My good friend Sarah blogged so well about building a platform for her writing career that I’d like to follow her lead (though mine will just be mediocre in comparison). I’ve struggled pretty intensely with the idea that building a public platform is a part of being a successful writer. My Mac dictionary is helping me work through that.
A platform, most simply put, is what we stand on. In that sense, we all have a platform, right? What’s our foundation? What are we depending on? Building on? But the dictionary actually says a platform is not a mere floor, but a “RAISED floor or stage USED by public speakers so that they can be SEEN by their AUDIENCE.”
And there’s the rub: As a pastor and even more fundamentally, a Christ follower, isn’t it wrong to build something that raises myself up to be seen? Because when I promote my book, let’s be honest: I’m also promoting myself. Doesn’t Jesus say, “Do not do your acts of righteousness to be seen by men?”
Yes, he does. But he also says, “Let your light shine so that men may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.” Is that a contradiction? No, it’s a tension. And it can’t be resolved, because it’s designed to keep us on our toes so that we never slip into a self-promoting slumber. The moment I’m comfortable with either fading entirely into the background or blowing my own trumpet, I’m stepping away from the paradox Christ invented to keep me sharp.
Jesus had a platform. “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.” His platform was the cross. But what did Jesus do with his platform? He continually pointed to his Father, eventually dying so we could begin a relationship with him. Christ shows us that it really is important to be seen by our audience. Our visibility overcomes God’s invisibility by revealing him to others. Which should be the point of a platform. I use it to draw people’s attention so that I can point to Jesus once they’re watching and listening. In the most basic sense, a good chunk of your platform is simply your reputation.
This leads to the second definition: A platform is “an opportunity to voice one’s views or initiate action.” A good, godly platform is designed to create opportunities to share what you believe and motivate people to act on it. Opportunities that would not have come about without the platform that made them possible.
This past year I’ve finally found some peace with the idea, though some tension still remains.
As it should.
Pray for me: On November 11th I’m driving to Lethbridge to tape a television interview for The Bridge, one of the Miracle Channel’s programs. No word yet on when that will air. I’ll be discussing Finding Home: A Parable of Kingdom Life and its theological underpinnings. Praise God for platform. I hope I use it to point to the right things.