As an evangelical Christian platform speaker, I regularly spoke to huge, boisterous crowds at music festivals and youth conventions, with all kinds of high-tech lights and cameras capturing my every word from multiple angles. Those days are long gone, of course. I’m still out there trying to motivate people to make the most of their lives by pursuing loving relationships and social justice, but there isn’t yet a big market for us secular gospel preachers.
Here’s the funny thing: None of my big-time Christian sermons ever generated as much positive feedback as this little talk about community-building to a handful of young people I gave at last year’s Secular Student Alliance conference in Columbus. It only lasted 19 minutes and the video of it is decidedly low-tech, but I keep hearing from people who say it’s really making a difference.
Obviously I think the ideas here are worthwhile, but I’m pretty sure that what people are really responding to is the evangelical way I share them. If so, well … that’s fine by me. The fact that we human beings naturally thrive when we come together around shared values and reach out to invite other people into a better way of life is good news, after all. And the fact that that fact actually is a fact – scientifically verifiable and requiring no supernatural faith – only makes that good news better. So then, let’s spread it around.