Last year I realized a growing need for us to connect with our audience in a more intimate way. Part of that connection begins with transparency on our part. This need continues to grow and so, busy as I am with a wife, 2 minions, and a full time ministry plate I have decided to take some time to provide a sketch of the purpose for this blog space, the direction is is travelling in, and the motivation behind it.
The purpose of the Haystack blog is simple: To encourage conversation among Adventist millennials on relevant topics. With this in mind the blog hosts 3 main categories: theology, life, and culture. Each of those categories is followed by limitless sub categories such as God, the Bible, church, relationships, sexuality, and current events. At times, these sub categories are controversial topics such as Womens Ordination and homosexuality: two of the most often discussed issues in our church today. As a blog we have decided to tackle these issues, not in an attempt to tell everyone what or how to believe, but in an attempt to provide a space for conversation. As such, the Haystack blog does not intend to promote any particular position on these, or other, controversial topics. Our goal is simply to create a talk-space.
However, encouraging conversation is only half of the goal. Conversation is of no use if it leads nowhere. It is also of no use if it is one sided. Thus, the other half of the goal is: to inspire understanding, respect and love for one another despite our disagreements. In other words, our conversations should be gracious if they are to lead anywhere. Consequently, the Haystack blog is not attempting to re-create a theological debate forum where we constantly bash and insult those we disagree with. There are plenty of those around. Instead, our goal is to create a safe space where we can discuss these issues with respect and love for those we disagree with. Thehaystack.tv does not promote uniformity – where everyone has to agree on everything and see all issues the same way – but unity despite our differing views. This is the direction the blog is moving in: unity in the midst of diversity.
And to be perfectly honest, this is perhaps the most difficult part to accomplish. Limited writers (all whom are volunteers with many other things to do) means that we cannot always present two sides of the coin to every conversation. As such, that other side of the coin is left to the ensuing conversation. As we move forward we hope to get better at representing differing view points and we also hope to inspire more wholesome and loving conversations so that everyone feels safe to join the discussion.
Of course, we cannot always present differing view points on everything. Some view points are so far fetched we cannot promote them. Other issues are petty and limited conversation on our end is best. Other issues are worn-out and continued conversation is annoying and useless. But there are and will always be time-relevant issues that sincere Christians struggle to agree on. It is these issues that we hope to tackle by sharing honest and respectful articles from differing view points and encouraging the conversations that follow to exhibit the spirit of unity in the midst of disagreement.
Being a Christian is awesome. Being an Adventist is exciting. But at times questions and struggles arise that boggle us. At the Haystack blog we aim to create a community for young Adventists to come and chat about these issues. We hope to publish articles that deal with topics often not talked about in church and to do so, not to answer everyone’s questions or to tell everyone how to think, but to generate conversations for readers to participate in as they seek to discover where God is leading them. Our motivation at thehaystack.tv is Jesus and the goal he has for his church to be a place; no, not a place – but a community of agape love people. By addressing pertinent issues for Adventist Christians we hope to be a small part of leading the church toward that ideal.
How you Can Help
There are several things that you, as the reader, can also do to help us move in this direction. Number one is to engage the articles. This goes for the non-spicy articles as well as the spicy ones. While the spicy articles often command lots of attention, please don’t forget the simple articles about faith, life and the simple things. True, they may not be as exhilarating as an article on Womens Ordination, but they are still wonderful opportunities to connect with the writers and other commenters. Second, consider everyone at theHaystack, both visitors and staff, your family. In doing so we can approach one another in love and be kind even when we don’t see eye to eye. And last, share the articles and invite others to join.
I hope this short sketch can give you all a glimpse as to why, each week, we spend quality time with our keyboards typing our hearts on a screen. Above all we need grace and wisdom to accomplish the goal for which we strive. Pray for us and don’t forget to read, comment, and share below!
– Marcos Torres. Blog Manager, Thehaystack.tv