By now, some church guy has to have proved that watching Harry Potter makes you at least four times more likely to go to hell than before subjecting your delicate spirit to the witchcraft and mayhem that our culture has fallen in love with. Maybe the Barna Institute has some research and statistics to support that notion. Probably not though, George seems to be battling for the left side of church politics these days.
The Barna Institute hit a niche when they started doing research. Pastors and those interested in growing congregations into giant bodies of tithing believers consumed his books and research as though their lives depended on it. This happened until he turned on ecclesiastical leadership and basically indicated that the Church doesn’t need it anymore.
Prior to that though, Barna hit a chord with church leaders because he provided insight and information that they could use to achieve their goals and for sermon illustrations. The burden of speaking to a group of people at least once a week, if not more is that it turns one into a consumer of information. This is logos.
The thing about logos is that it can be a tangible value like those provided by the Barna Institute, or it can be a story or any fact that supports an idea or argument. Bible verses, anecdotes, names, dates and locations all qualify. Logos is necessary to any argument or presentation unless you’re into fantasy and like to avoid reality.
The nineties and the beginning of the new millennium found a world inundated with information. So much of it was flying around the airwaves that I honestly think that a lot of people have grown tired of it. Once interesting facts have lost their appeal due to the ginormous volume of them we see every single day.
Believers might have it a little easier because we have access to the logos of John 1 which tells us,
In the beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with God and the Logos was God.
Understanding that Jesus amounted to God in the flesh as well as truth personified can help us differentiate between fact and truth. God’s law presented the world with the fact that humanity basically sucked and that God was holy. Jesus came in as the life-changing truth behind God’s judgment, love and holiness. Truth is the meaning behind the facts. It’s why they’re important and how they can change us. As writers, this is what we should seek to communicate.
We can read and research facts and useful information and build sermons, blogs, books and movements off it until the end of time, but that won’t necessarily mean that we’re presenting the world with life-changing truth.
I could be wrong but I think that those of us who communicate in particular ways (we writers) have a great opportunity. We have the chance to change lives, if we offer the right stuff.
Give your readers information. Understand why you do it and what each piece of information does for them. Decipher between fact and something that can make them into a better person and try to choose the better stuff. It might be harder to come by, but it’s definitely worth the effort.