Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Wonder of the Blogosphere

Working from home today, I took a moment to surf over to SBC Outpost an congratulate Marty Duren on surviving (barely) an entire year in the blogosphere. Later this afternoon, I realized that my own weblog is exactly one year old today!

Much has been said over the past year about the advantages and liabilities of blogging. Many have joked that until last December, most Southern Baptist leaders didn't even know what a blog was. I must admit myself that until late 2004, I was only faintly aware of those underground currents of information which rapidly release information, and promote discussion, fellowship, and even evangelism. Now, exactly 365 days to the date of my first online post, I'd like to think I'm a bit more informed, both about blogs, and because of blogs.

Information regarding recent denominational contentions were publicized through the blogosphere in a way no major news source could have ever released such information. In light of this, many who were caught in the middle of such contention lamented the very existence of such a technology. Some, still speaking from ignorance, equated blogs with "internet pornography." Others saw the blogosphere as merely a more rapid way of spreading gossip among the body of Christ at large.

While such concerns are legitimate, the issue that should drive them should not be the technology that is admittedly used sometimes to forward inaccurate and even slanderous information. What should drive concerns about online gossip is the same issue that drives concern about every other kind of gossip; human depravity.

Ed Stetzer has spoken eloquently to the tendency to confuse form with meaning. Meaning is what matters, while form is simply the vehicle used to transport meaning. Stetzer of course uses these concepts to speak of Christian worship, evangelism and church planting. But such concepts can just as easily be applied to recent discussions about blogging. Blogging in and of itself is amoral, neither good or bad. Throw human depravity into the mix and you get gossip, slander, misinformation and false accusations released at beyond-lightning speed all over the world. Still, this isn't any worse than the juicy stories disguised as "prayer requests" at your average Baptist church.

On the other hand, inject God-given human insight and creativity into this form of communication and what you end up with is an awesome tool of evangelistic and ecclesiastical collaboration! Given the reality of globalization, there has never been a more immediate need for followers of Christ to engage cyberspace than now!

Like it or not, the blogosphere is now in full swing and gaining speed. Sure, some will (and in fact, already have) use this tool for evil. But many will (and in fact, should) use it for the building of the Body, the announcing of the Kingdom, and the pursuit of God's glory.

My hope is that as a result of my own weblog, I will grow at least at the same rate this coming year that I have in the past year. Whether it was from thinking through exactly how to communicate what I want to say so as to minimize misunderstanding, or from addressing questions poised to me publicly, challenging my positions and opinions and forcing me back to the Word of God, I know the blogosphere has been a powerful tool of God for my own growth. My prayer is that you have grown too, and that I will continue to use this powerful form of communication to speak on meanings that really matter!

Oh, and congratulations again Marty! (see www.sbcoutpost.com)

2 comments:

adam said...

happy blogday, bro! i celebrated my own blogday last sunday.

mo said...

Congrats on one year Joel!

I've found it really cool to watch how christian blogs have evolved over the past two or three years. It seems like we are moving into a more mature phase where a lot of good can be done. The biggest problem I see is that there is no real way to hold others accountable to the bad that they can do.