Jan 062014

Three days ago I wrote a post called ‘A warning to Christian followers of @rickygervais’. It was about how Christians should – or more accurately should NOT – engage with people who don’t share our beliefs, using some of Ricky Gervais’s twitter followers as a window into the subject.

To cut a long story short, he saw it, he liked it, he wrote me some lovely messages, he tweeted links to it a number of times, and every time the influx of visitors took down the server that hosts this blog. In fact traffic spiked so high, my stats for the last couple of months now look literally like zero in comparison…

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The first thing I want to say about this is simple: thank you! I have been blown away by the kindness, encouragement and level-headed discussion that I’ve seen from so so many people since the post went up. People who share my faith and people who don’t have engaged in such a wonderful way – it has deeply encouraged me to see that proper dialogue is possible, that people are committed to elevating the conversation and listening, not just shouting at each other. This was exactly the spirit of my post, and I’m delighted.

What I’m not going to do now

The truth is, my blog won’t change much as a result of the last few days. I’m delighted to have a number of new followers and subscribers to the blog, but this is still my blog, I’m still me and it would be wrong to pretend otherwise. So there are a couple of things I’m not going to do.

I won’t be dialling down my faith. I hope in the last post people saw that my faith leads me to engage with people in a way that’s gracious and reasonable. It also had a lot of ‘Christian language’ and I make no apology for the fact that all I said was motivated by my faith. I will keep talking as a Christian, and I’ll keep talking about Jesus, the Bible, church and faith. That’s always been what this blog is.

I won’t be trying to repeat the last post. A few people have said (some joking, some not) that I should ‘go for Dawkins next’, or suggested similar ideas. I’m not interested in doing that. If another post ever goes as big as this one, it won’t be because I sought it out.

Perhaps my favourite response on Twitter to this whole things said this: “@DaveCriddle for Pope!” Sorry to disappoint you, but I won’t be going for that, either.

What I will do now

Having said all that, I’d not be following my own example if I refused to engage with the non-Christians who’ve been kind enough to get involved with the discussion.

I’ve been asked some really good, reasonable and interesting questions in the comment section of the last post, and on Twitter. Some great points have been raised. The volume of comments and responses has been so high that I haven’t been able to reply to all of them. I will keep engaging with comments, but can’t respond to everyone.

What I will also do is take some of the questions that have come up from lots of people and seek to write full posts in response over the next few weeks. It won’t be all I blog about, but I will write about my thoughts. If there are any questions you have but didn’t ask, or points you want to make, please do and I’ll give them a think.

Basically, I’ll continue to develop the conversation I started, but the blog will not suddenly become all about it.

I really hope that whether you’ve been reading my blog for a while or have only just heard of it you enjoy what you read here and find it useful. We’ve proven in the last three days that proper dialogue is possible, so let’s keep that up!

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