Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

My Year in Blogging

Last April, Bob Smietana, a fine editor for Covenant Companion and someone with exceptional instincts for what is going on in the American church, and I were having coffee at Tre Kronor (a local, Swedish restaurant) when he simply suggested that I should try blogging. “I think you’d like it, Scot.” To which I said, “Bob, I know nothing about it.” To which he said, “Go to, and in five minutes you’ll have a blog running.” So I did — thanks Bob, it’s been more than fun. Now, a few reflections on blogging. [Added note: this blog, Technorati informs me, now has 400 blogs linking to it. Cool.]
First, most of us blog because of others; I blog because of Bob Smietana.
Second, three bloggers have given more tips and help than I can possibly say, though often it was nothing more than reading their blogs, latching on to their ideas, or simply asking them questions via e-mail: Steve McCoy, Brother Maynard, and Andrew Jones. I could mention others, but these three have been especially helpful. It amazes me what TSK knows about this technology stuff, and I find most of the time that he is way ahead of me. But, keep it up because sometimes I figure out what you are saying.
Third, my blog builder, Dave Anderson, constructed my site and has answered more than his fair share of questions. He figured out the parchment look, the color scheme, and you can contact him at the bottom of this page.
Fourth, County Blog is a fascinating world of instantaneous response and conversation and criticism and griping and encouragement — all rolled into one.
Fifth, blogging came together for me when Andrew Jones posted a response to the forthcoming book by D.A. Carson, which book I was about to receive as an advance, and it was working through that book on the blog that pressed home to me what blogging can do.
Sixth, I still am bewildered at the way some bloggers talk to one another — and you can get a good sample of this if you look at Tony Jones’ site and see the sort of meanspiritedness in the responses to his posts. This I simply can’t accept as a form of Christian discourse. The standard rule obtains: don’t say to others what you don’t want them to say to you, or don’t write things you wouldn’t say if you were facing the person yourself. If you do, you should be ashamed of your calling to walk in the way of Jesus. Disagreement and nastiness are not the same thing. Conversation and scoring points with cheap shots are neither winsome nor wholesome.
Seventh, all “watch blogs” ought to be banned if uncivil: they are feeding on others with nothing positive to contribute or say. By “watch blog” I mean those sites designed to do nothing but gripe about the left-leanings of others. People who worry all the time about how others lean are not nearly as straight up and down as they think. My plea: enter into the conversation as a conversational partner, and please avoid acting like theological cops who are protecting the Church from devious writers out to deflower the Church and its theology.
It is far wiser to come alongside and ask questions; it is far simpler and self-justifying to point fingers at others in order to bolster’s pride in walking the narrow path. And don’t expect other bloggers to answer your questions just because you think your question is important. I speak from experience: sometimes I avoid a question because I think it comes from someone who is out to prove someone (me or others on my blog) wrong rather than to converse about a subject. Sometimes I don’t response because I don’t have time; sometimes for other reasons. Make your comment, watch the conversation, avoid demanding a response.
Finally, thanks to the many faithful readers of this blog. It has been good to get “to know you” — if only through comments and writing. I look forward to a New Year in Blogdom.

Comments read comments(27)
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posted December 29, 2005 at 9:11 am

Thank you Scot, blogging seems effortless on your end, your a blogging machine!!
I so appreciate your time and thoughtfulness.

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Tony Jones

posted December 29, 2005 at 9:24 am

Scot, we’re all glad you’re here!!! (Well, all except the ‘watch blogs’ — actually, they’re probably happy you’re here, too!)

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Scot McKnight

posted December 29, 2005 at 9:31 am

It gives them one more person to gripe about.

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posted December 29, 2005 at 9:38 am

Excellent points, those. I, too, cringe at the way ‘Christians’ dialogue with one another. On my own sites (I run a discussion forum, as well), I keep a pretty firm hand on the discussion — you can say anything you want, so long as you keep it civil and it helps, rather than hinders, discussion. So far, I haven’t actually had to moderate anything, and it’s been a genuine pleasure to have good, well-thought discussions. I love blogging, partly because of this. I will sometimes avoid questions, as well, if I find that responding will do nothing to further the dialogue, if the only reason the question was asked was so that someone could pick a fight. Sometimes, it’s just better to keep silent.

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Bob Robinson

posted December 29, 2005 at 9:47 am

Back in April of 2005, I was readying myself to respond to the Carson book. I didn’t really want to, but as guy with a blog that was focused on ermerging church ideas and who had actually studied under Carson, I felt it my duty.
When TSK first started posting about the book, I commented on his blog (on April 15, 2005), “Andrew, I appreciate your not wanting to “argue [Carson’s] points or [his] criticism. [You] have done so briefly, half-heartedly, as have many others.” I know that this is not the point of this particular blog. But somebody has to argue Carson’s points (and NOT half-heartedly)…It is the language that Carson understands -— a point-by-point refutation of his arguments. Who will do this?
It was a sincere request and, yes, a prayer.
My prayer was answered in literally one day!! Scot started his series on Carson’s book on the 16th.
Thanks for being used by God in that way. And thanks for your quickly becoming one of the best bloggers on the ‘net!
I’m honored to have gotten to know you again after all these years.

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Scott M. Collins

posted December 29, 2005 at 10:11 am

I’ve been hooked since last summer – keep up the great work!!

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John Frye

posted December 29, 2005 at 10:21 am

You are a new kind of scholar and a new kind of blogger. Actually, a kind blogger. I would say you are a mentor-blogger, helping the rest of us Philistines learn how to blog civilly and not hack each other up. Thanks for the thoughtful, and at times very thought-stretching concepts. Blog on!

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Dave Anderson

posted December 29, 2005 at 10:40 am

Thanks Scot for the shout out! From Scot’s initial “I think I’d like to have my own Blog on my own site” to “My Year in Blogging” has been a fun ride for me too. Scot, You’ve come a long way baby.
Hopefully for many of you, the experience has been pleasant. For those who want a glimpse of some of the behind-the-scenes hurdles Scot and I have been through together:
– equipment failures
– inoportune server reboots
– non-stop spam
– anti-spam agent that thinks Scot’s replies are spam
– various browsers that don’t play nice
– embedded sites that go down, taking JesusCreed with them
On the up-side, here are some of the things planned for 2006:
– Upgrade to the newest version of WordPress 2.0
– Upgrade to a new Dell PowerEdge web server
– More bandwidth to keep things humming along
– perhaps refreshing the look of the site
Please don’t hesitate to contact myself of Scot with additional functionality that you think might be useful. We can’t promise anything, but will at least look into it.
Many Blessings to all in 2006!

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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted December 29, 2005 at 10:41 am

Your blog has been a source of mentoring and even seminary for me. I cannot express how much I appreciate your commitment to this medium. You are the first blog I read every day.

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Andrew Careaga

posted December 29, 2005 at 11:07 am

Scot – Very thoughtful and well put. I appreciate your thoughts and your writings.
Grace and peace, and well-wishes for a wonderful new year.

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Brendon Gibson

posted December 29, 2005 at 11:07 am

I too would like to express my appreciation to you for your blogging (and writing). Though I have not posted a comment since AGES ago, I have read your blog daily, and echo Jamie’s comments. Your blog (and books) have been a rich source of mentoring and spiritual formation. I have quoted JC and EG in many contexts and conversations recently. I don’t know where you find the time and energy to blog so consistently and coherently, but please keep up the good work.
Blessings on you and your family for 2006.

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Derek Dominguez

posted December 29, 2005 at 11:30 am

I too would like to say thank you for your willingness to engage in this discipline of writing daily for our encouragement. I first came into contact with your writings while in seminary and then was excited to see you had entered the blogosphere. Your content, tone, and the approach you take to discussing theology is exemplary. I pray God blesses you and your family this year and please keep up what you’re doing.
When you have the time I’d be interested if you haven’t already done so, to hear about how and when you work blogging into your daily schedule. Do you set aside a particular amount of time a day for it like you would for study etc? Just curious….

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Scot McKnight

posted December 29, 2005 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for this, and all the other encouraging words.
When an idea comes to me for blogging, I jot it down on a sheet of paper and keep those sheets near my computer. Blogging for about a half a year has given me an idea of what can be blogged about and what can’t. I pay attention as much as possible to what is going on, and so sometimes a blog is a response. I also blog lots on what I’m thinking about, what I’m reading, and that sort of thing. And I like to test my ideas through this blog to see how they “float.” A few times, as is the case with the series on women at the time of Jesus, I bring out lectures I’ve given. I hope to do that on homosexuality, but I fear a firestorm of comments that will lead us in all directions at once.
When do I blog? On days I’m home studying and writing, at odd breaks in the day. On days I teach, that evening. Most of my posts are written at night and I get up and just post them at that time (I use WordPress and now have 7 or 8 posts lined up for next week when we are in Mexico.)
Blogging works for me mostly because it is how my mind works — an idea here or there that seems to me worth come conversation.

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Scot McKnight

posted December 29, 2005 at 12:14 pm

And one more thing: I clearly use the blog to spread what I think is important, including the books I’ve written. I don’t see that as huckstering so much as simple enthusiasm for the ideas and the desire to see the ideas spread some.

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posted December 29, 2005 at 12:27 pm

Scot, thanks for sharing the life of Jesus. Your contribution has enriched me!

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posted December 29, 2005 at 1:32 pm

Amen Scot – thanks for sharing with us

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Ted Gossard

posted December 29, 2005 at 2:32 pm

Scot, I want to add my Amen to this chorus. It has been great getting to know you on this blog and to meet you. I resonate with what you do and how you do it. It is a great ongoing education for me, for us. I feel privileged just to be able to read this blog. Also the input has often been helpful to me in the comments from other bloggers. Plus your interaction with them. And I think I’ve grown in my interaction with bloggers. Thanks so much brother. Keep it coming.
Dave Anderson, Thanks for all your good work with Scot. This is a great blog layout, etc.

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Sivin Kit

posted December 29, 2005 at 4:33 pm

great stuff .. I’m glad you started blogging … so we could start interacting and more than that build a genuine friendship across the globe!

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Dana Ames

posted December 29, 2005 at 4:51 pm

Thanks, echoing all of the above. Blessings upon you & family.

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bob smietana

posted December 29, 2005 at 6:31 pm

Sometimes I feel a bit like Dr. Frankenstein (in a positive way) when I see how much you’ve done with the blog–“It’s Alive, It’s Alive.” Glad I played a small part in its creation.

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Scot McKnight

posted December 29, 2005 at 7:51 pm

This has all been a bit of a surprise — I just thought I’d share my thoughts and never expected all this nice stuff. Well, from Kris and me to you: you’ve become part of our family, somehow, because we think we know many of you on a first name basis and apart from a few of you, we’ve not met. SomeDay. Thanks.

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Derek Dominguez

posted December 29, 2005 at 9:48 pm

Well maybe we can get a chance to see each other in person if you’re still planning on being at the pastor’s convention next month in San Diego. I think I might be going. Still need to finalize it.

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posted December 30, 2005 at 2:33 am

Scot –
I too want to add that I appreciate your blog so much. You are providing something here that is very unique – your calling as a writer and an educator are so evident, and you are very generous in how you write.
I follow a lot of different blogs for a variety of reasons – but I come here because I learn and I am stretched like nowhere else. The opportunity to read this kind of information on a daily basis would not be available to me in any other way in my life – and I truly appreciate what you do! Thank you!!

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Georges Boujakly

posted December 30, 2005 at 10:23 am

Thanks Scot,
You are the only blog I visit almost daily. Sometimes, not often at all, I visit the links you provide. I visited because I read JC and told a friend about it, bought the book and then told me about your blog. I am not Internet-savvy. Proves your point that “most of us blog because of others.”
Bob, does this mean that Scot will one day come to “loathe” this creationg of his and chase it all over the world to kill it a la Dr. Frankenstein?
If I visit a blog and engage in the conversation, am I also a blogger?
A Ouick Poll suggestion: Which of your posts or series of posts have visitors found most helpfuly informative, formative, entertaining, inspiring, challenging, and would like more of, etc…
I think I am saying thank you for informing, formning, entertaining, ispirting, and challenging me. I continue to believe in the sovereignty of the right book at the right time and the right blog,…
Que Dios le bendiga a usted y a su familia, y a todas las personas que visitan su blog. Vaya con Dios a Mexico! Amen.

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posted December 31, 2005 at 12:48 am

here, here,

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posted January 6, 2006 at 2:19 pm

It’s as though a child was born. Now, can you imagine life without blogs or blogging?

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Arvid Brommers

posted April 30, 2006 at 9:38 pm

Hi Scot:
It was great to hear you speak at Montecito Covenant, and to share supper with you and Chris.
Regarding missions: Alice and I have been on several mission trips (Colombia with the Westlinds and Sanders), Mexico quiet a few times, Lithuania, Kenya, etc.). Missions revitalizes us and recharges our batteries. Several individuals and families from MCC have participated in these mission trips, and they agree that it stimulates the “endorfins” in our Christian bodies… Your words inspired us again to continue going on missions. Alice and I also have committed to speaking the first and second greatest commandments as we go to bed and rise in the morning. We hope you will come again to Santa Barbara!!
In Love,

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