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.
My name is Marc McAlpine, and I am a graduate student (Not young, like the man listed in the section above – I’m 51)in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. I am reserching a paper for my Cultural Apologetics course on the subject of “God Blogging.” I am sending this email to all attenders of the God Blog Conference, seeking information on why you have each chosen to “God Blog.” I have developed a list of questions that can be found at whygodblog.typepad.com. I would greatly appreciate it if you could respond to any of the questions listed on my blog. Feel free to add any information you think might be helpful. Please either post your responses on my blog, or email them to me at [email protected] . Thanks for your help.
hey dj… great answers…
i think it’s been wonderful to not only write about my journey with God, but to read about others, it encourages and challenges me, and i’ve grown because of it all….
These are great questions and your answers are truly excellent. I have posted the questions at my blog and I am looking forward to some reply comments from my Christian blog friends.
I have enjoyed reading several of your posts. You do a great job here and represent us ‘Christian bloggers’ in a wonderful way!
Because our culture is always trying to teach our conscience from their own derived authorities without teaching the authority from which it is derived this necessarily undermines God’s authority then misdirects our conscience. That’s why we blog. We blog about the Family Medicine from a Biblical Worldview. We want to be able to identify the truth, stand on the scripture, reason from scripture and defend the scriptpure. Because our axiom is the scriptures.
Thanks for posting such good questions.
Pete & Maribel Hernandez
Another good influence of Christian bloggers on the ‘sphere is (or should be) this: demonstration of how to conduct dialogue or debate.
The tone of discussion on the atheist blogs tends to be, well, not very pleasant. Lots of insults, name-calling, and so on. If you’ve seen a good exception to this generality, I’d be interested to hear about it. I’m eager to dialogue with those who don’t agree, but I’m not eager to face unproductive invective.
Christian blogs in general have been more civil and more to the point in their discussions. That’s my observation, at least.
“I prefer to be known as a blogger who happens to be Christian, than a Christian blogger.”
I couldn’t agree more with this statement.
I want to make sure my readers know I’m a Christian unashamedly. But I also want them to know that, as a Christian, I can have just as much fun but without the harsh language and subject matter prevalent on many secular blogs today.
You’ve been blogged – well your questions have.
Enjoy the answers (click on my name now!-)