors) that’s being held, conveniently, at my home church, Bethany Lutheran Church and School in Naperville.
Brothers of John the Steadfast (here’s a little background on the gentleman the group takes its name from), has been slowly but steadily sprouting new chapters across the nation but is still a relatively new and loosely centralized organization that has two primary goals in mind:
- To encourage men to read The Lutheran Confessions so we can know Biblical truths, confess them clearly and accurately and make sure our ministers are doing likewise
- To “provide financial support for Christian new media (e.g. Issues, Etc.), and to support other endeavors selected by its membership that defend and promote the cause of confessional Lutheranism.”
Note in #2 the use of “new media.”
In a recent meeting of the Board of Elders at my church (of which I’m a part) we were approving the charter for a chapter of BJS and “new media” was part of that charter. I briefly took issue with it because, as someone who looks at these things everyday from both a theoretical and practical point of view, I thought that these things weren’t really “new” anymore.
My fellow Elders, though, convinced me to leave it in there so that the goals could be as specific as possible.
Their arguments for retaining the word “new” reminded me that a lot of the things we who live and work in this world every day take for granted or consider old hat are still new to those who don’t. Look around you at church or at the grocery store. A lot of those people have probably bought songs from iTunes but how many listen to podcasts or care about XML standards?
It’s important to remember as we hash this stuff out and get very passionate about whether we refer to things as “new media,” “social media” or simply “media” that these tools we consider to be everyday are still very much new to vast swaths of the publc.
Paul, in a verse that is often taken out of context, says he “became all things to all people” in order to show them Christ’s saving gift. Likewise, as evangelists of social media and its power, we need to make sure that when we’re talking to non-industry wonks we be considerate of thier perspective and opinions so that we might show them what these tools have to offer.