Once every week or two, I receive an email soliciting the right to use the Ethical Musings blog site to advertise a product. The most recent email came from Logos Bible Software wanting me to publicize a book they have published, Jerry Gramckow’s Search of the Silver Lining: Where Is God in the Midst of Life's Storms?
Receiving one of these solicitations invariably prompts several thoughts. First, I doubt that the sender has taken the time to read my blog. If so, perhaps they find Ethical Musings unintelligible. Otherwise, why are they soliciting my assistance in promoting their product? Gramckow’s book, like all of the other products that people and firms have wanted me to advertise, represents an approach to Christianity that is not only foreign to me but one that I think is nonsensical and ridiculous. Whatever good points he may make do not outweigh his approach to Scripture that is little more than bibliolatry.
Then, I wonder whether I am missing a good opportunity to earn some additional income by selling ads for Ethical Musings. However, I am weary of incessant commercialism and derive sufficient satisfaction from reader responses and comments to make writing these posts worthwhile. I also find that writing the posts is a spiritual exercise for me, an opportunity to think about a subject in a more organized disciplined fashion than I would do if I did not put my thoughts into words.
Finally, the email solicitations prompt me to wonder about the future of the internet, communication, and human community. Those questions (at least the last two!) point toward the meaning of this season in the Church year, Advent:
· How does God communicate with people?
· What did God intend to communicate via Jesus?
· How can I better share that message with others through my Christmas celebration? Through the remainder of the year?
· People seem designed to live in community. What is the shape and what are the characteristics of the community in which God intends us to live?
Generally, I ignore emails soliciting permission to place ads on Ethical Musings, hopeful that as much as I disdain these products somebody else will find some modicum of assistance in them. Trying to respect everyone, including ill-informed diversity that wrongly substitutes idolizing the Bible for the mysterious yet life-giving light, is a basic expression of the love for others and of the worth conferred on humans by God's creative act. Similarly, rejecting pervasive seasonal and social commercialism is consonant with my belief that life has a deep, mysterious core from which abundant life springs.
Together, those dynamics highlight the meaning of Advent: a time to examine my relationships with others and with the world, seeking to move more deeply into the mystery at the center of life in order to live more abundantly.