5 questions about Christian blogging
I was contacted via email last week by a young journalist from a Patrick Henry College student news magazine, and asked these questions about Christian blogging. Here was my reply back to her, in raw unedited form. If any of it gets published, I’ll link to the edited sanitized version here.
Q: What makes a Christian blog different from a secular blog in the material that they cover? Why have a “Christian blog” and not a neutral blog that’s written by a Christian? What are you, as a Christian blogger, hoping to communicate to your audience?
A: Many Christian blogs are different from a secular blog in that the Christian bloggers write about Christian subjects, whether it is devotional thoughts, Christian perspectives on everyday life, theology, or spiritual reflections. Some bloggers choose to have a distinctly Christian blog in order to communicate with a Christian audience, or prefer to be up front with their Christian testimony. However, I think the greater opportunity is to write a quality blog about whatever subject matter one is passionate about, and allow the bloggers own voice and passion to come through. It is this personal voice that I find most valuable in blogging, since it is my hope that blogging will foster more dialogue and understanding among our human diversity. I prefer to be known as a blogger who happens to be Christian, than a Christian blogger.
Q: What was the purpose of having a “Christian Blogosphere Convention,” especially if you could just have an online chat?
A: Bloggers conventions have been around for several years now, covering various subjects and audiences. These conventions provide a live in-person forum for bloggers to talk about the technologies, strategies, explore new opportunities, and to build relationships in a way that an online chat or video conferencing cannot. Face-to-face time adds a whole dimension to converation and relationship-building beyond virtual modes of communication, and it can be valuable for quicker information exchange and for personal encouragement.
Q: I’ve heard that the Christian bloggers are hoping to hold TV Evangelists and other mainstream Christians accountable through their blogs. How and why do they hope to do this?
A: Some Christian bloggers may see blogging as a means of holding people accountable, and that is one of many ways to use the technology. Because blogging is an instant publishing tool, one can very quickly disseminate and fact-check information online in the blogosphere and over the Internet. Granted, an individual can quickly blog falsely or maliciously, but the way the blogosphere works is that other bloggers can dispute misinformation and the wisdom of the crowd will validate good information. In today’s day and age, of growing institutional accountability, corporate transparency, and full disclosure, I think it is natural that accountability will be applied to non-profits and Christian leaders as well. I think it is the Bible that says something about living in the light.
Q: What kind of effect do you think the bloggers have on the rest of Christian culture?
A: I think blogging has a participating role in culture, as it already has as a source of information and a reflection of the vox polloi, voice of the people. It’s already a part of today’s culture; “blog” was the 2004 word of the year in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and blogs are increasingly quoted in mainstream media. Now companies and organizations are starting to see the value of instant publishing and communiciating more frequently. As for shaping Christian subculture, I hope it can bring about more openness and exploration for what it means to be followers of Christ in the 21st century, to contextualize theology for our times, and to demonstrate grace and kindness for the good of the world.
Q: What effect do you you think Christian bloggers could have on the rest of the blogosphere?
A: I think Christian bloggers can better enter the dialogue of our mainstream culture in a plausible and compelling manner. Our society today does not have a very favorable impression of Christians. Polls have described people’s impression of Christians as judgmental, hypocritical, boring, among other negative characteristics. Blogging can be a part of shaping the perceptions of people on people, when one uses blogging to share one’s own doubts, concerns, and personal humanity, rather than only reinforcing one’s beliefs and convictions. Perhaps one day, Christians will be perceived as a gracious, joyful, and generous people.