Ben Witherington on Rob Bell
Why to Try Blogging and How to Start

Five Innovative Missional Ideas for Serving Your Community

Here are five wacky ways I have tried to love my community this year.  I thought they would be fun to share and might stimulate some other ideas.  Only number 4 was actually "successful."  These are extremely experimental.  In chronological order, here they are:   

1. Fix the Wikipedia entry for your town so that it is accurate and helpful. Wikipediaword_1 I did this earlier this year with Upland, Indiana.  The description of the town where I live was about three sentences before I added to it earlier this year.  I thought it was good for the world and for the town to have an accurate description at Wikipedia.  Has it had a positive impact?  I don't know but I know lots of people have read it.      

2. Start a blog for your favorite organization or business that does not have a website.  This blog can serve as a fan club for that organization and post relevant information for the world.  I did this earlier this year for Ivanhoe's - a local ice cream shop.  Has this had a positive impact?  I don't know but it has gotten lots of hits. 

3. Write a politician.  I recently wrote Barack Obama to urge him not to portray himself as a one-issue politician because I was reading that he was getting his biggest cheers for his "Pull our troops out of Iraq by March 2008" talk and that his campaign believed his stance on Iraq was his primary strength in comparison to Hillary Clinton.  From what I know about him, he has more to contribute than just that perspective.  Has it had a positive impact?  Maybe I'll never know.  Obama

  • Obama's speech to Call to Renewal in June 2006 is especially helpful to listen to if you are interested in learning about his faith.  The transcript and MP3 of the talk are both at Obama's website here
  • You can also read the transcript of his speech on AIDS at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in December 2006 here.
  • Evangelical? Obama's faith too complex for simple label is also an interesting article. 

4. Protest appalling things.  Si_logo Yesterday I was really annoyed to see the four-inch banner advertisement for the Swimsuit Issue on Sports Illustrated's website  I wrote them and complained.  See my note here.  (I also sent a note to The Jim Rome Show and Dan Patrick of ESPN radio but I don't think anything was said on the radio about it.  I like both of those sports talk radio shows).  Well, a day later Sports Illustrated reduced the advertisement to a half inch.  I'm shocked but thankful.  Thanks, Sports Illustrated.   

5. Advocate for something better in your community.  Bk_logo_1 Today I wrote a letter to Burger King (which is the closest fast food restaurant to where I live) because the children's playground has been "closed for maintanance" for five months (at least).  I sometimes study there and it breaks my heart to see kids come in disappointed which today (a Saturday) was like five kids per hour.  So we'll see what happens on that.  See my letter here.

Update: They reopened the playground at the end of March!  :-)