“Hello my dear sister! Sorry if you already posted the answers to these questions and I did not spend much time searching your site for them before asking, but (1) why are you choosing to move from WordPress to a site with advertisements and (2) why do you choose to move to a site that requires cookies? I would love to continue reading your blogs, but I cannot accept these two conditions, for we are IN the world but not OF it, and what is freely received is to be freely given.” – Deanna Reynolds
I already responded to your questions in the comment thread of the post, where you made your original comment, but I feel that I should address the issues raised publicly, in case other people are feeling or thinking the same way. Again, thanks for reaching out to me and letting me know your reservations about my decision to use advertising and cookies on my new blog.
Because of our exchange, I was enlightened about the fact that I actually don’t need to stop blogging here at WordPress.com. I don’t need to move, but I do need to grow. So I am not moving. Thanks for helping me see that this blog can continue to be one of the several blogs I maintain to the glory of God. Since I already have a significant amount of followers on WordPress, and actually feel we have some sort of community here, moving at the expense of no longer interacting with you all (as much) is not advisable.
However, as much as I love WordPress.com, there are quite a number of things I can’t do on WordPress.com, that I would be able to do while hosted elsewhere. I am not able to add various plugins on my site here, which will allow for greater sharing of my content, more sign-ups and independent advertising, among a few other benefits. But there are also quite a lot of things WordPress.com offers that I would miss out on if I were to disconnect and move entirely. So staying, and operating both blogs is a win win, and hopefully a win for my readers too.
On the issue about “what is freely received should be free given“, I agree with you, and with Jesus, who said that. However, I think there is a confusion or an assumption going on here. I also think you might be being ‘religious’ about this. There are a number of components to consider.
First, what was freely given is the gift of God in my life, to write and to teach with the wisdom He has given me. The website I run is not freely given…I pay for it. Sure, I could have a free site, and not bother about paying for a really nice theme, so it can be simple. I can also simply quote scripture on my site and not add anything significant to it, so that people are pretty much reading the Bible on my site. But I do more than that. I not only write thought-provoking pieces, referencing scripture, I have also begun to write stories, which captivate people more, and pass on the message in a way they will not easily forget!
Some might say it is too fancy, and that I’m making it about me or whatever, but it really isn’t. I am using God’s gift and His wisdom and packaging it in a way that the world will receive, without even realising the potency of what I am sharing. If I was to produce a book or other creative content that cost me not only my time, but money to do so, I certainly believe it would be legitimate to ask people to contribute something towards the cost of production…for the production, design and everything else put into it wouldn’t have been freely given, but the substance itself is!
If I were to charge highly, then one could rightly accuse me of greed. But it is most likely, if God ever leads me to work on a book, that I would ask for donations instead of charging a fixed price for it, and let God bless me through the generosity of my readers. But my point is, you need to identify what was given freely, before you try to make those who are legitimately living off the gospel to feel condemned for asking for support. Like Paul said:
“Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Who tends a flock and does not drink of its milk? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel ” (1 Cor 9:7-14).
The second thing is that I have not charged, nor will I ever charge anyone to read my writings! They are publicly available. You don’t have to sign in to read them. They are free. (Update: Some of my published works are no longer freely available to the public. I have changed my mind on this, because, as an Author, not all my content can be free) But it seems your issue is with advertising and receiving funds through that avenue. I’ve already asked you to let me know why that is an ungodly practice, but you haven’t. Please, I would like to know.
I know not all advertising is good and profitable. There will be issues to iron out with this. There will also be temptation to dilute the message in order to get an advertiser that is hesitant or unwilling to advertise on my site because of my strong Christian message. But that’s life isn’t it? I will have to say no and stand by my principles, just as any Christian woman working in an office and is accosted by her boss to do something contrary to her beliefs would have to either stand her ground or leave that place of employment, believing God will make provision elsewhere.
Yes, we are in the world, but not of the world. We don’t exile ourselves from the world, so that we are untainted by it. Our righteousness and our love is proven through our daily interactions with the ungodly and the unloving. The world can be rightly used, just like many Christian musicians are using that avenue to glorify God and to bless Believers, and also draw out His children from among the world.
Certainly, though they may give freely their labour and the gift God has bestowed on them, production and distribution, and whatever else goes into this industry is not free. They will need financial support. So, unless you are saying that they should depend only on themselves, and the work they are engaged in (outside of their Christian ministry) to produce and share their Gospel messages, then I don’t understand what the problem with asking for help is. If someone was to work to earn the money to put into the Gospel, are they not also depending on themselves to make the provision, and possibly denying other people from being blessed through giving to support their ministry?
Yes, I would like advertising on my blog. And if they are willing to pay well, that for me is God’s provision! Yes, I would like to grow this blog and reach a much wider audience. I hope there is no surprise there. We are supposed to be lights on a hill, not hid under a bushel. And we need to do what we can to ensure that the message God has given us gets across.
And I also hope, WHEN I do get more recognition and appreciation for the labour I do on my blog, more people will hear about my charity work and donate in support of it too! I have since learned that people give to people they know, because they trust them. Putting myself out there, and raising funding through my blog will also mean more funding for my charity organisation, Fair Life Africa Foundation. This was also one of things I considered when deciding to opt for advertising.
So, I won’t limit God and say, I won’t do advertising on my blog because I trust You to use another legitimate means to provide for me. If He chooses to use this avenue to bless me, I’m ready to be blessed. Bring it on, Lord!!! And if anyone feels inclined to donate in support of my work on this blog or at Fair Life Africa, I would be so grateful! Thank you and God bless you too.
Photo credit: http://www.everydayadvertisingtips.com
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