Saturday, June 26, 2010
Jesus, the Blogosphere, and Me
Ever get in a rut and think you’ve considered all there is to explore on a topic? Or maybe, you’ve read all there is to read on a topic from your theological position and really believe you have the topic nailed. Then you’re a candidate for exploring the blogging world and reading the comments out there. I’ve been reading quite a few blog posts lately and am intrigued by the comments that follow. Commenters reveal where they are coming from theologically and experientially. I’ve been reading comments of many people who are frustrated with the church and where it is going, readers who’ve been hurt by Christian arrogance, and others who are tired of the disconnect between the Word and wake-up-and-work life they know. Blog trawling has provided a natural place to explore the spiritual temperature of people outside of my little world.
The development of the blogosphere has launched us into a creative world which enables us to connect with a wide variety of people from different walks of life and religious backgrounds. We are able to eavesdrop on fascinating conversations about almost any topic and can interject our own perspective with little difficulty. If we have been lacking exposure to the outside world, we have a safe way of discovering what people are really thinking and feeling. Be prepared to be shocked. Our secure little world can still be secure, but we’ll find many people who are floating their vessels on the open sea without being solidly anchored to the familiar beliefs of the traditional church or biblical principles.
Exploring the blogging world has been refreshing to me. As I move around in my ministry responsibilities I rub shoulders mostly with missionaries and church leaders. I don’t often have the opportunity to “overhear” lengthy conversations of unbelievers about church, Jesus, or spiritual life. Neither do I often get to hear believer’s authentic questions or doubts as I do on blog posts and their comments. At present, the blogosphere enables me to become more familiar with present perspectives, struggles, and questions. It is also helping me to look at Scripture differently. I firmly believe Scripture has answers for the crying questions and frustrations, but I need to shake out of my old framework of thinking and allow the answers to fill the current vessels of need.
I believe this is what Jesus did. He didn’t have the advantage of the blogosphere, but he was definitely tuned into his context and knew people’s thinking, questions, and needs. In contrast, the religious leaders were stuck teaching the same things based on centuries of experts who they referenced. Jesus’ teaching was uniquely relevant and people flocked to hear him answering their questions.
Admittedly, getting out among the people should garner some of the same information, but there is something unique about the safety and anonymity of commenting on the blogosphere that enables people to be honest in ways that they may not be with you or me. However, informing myself from the blogosphere enables me to ask questions in personal conversations that I may never have thought of asking. From my regular perusal I can say “I’ve been reading about … What do you think about that, or what would your friends say?”
In summary, I believe that Christians have a unique opportunity to explore the blogosphere to get better acquainted with the world around them and to reshape the nature of their discussions and teaching. Our discoveries can inform our study of the Word in such a way as to answer current questions and address relevant issues. And our own thinking will be challenged and stretched. I pray that your exploration into the blogosphere will provide discoveries relevant to your sphere of ministry.