Don’t miss this _________ (insert exaggerated, sensationalist, hyperbolic lure here) post!!!!

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. – Romans 5:1-2

Comparing the headlines of three different New York based newspapers.
cartoons found at “Sensationalism in America”

One dilemma, as a writer, is this constant tug between my very real desire to reach people in terms of raw numbers, and the (more important) intention of actually having something to say once I have their attention. Or, should I say, your attention.

I do understand why media outlets so often inflate headlines in order to snag additional readers or viewers. Attention (also known as circulation, readership, hits, likes, shares etc) translates into advertising dollars; and – like it or not – money is critically important when it comes to maintaining a professional news organization.

unnamedWhile I do not get paid for readership numbers at this blog (I hope you have noticed the absence of advertising), there is a real correlation between how many people visit this site and sales numbers for my books. Then there is a higher likelihood that I will get booked for speaking engagements when more people read my work. And my next book is significantly more likely to get picked up by a publisher if the metrics at derekmaul.blog indicate a worthwhile reach via social media.

So, yes, I do face this ever present temptation to lead with sensational headings or try to out-sensationalize the competition just so I can generate more hits and secure a few thousand extra followers.

Sorry, but this is better than sensational!

Instead I’m going to share some more insight from yesterday’s conversation (Why I love to teach) around the “why” of religious affiliation. I know the subject sounds mundane but believe me it’s not; how we choose to engage faith speaks to real meaning and the kind of transformation people long for and hope for yet seldom find.

To a man, the guys in my Wednesday group said that what they love most about church – and our church in particular – is the experience of community.

“It’s like there is something inside me, something fundamental to who I am, that has always been calling out for God,” one of the guys said. “It’s as if figuring out that relationship is essential to understanding the reason people even exist.”

This comment was part of the opening conversation that will work its way (over the next few weeks) through “What is religion?” “What is faith in God?” and “What is the Christian religion?” We will narrow down into the evolution of Christianity, the Protestant Reformation, Presbyterianism, the Presbyterian Church here in North America, and – ultimately – our experience and rootedness in Reformed Theology as a local faith community.

IMG_E8885 (2)
author Derek Maul lives and writes in North Carolina

This is an important conversation, because it is too easy to “believe” socially, culturally, and historically, owning a general religious affiliation that is part of our understanding of what it means to be an American. But once we burrow down into what it means to have faith as followers of the Living Way of Jesus, then our salvation moves from transaction to transformation.

I will be sharing more from our Wednesday evening explorations as we go through this study. Peace, and more peace – DEREK

Bible faith life The Story

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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