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 blogger.com, 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.