Well, since TV shows do it, I thought I could too. This marks the 100th episode, I mean post since I’ve been blogging here at Parchment and Pen since January 2009. So it makes sense that I’d mark it with some thoughts on blogging. A few may remember that I came on the scene following Michael’s writings and dropping comments here and there. I had no idea that just over a year later, I’d actually be asked to be a regular contributor. That was almost 3 1/2 years ago and it’s been quite a journey since then.
At the risk of sounding like a cheesy acceptance speech, I really am thankful for the support and words of affirmation that so many of you have given me. Seriously, especially for a chick blogging with Michael and Tim, not to mention the likes of Dan Wallace, Sam Storms, Rob Bowman, Paul Copan and now Mike Licona, the kudos mean much. So mucho mucho gracias to anyone willing to listen to me. I’m also grateful for the challenges that the more, um fastidious readers have bought. It can only sharpen me and we all need to be challenged, but in a good way
I like to think about God, His character and program for the ages. I like to challenge deeply held culturally ingrained presuppositions that are inconsistent with authentic historic witness of Christian confession. I like to ponder the parameters of legitimate diversity without losing Christian unity. I want to encourage others to think about these things to optimize the worship of the triune God. I’m not opposed to stepping outside of the box and looking in to see if what is in the box, should be. That’s risky and disturbs the comfortable. But it is never my intention to be unintentionally provocative for the sake of controversy. That may draw crowds on other blogs but may possibly distract from the attention I hope to direct towards the Lord.
I try to be transparent because people hide amongst the incessant demand for perfection, both of themselves and of others. We don’t want to admit our short comings, slip ups, inadequacies, and general humanness lest we be found to not measure up. The truth is that we don’t measure up and that is why we need a Savior. So to get people out of the shame box (not penalty because there is no condemnation to those who belong to Christ), I’ll take the risk of opening up my life along with my mars and missteps. The purpose is not to be a sap on a blog to draw pity but to be real so others know they are not alone. My goal is to point others to Christ, to understand that he alone has absorbed our shame and we can exult in his resurrection until He comes back and sets everything right.
I like the world of blogging but there are certain things that come with the territory. Regardless of the good, bad or ugly of blogging, I believe that it will become increasingly relied upon as a venue of communication.
What I think is good…
Spurring of Thought: The blogosphere offers easy access to some very good thinkers and researchers. We can learn so much with the amount of scholarship that is available. We can also be exposed to a diversity of thought that can sharpen our thinking and expose us to perspectives we may not have heard of or studied. I’d like to believe this will spawn critical thinking. Well, I’m optimistic about that anyway.
Diversity of Resources: Well studied and research oriented bloggers will point to articles, footnotes, books. I have discovered so many resources and books that I may have not even thought of, just by reading some good blogs. We would do well to remember that we get to glean from the fruit of much labor and should be grateful.
People: Say what you want about the perils of electronic medium to engage in conversation, but the truth is that when you dialogue, you are a person who is dealing with another real person. Blogging and dialoguing have connected me to many wonderful people and tons of good conversation. I think it does help to remember that they are real people whose writing you read and whose comments appear. Graciousness is in order.
And not so good…
Shallow or Biased Assessments: It is common knowledge that blogging has opened up a world of opportunity for anyone who thinks their thoughts are worth sharing (oh and I guess that would mean also). But writings should be a product of significant thought and investigation. The blogosphere is peppered with unexamined ideas and even demands that certain concepts must be believed to maintain a legitimate Christian witness. A lot of discernment and examination is needed.
Irresponsible Blogging: The blogoshere has given a ready platform to whoever want to write and a publicly exalted platform for well respected and widely believed legitimate sources. But I will be honest, I am grieved when such venues are turned into lynching parties for those who are found unacceptable in the name of truth and defense of the faith. Sometimes the cases are legitimate but sometimes it is due to an unwillingness to set-aside tradition or denominational perspectives. Language is used to insinuate departure. This typically promotes fear in faithful followers who then feel the need to align with the lynching lest they be considered unacceptable too. It is worse, when combined with shallow and/or biased assessments. Due diligence is in order.
Proliferation of Misunderstanding: The world of social media has enables a proliferation of shallow or biased assessments and irresponsible blogging. It does not take long for a so-called exposure, chastisement or critique to go viral and people take sides. I shudder to think of the fracturing that has occurred just due to the velocity of information dissemination, especially where misunderstandings have occurred. This can have the impact of forming unwarranted opposition.
Sense of Entitlement: One thing I think gets missed in blogging since it is accessible to the public, is that the space of the blog belongs to the blogger. So I think this analogy is in order. Imagine that blogging is like having a public open house. The host (blogger) opens his or her home to have others hear their thoughts. In this scenario, you would expect that there would be a mutual hospitality on the part of the host and the guests.
A sense of entitlement happens whenever the host or the guest impinge upon the accommodation of the other. What does this look like for blogging? Bloggers who invite guests in only to berate them or condescend to them. Bloggers should be gracious hosts. On the flip side, commenters can take the role of usurpers or rude guests. Can you imagine if you invited someone in to your home, then have them come in and insult you, make demands upon how you have arranged your house and insist that you change it until they are satisfied? Well, commenters can hold the writer hostage with demands. I have seen this far too many times. If there is no agreement, we have to learn to let it go and move on. Life is short and time is precious.
But blogging is and can be a wonderful thing. So that’s more than I probably needed to say but thanks for listening. I’ll see you next blog.