Reading the titles of some of the essays, like "Finding Prosperity by Feeding Monkeys" and "Getting Angry Can be a Good Thing" and "In Praise of the 'Wobbles'", I almost passed by quickly. Then I realized what a great opportunity was here to understand the mind of our culture. So often we talk about engaging culture in order to understand people so that we might better present the gospel to them; and then we use that mission to rationalize engaging the more poisonous parts of culture that appeal to our old man. Here is a better way, a chance to read the heart of people.
For instance, Penn (from Penn & Teller) has an essay titled, "There is No God" wherein he argues that, indeed, there is not a god and this is a good thing. Reading his essay will do a couple things: first, it will make you look up the word solipsistic (finding in its definition a very good reason to believe in a god) and second, it will stretch as you wonder how you might answer such a man.
What a great Sunday School class this would make - reading and discussing the major beliefs of real people. How would Jesus bring the truth to such a person?
Interestingly enough, were we to use these essays for that purpose, we would be subverting the intended purpose of the essays. About the show's creators:
In reviving This I Believe, Allison and Gediman say their goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, they hope to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.So they don't want Americans to believe the same things; too bad about that whole "every knee bowing, every tongue confessing" thing. Well, in the meantime, this is a great tool for plundering the Egyptians. Read a few essays and see for yourself. Maybe even submit your own essay.