Here are a few snippets from a interesting exchange i’ve had with Stuart over the last couple of days. Any thoughts? Specifically, do you think Christian blogging can advance the kingdom? If so how?
WARNING: This is one of those self-indulgent blog posts on Christian blogging that’s a little random.
Anita Mathias is one of those lovely, reflective, spiritual bloggers, that I love to read, as you get a real shot in the arm of the stuff that’s really important.
I do honestly wish that I were a little more spiritual full stop in my blogging. I know full well that I’m rough around the edges and a little aggressive combative forthright at times. But I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not. I’ve often not got my spiritual head on and this spills over into my blogging. Yes I am Worzel Gummidge.
Anyway – as usual – Anita has a few blog posts that have given me pause for thought.
The first was entitled: One Way To Get A Lot Done When You Are Very Busy and cited Martin Luther as saying that the busier he was, the more time he spent in prayer. I noted that I wish I were like that, to which Anita responded:
Me too. I am sure it works though. So much of what we do is unnecessary. Perhaps with practice, the unconscious tunes in to the mind of God, and we stumble upon clever ways to do things, things we can eliminate, and the Gordian knots which can be slashed rather than unravelled.
My confession was:
The truth is that in the parable in 1 Corinthians it says:
If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
At times (most of the time) I feel that I build on wood, hay or straw.
It’s not nice but that’s how I feel.
I wonder if any other Christians ever feel this way? Thinking specifically about blogging, I wonder if it furthers the cause of the Kingdom in any way. Truthfully, I don’t think it does, but I still feel compelled to blog. It was this sort of thinking that made me change my bio from a “Christian blog” to a “Christian that happens to blog”.
Today Anita blogged: Christian Blogging: Ministering Without Preaching and I had to laugh at point number 3:
The things which are glaringly obvious to everyone else, but which we are oblivious to. Bloggers, despite themselves, make these dreadful revelations about themselves—unwittingly revealing their emotional contours, their prejudices, their fears, their secret patches of pride, shame and sensitivity. Many personal blogs can be decoded by an alert reader. Anyone who chronicles the ongoing story of their personal or spiritual lives on the web makes these unconscious revelations, and must make peace with this.
I recently blogged that psychiatrists can determine our personality traits – or more accurately flaws – based on our social media interactions. I find that you often get a feel for a blogger that you follow; it’s like you get to know them to a certain extent.
I try to be honest here, but obviously there are some things I don’t divulge; although, having said that, I can’t think of anything I’ve not revealed one way or the other. Anyway, it makes me wonder how accurate the impression I give of myself really is. And how important is this for Christian blogging?
Doesn’t going honest just put people off Jesus? I mean, revealing that we are just as weak, biased and frail as anyone else, isn’t conducive to the Gospel is it?
The point of revealing that “we are just as weak, biased and frail as anyone else,” is partly that readers sense it anyway. If we were to make out a character sketch of the bloggers we read regularly, we wouldn’t be far wrong, though, as in the paragraph you’ve quoted, we may observe blind spots the writer is oblivious to.
What’s encouraging–and part of the reason to embark on Christian and spiritual blogging in the first place–is to watch someone else’s Pilgrim’s Progress in action. The slough of despondency, Doubting Castle, Giant Despair, the precious lessons of the Valley of Humiliation. We identify with Christian precisely because he is “weak, biased and frail.” When he gets himself out of the Slough of Despondency, we are encouraged to believe that we can do likewise. When he escapes from Vanity Fair (or the blogger escapes from the temptation of our contemporary Vanity Fair) we too are motivated to live intentionally.
Does blogging serve the cause of the Kingdom? We are part of the body of Christ. And if our gift is to write, we try to write honestly, and as well as we can in the time given us, and then leave the results in God’s hands. Insofar, as we are better for the effort to think and write honestly about things which are really important, it advances the kingdom by at least one little starfish.
Just as listening to a good preacher every Sunday subtly changes one’s thinking—and hopefully one’s living—a blogger one reads every day also subtly changes one’s thinking. IF in the course of her journey, she finds herself thinking a little bit more like Jesus might–and thus subtly, and unconsciously, her readers’ thinking changes too–she is perhaps doing her mite to advance the Kingdom.
My blog is read by non-Christians as well, simply because I grew up and went to school in India, so have many Hindu, Muslim and Sikh friends. I try to refrain from blogging about Church traumas, as I don’t want to make the church a laughing stock to my readers.
But to reveal myself as someone who struggles to live a loving, disciplined, worthwhile life as much as anyone else, but who gradually (hopefully) finds a way, cannot undermine the Gospel. In fact, the Gospel is only good news for the weak and messed up who so need truth, beauty, and God’s incomprehensible love.
What do you think?