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Brothers, we are not Christians

I am a Christian. You say you are. But we are not.

It seems that a lot of folks are having a hard time wrapping their heads around the scope of this site. While I respect the SE staff* and have been impressed with the effort they have taken (and judgement they have shown) in nurturing this site into existence, I think there is a sense in which as outsiders they lack the inside perspective and lingo to communicate with and market to a Christian audience. I do not pretend to have a magic silver bullet that will convince everyone of the value of the site as they proposed it, but I hope my perspective will help at least a few others to grok where this is going and then make informed decisions about their participation.

Here is the my main point. Don't let the URL or title fool you. This is a secular site. This is not a church sanctioned or sponsored ministry site. It is a secular QnA site sponsored as a for-profit venture by a secular company.

This isn't a bad thing, in fact it might be a good thing but we have to understand this point. SE has in no way been deceitful and has not tried to pull one over on us; in fact I feel that they have shown considerable integrity in their dealings. However, we need to understand that this venture is a fundamentally different thing than what we would dream up and build for ourselves as a ministry or resource site.

I think SE sites are in a league of their own so this is not a comparison, but consider the question "What if this was Yahoo Answers?" for a second. As Christians we need to take a step back and realize that this is somebody else's commercial venture that they are inviting us to participate in. They are cooperative in tailoring it to our specific community needs but we still have to play by their rules.

In fact I think this realization makes it easier to participate. We are wading into a niche category on a secular QnA network where any viewpoint is fair game. Personally I am up for that. I hope some of you are too.

I'll spare you repeating the full rant, but for myself, as long as SE doesn't try to dictate or censor our respective beliefs, we religiously identify our respective viewpoints, and nobody tries to ascribe their personal views to a larger corpus of people than are willing to sign off on them, then there is a place in my life for participating here.

Here be dragons. Out spears, up shields, and onward! But we aren't pointing those things at each other.

If you are more inclined to resent rather than celebrate the differences between us, then this may not be the site for you.

Our differences are more than divisions between us, they are boundaries that define us. I think there are more boundaries than is necessary, but the only hope we have of crossing them is to identify and respect them.

* I think there is at least one staff moderator who is a professing Christian, but several are not.

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