In the wake of the latest set of arguments about whether Calvinists have been here, are being here, or evermore shall be here, I was reading a few blog posts on the issue. Naturally, I read here, since I am supposedly a contributor here and will get co-blamed for anything that happens at this site. Then, I moved on to read a few other Southern Baptist blogs to catch up on any other view point.
I clicked over to Peter Lumpkins’ website at SBCTomorrow and noticed something in the comment stream after one of his posts. An individual brought up an advertisement they had seen here at SBCVoices. Now, I think they were trying to make a different point, but the comment stopped me in my tracks.
We have ads here at SBCVoices.com?
I’ve never seen them.
I pulled the website up, nope, no ads. Clicked the “Refresh” button in Firefox, nope, no advertisements. Pulled the page up in Google Chrome, nope, no ads.
Finally, I dropped back to Internet Explorer and opened SBCVoices.com and discovered…the right-hand column has advertising links in it. Currently, there’s one for a conference from PLNTD, one for David Brumbelow’s book, and one for Peter Lumpkins’ website. Oh, and one that offers the opportunity to advertise here.
Then it dawned on me. I use an ad-block plug-in for Firefox and Chrome. I don’t see ads on many websites–here, Facebook, Twitter, even Amazon.com’s internal ads don’t show up when I browse through them. I have been blissfully filtering my internet experience and blocking out advertisements for several years now. And in that, I have become so accustomed to the filtering that I don’t even think about it. It’s automatic and is hidden: I don’t even see an icon that says “ad-blocked” like I used to back in the dark ages. Like 2007.
This has me raising a few questions:
1. What else am I missing on the internet? Here I didn’t even know that PLNTD has a conference or that Dr. Patterson endorses David Brumbelow’s book. What else is there? There could be myriad joys and pleasures that I’m missing out on. (Sorry, Peter, I knew your blog was called “SBC Tomorrow” without the ad.)
2. Why can I not get an ad-blocker for my television? Oh, never mind that. I don’t pick up enough out here on the prairie to bother with it.
3. Who else is running ads on their website?
Then there are the serious questions:
1. What is my filter in theological questions? I have one. I know that I do. From the first time I read The Book of the Acts of God through How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, from Grudem’s theology text to Grenz’s theology text, from the OBU faculty to the MABTS faculty, I’m constantly filtering what people say. How am I filtering it?
2. What do I do with information that challenges my filter? College-aged theologians left me with a bad taste regarding certain issues back when I, also, was college-aged. Now, there are some challenges to that filter and there have been for some years. Am I willing to change that filter?
3. How often do I clean my filter? Invariably, any filtering device tends to both take out some good stuff and let through some bad stuff. That’s why the Fram box does not say 100% effective. It gives some near-percentage to that, but not 100%. My filter occasionally screens out useful things. I occasionally also swallow bad things. From time to time, there’s a real need to shut it down and re-examine the whole process.
Conclusively, we would all claim that the Bible is our ultimate filter. We do not want to do, nor encourage others to do, anything that is unbiblical. Yet there are portions of Scripture that are open to interpretation and we come to those spaces with preset filters. It’s hard to see the things that we filter out, and rarely do we like our filters challenged. We need to think through it, though. Pray through it.Keep re-examining ourselves and drawing closer to seeing what we have been missing. There is truth in the Word of God that we will continue to miss if we only listen to those who meet our filter.
However, I’m leaving my software running and skipping the ads around here…