It’s kind of hard to express the things I felt as I read Jason Janz’ article yesterday morning announcing that he is moving on and passing the leadership of SI to Aaron Blumer. Though I don’t know Jason personally, I do feel a sense of comraderie with him because of the similarity of what he has done to what we are doing here at GMT and InFocus. The other thing I felt was a profound sense of gratefulness. There are three key reasons why I’m grateful for what Jason has done over the last three years.
First, I’m grateful that Jason had the courage to launch and build Sharper Iron when he knew it would be controversial and misunderstood. I’m thankful that Jason didn’t let the critics, the trolls, those with an agenda… he didn’t let them stop him or side track him. He pioneered a model for fundamentalist interaction on the web that is wise, courageous, edifying.
Second, I’m grateful that Jason opened up so many important topics for discussion within Fundamentalism. The day when open, honest discussion was seen as disloyalty should never have existed, and SI has played a large part in its growing demise. Fundamentalism is slowly learning that transparency and accountability lead to stronger trust and stronger believers.
Finally, I’m grateful that Jason has opened up the idea of Fundamentalist media where current events within Fundamentalism are not only reported and commented on (these things have existed to some degree for some time), but are actually opened up for discussion within a controlled (but not repressive) environment. We need to learn to express grace in great controversy and we need to learn from each other as we move through the controversies that inevitably arise in a movement. This accountability and critique is essential to the health of the movement.
When it comes to online ministry, these are the early days. Jason Janz has been a courageous pioneer. Thank you Jason.