Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

The Year in Blogging: Lessons

1. To ape some old words, one can either write a blog or read a blog, but one can’t normally be good at both. Personally speaking, I’ve not done as well at the latter as Kris has and I’ve not done as well as I would have liked.
2. I remain grateful for a little lesson I learned from Steve McCoy when reviewing books: Ask good questions and don’t answer them yourself. Blessing all over Steve! And I remain grateful to Bob Smietana for suggesting, some 20 months ago, that I might just be cut out for blogging. Happy New Year Bob!
3. The biggest challenge in blogging is consistency — your readers prefer to know that something will appear regularly.
4. A major challenge for Christian bloggers in 2007: Learning how to converse without resorting to ridicule, labelling, and threats. No one does this well all the time, but (unless you are talking to a friend who knows you well enough to take your strong pushbacks) the most conversational method of responding to something you really take offense at is to ask a reasonable question — and not a sarcastic one and not one designed to lead the person to a point where you can pounce on them. A good question can reduce tension dramatically. It also shows respect to the other person. I’m appalled at the watch blogs — not always at the logic but instead at the acidic tone and delight in damnation.
5. The second biggest challenge is variety — and I’ve struggled with that myself. At one time about four books were squelching any new topics coming to the surface. Kris and my kids remind me when the blog is getting boring and predictable.
6. The third biggest challenge: it’s got to be fun and easy. If you find yourself racking your brain to know what to write about, don’t write anything. Find a rhythm that is keeps your boat on smooth water. My biggest problems come around vacations or big events when I try to get ahead with my Bible reflection and still try to keep up with topics and books. (Like this week.)
7. Kris and I are amazed at times at the number who speak to us about this blog, and wherever we go we meet readers — I can’t tell you the joy this brings both of us.
8. is someting other than I ever expected; it has become a ministry. I wish I could tell you the number of letters we get and the pastoral counselling we are asked at times to provide and the kind notes we are sent (and even a few Christmas presents).
9. I do not get paid for anything on this blog; I do get some free books for review but I make no promises unless I already know I’ll like the book. I’ve thought of advertising — but it seems like a hassle — and I have seriously considered an annual subscription for additional items — like podcasting and longer writings.

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Ted Gossard

posted January 2, 2007 at 6:04 am

Scot, Yes. I’ve learned, as of fairly recently, to be more relaxed in blogging, and get across something that is from my heart and experience or thinking. I’m confident it is a good exercise for me. And hopefully I’ll get back to being a better reader of others’ blogs again, which I think is happening. But it is so hard to put everything together, as you point out here. I could provide alot of variety, but I have too much to do. And besides, the kind of comedic relief I am into, may not fit the bill for alot of people. (I would like to get a digital camera).
Well, I was sharing about myself and own experience in this. But your blog is THE BLOG. Though there are other great blogs I love to go to as well. I kind of take my cues from you. Even in color. (woops, I’m drifting back to myself; I’m out of here)

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Ted Gossard

posted January 2, 2007 at 6:04 am

Oh, and by the way….Thanks for this great blog. We learn so much from you. And from many of the comments from others, as well.

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James Petticrew

posted January 2, 2007 at 6:31 am

Scot I am church planter which is sometimes a lonely experience, I can’t tell you how much your blog has helped keep me informed, challenged and inspired. I think you should launch the extra features, you put a lot of work into this and I think you deserve to be compensated by those of us who gain so much through your thinking.

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Duane Young

posted January 2, 2007 at 7:17 am

#4–I concur regarding asking good questions. Jesus, like any good lawyer, asked great questions and used questions in conversation wisely.
I, too, am deeply grateful and have been greatly blessed by this blog. Thank you for your dedication, hard work and excellence. I look forward to another year of early morning stimulation and reverent pondering. I especially appreciate your constant call to civility and decency.

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Ivy Gauvin

posted January 2, 2007 at 7:25 am

Thank you for sharing these pertinent thoughts. I did a couple of blogs last year, one on the Holy Land and the other for our Synodical Women’s Organization. I haven’t done anything with either in a long time. It’s time to blog again and I may follow your approach. Many thanks for the pointers and encouragement.

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posted January 2, 2007 at 7:52 am

Places I’ve Been « A Place For The God-Hungry

[…] Ben Witherington writes a very interesting post on his friendship with Mike Ford, the son of Gerald Ford.  Mike was a student at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. Larry James has posted some New Year’s resolutions suggestions with each one calling on us to remember the poor. Matt Elliot with a picture of an advertisement for one stop shopping. Doug Murran has an interesting list describing destructive personalities in the church.  Andrew Jones has written a brief but nice piece on John Piper’s new book, When the Darkness Will Not Lift. A very thoughtful piece by Salmon Schroeder on his blog, "How to Be a Christian and Still Go to Church." Scot McKnight writes an outstanding blog that is read by many, many people.  (Be sure to read his piece today as he reflects on blogging.)  Andrew Jones writes a nice piece about  his blog. Ben Overby is doing something interesting with "Daily Trickle."  Very good.  […]

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Jim Martin

posted January 2, 2007 at 8:02 am

These are very helpful reflections. I continue to enjoy your blog and appreciate the work you put into it. Your writing has both encouraged and challenged my thinking. Do I ever value that!
Your blog has also served as a resource to introduce me to authors, pastors, leading thinkers, and books that I at least need to be aware of. I suspect many others could say the same thing about this blog.
Blogging over a period of time has a way of revealing the spirit of the blogger. Perhaps that is what I appreciate about your blog as much as anything else.
Thanks again.

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L.L. Barkat

posted January 2, 2007 at 8:23 am

A blog is an amazing thing, if you’re cut out for it (which you are). I just interviewed someone who quit her dayjob to become a full-time blogger… because it has led to so many business opportunities. No one really knows where their blog will take them!

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posted January 2, 2007 at 8:51 am

As other have said in this post, thank you for your work. It has been a fun and enlightening conversation.
I am also in total with your fourth point on how we treat and speak with one another. Personally I believe this will become a larger issue this year, and it will impact how we are able to present our faith to those who listen from the sidelines.
For 2007, I would like to learn to type better, more better :)

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John Frye

posted January 2, 2007 at 9:35 am

Like many, I have been mentored in blogging by reading Jesus Creed.Org. Your variety, your good humor and your “treat others the way you wish to be treated” teach us all how to blog well. I need to work on consistency and variety. Happy New Year!

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Justin Baeder

posted January 2, 2007 at 9:46 am

Like many others, I have both enjoyed reading your blog and struggled to keep up :).
I’m a bivocational church planter, and I can say one thing I’d be interested in paying for would be some type of course taught by you, similar to Spencer Burke’s ETREK. Just some food for thought.
Happy new year.

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Ellyn W.

posted January 2, 2007 at 9:47 am

Scot, your blog has indeed ministered to me, as have you. May God bless you and your family in this new year!

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Ted Gossard

posted January 2, 2007 at 9:55 am

Third time is definitely not a charm here. But I picked my color because I like it. ha. :)
I have spoken and speak of your blog to many. But this blogging opens up a new world to so many gifted bloggers, that we can all draw much good from.

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posted January 2, 2007 at 10:00 am

The Boars Head Tavern » Blog Archive »

[…] Scott McKnight: The Year in Blogging: Lessons. […]

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Bill Van Loon

posted January 2, 2007 at 10:16 am

Thanks for having such a wonderful blog. Your whole tone sets the pace here. Flame-throwing seems to be minimal here and for that I am grateful. I confess I have have been Zeusian at times (not here) and I am sorry I used a blog to hide behind. Watching and occasionaly posting on Jesus Creed is a blessing.
Peace. Thanks again and keep it up.

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posted January 2, 2007 at 10:32 am

Scot; I too want to add my thank to your insightful questions and remarks on church and culture. Would you do some reflecting on topics like: denominational futures, emergent response to the war in Iraq, the rich/poor gap and what is the future of the seminary in church culture?? Just some fodder?

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Justin Buzzard

posted January 2, 2007 at 11:25 am

Thanks for this. #6 has been very important for me.

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posted January 2, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Hi! I wish I could tell you who referred me here, but it was just in a pile of pages I pulled up from going through my Bloglines. Anyway, thank you for bringing up point #1, it’s something I always feel bad about. I feel confident that God wants me to blog, but it always feels somehow impersonal to not read the blogs of every reader. But how could one really manage that, anyway?
But I never run out of things to blog about. And my blog is just a topical blog, written by a Christian, not specifically a Christian blog.

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posted January 2, 2007 at 12:54 pm

i love the blog and would love the longer writing and podcast bits as a subscription or you could join the wired parish team. i enjoyed hearing you on there last week.

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Mark D. Roberts

posted January 2, 2007 at 2:58 pm

Scot, thanks for this post. I can say “amen” to what you’ve said, though as a Presbyterian, I don’t tend to say “amen.” So I guess you get a subtle head nod or something. Anyway, you’re right on in these observations. I experience many of them myself.
Your blog is fantastic. It’s a huge gift to the body of Christ and to the world. And, frankly, it’s a huge gift to me personally. You have the ability and the time to address issues that I’d love to tackle, but don’t have the ability or the time. I learn a ton from your blog and am appreciative of your biblical expertise and wisdom. Plus, your graciousness and humility as a writer are a model for many, including me.
So, thanks for this ministry. Indeed, it is a ministry. God is doing wondering things through your writing.
Peace to you and Kris. May the Lord richly bless you in this new year.

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Charity Singleton

posted January 2, 2007 at 3:32 pm

I so agree that it’s hard to be a writer of blogs and a reader of blogs. Somehow, if blogging is to become the conversation we all want it to be, we have to do both. And still have time to experience things we can write about.
I learned a lot from your blog this year, including more about blogging.

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posted January 2, 2007 at 4:33 pm

Hi Scot: As usual you are right on the point, and thank you for the points, you see through the haze so well that it is a pleasure to be able to communicate with you and with the members of this forum. Scot even though sometimes folks seem acidic, it might just be that they don’t have enough roughage in their diet? Could be lack of fiber and too much caffeine? Also it’s sometimes cool to see a real live, honest to goodness “I care enough about this to really express meself” sort of dialogue? You have what’s got to be the coolest home on the web going, here is praying that 2007’s gonna be a really superb year! Best to you and all…

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posted January 2, 2007 at 4:35 pm

Thanks for your thoughts. I, too find it a struggle to balance writing with reading, but agree that we must do both. I also struggle to maintain a non-confrontational stance on issues I’m passionate about, but likewise agree with its importance.
Happy New Year to all!

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posted January 2, 2007 at 5:48 pm

Thanks Scot,
As a new blogger I struggle with many of these things and you have been a real help to me in many ways. I hope to be a little better in the new year and look forward to hearing from you because I know that you will be great. You are a blessing brother. Thanks Kris for letting him do this and I hope you liked your bag.
For the Lamb,

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Matt Wiebe

posted January 2, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Scot, I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of those thanking you for your consistently thought-provoking blog. You interact with both academic material and the people on here so well.
I’m also with you on #1, except vice versa. I spend a lot of time reading other people’s blogs, and my own suffers for it.

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My $.02

posted January 2, 2007 at 6:51 pm

It was a good year. Thank you in so many ways from the trenches. I think you have modeled in your blog what emergent IS. All too often we get a load of talk and not enough walk!
Also, we say congrats on your Blogger of the Year Award!

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posted January 2, 2007 at 7:39 pm

Thank you for providing such a fine blog and permitting so much interaction, Scot. You’ve blessed me these past several months. Happy New Year!

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posted January 2, 2007 at 9:09 pm

It’s interesting to read this post, as we were discussing in our staff meeting this morning the significance of blogging in the Christian world. We started our blog 8 months ago just to keep a few family members and close friends updated on our adoption, but it has turned into a significant part of our life as more and more people are reading and interacting with the journey we are on.
8 months ago I didn’t read anyone’s blog. Now I check several every day. Thanks for always having something worthwhile for me to read when I come here.

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posted January 2, 2007 at 11:09 pm

Notes from the Trail » Blogging tips…

[…] Scott McKnight over at JesusCreed has a great entry summarizing what he feels bloggers have learned over the past year. Bookmark to: Filed under: Snippets by Jeff @ 11:09 pm | | Top    […]

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posted January 2, 2007 at 11:15 pm

Oy. I need to work on #3.

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Maurice Broaddus

posted January 2, 2007 at 11:23 pm

i’d have to agree scot. i’m prone to both blog too much and read too many blogs, sadly enough. however, my biggest challenge is definitely the humility to engage in conversations without the “strong pushbacks”. that is definitely its own discipline.

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posted January 3, 2007 at 10:13 am

Thanks for this helpful post. As a new blogger it is very helpful to me.
And thank you for introducing me to Miroslav Volf!

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posted January 3, 2007 at 11:17 am

Scot, I have enjoyed your posts. I am drawn to the blog because of the informal exchange between readers and am glad you have not succumbed to commercializing it…ads, etc.

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Bryan Riley

posted January 3, 2007 at 12:24 pm

This is a great blog, a great ministry, and an enjoyable place to go. I agree wholeheartedly with you on the acidic tone of many, and it is a shame. For such an impersonal forum, it reveals the heart of many. May God be glorified through our words as we post and comment.

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bob smietana

posted January 3, 2007 at 1:49 pm

I guess the editor is always right.

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posted January 3, 2007 at 2:07 pm

You may not get paid for anything on the blog – but how many books have sold or will sell because of it?
But beyond that I echo Mark (#20).

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Thomas E. Ward, Jr.

posted January 3, 2007 at 4:03 pm

Thanks, Scot.

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posted January 4, 2007 at 1:08 pm

#4. With blogging should come responsibility. Slandering people, tearing their very lives apart by posting inaccurate information benefits no one and no doubt God will call people to account for their words.
Blogging for the point of apologetics, commentary, missionary updates etc. is fine, but blogging to cause a stir, stir up the Christian kettle and to attack people is grievous and wrong.
It takes a wise, and well educated person I think to blog well, and a fool to be sensational for sensations sake.
May God forgive those who have damaged lives, caused people to leave movements or their own church based on inaccurate information, and who have posted outright unfounded lies. You know who you are. We won’t see apologies from you when you are wrong, or inaccurate.
When people can easily refute what you print, I wonder why you waste your blogging breath at all.
I have not for the record, spent much time on this blog, but the posted thoughts caught my attention.
Therefore nothing is directed to anyone here.
One last thought, a blog is not a church. It is not a substitute for gathering together with other believers. Don’t make it an idol. And if you are a pastor spending more time on a blog than doing other things (I guess that goes for anyone), I question where your heart is.
Perhaps we were better off before the lowly blog came along. I don’t know. But what I do know is that the enemy of this world sure can cause distractions, in ways we don’t even realize.

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posted January 4, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Scot, thanks for the great blog!
Being a missionary in a “non-English” speaking country, I often have a shortage of reading materials. Consequently, in the past few months, I have started reading a lot of the blogs, including this one, for insights, inspiration, and thought provoking questions. I am very grateful to all of you who post your thoughts and ideas out here for people like me to read.
I have been inspired to try my hand at some blogging myself. I know I’m good at reading blogs, but I have no idea how I’ll do when it comes to writing…

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posted January 5, 2007 at 11:44 pm

Thanks for the encouraging post and helpful grid for what makes for a good blog! Blogdom is richer for your involvement!

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