April 5 marks my third year of blogging, so I want to reflect on what has happened because of this blog. Well, lots … and nothing like we expected.
I began blogging because a friend, an editor (Bob Smietana), over coffee, said, “Scot, you ought to blog. I think you’d like it.” I didn’t even know what a blog was, but evidently I would like it. Indeed. For three years we’ve been posting away nearly every day.
The first thing I learned about blogging: County Blogdom is a radical democracy. One needs no credentials, no educational marks, no invitations … just a computer, a post, and a comment box. Anyone can say anything — well, within limits on this blog.
We had no idea that Jesus Creed blog would become the Jesus Creed Blog Community, but it has. In fact, it has become for Kris and me a sacred blog community … we treat this blog like communication with friends, and we are protective of it. We have our bias, but we do work hard to keep this space civil and we also think many of us have learned about civility from the way our conversations have developed.
Perhaps our most satisfying dimension has been the development of this blog into a form of pastoral ministry. Some letters end up on this blog for others to discuss and give input. And then we get plenty of other private e-mails from hurting folk and we try to help as best we can. I am honored by these confidences and we have grown from it all.
Do you know the number of books we have talked about, the range of discussions, the interesting connections each of us have made from one comment to another to another blog and on and on? It’s become a web of friendships and connections.
One surprise for me is how closely so many of you read this blog. I can’t tell you the number of folks who, in personal conversation, will say something about us or another person who writes in on this blog. We have developed “virtual” awareness of one another.
And we’ve met so many of you, and every time it draws smiles from us. At churches and conferences we’ve met hundreds of readers of this blog and the encouragement just makes it all that much more worthwhile.
I’m asked all the time if it is “hard” or “how we do it” and the simple answer is “no” and “it’s easy.” In other words, I don’t sit around at night wondering what I will write about for the next morning. Books form the basis for much of our conversations — and I find it makes it less personally defensive and more of a classroom.
It takes some a little while to get used to the fact that I don’t answer each person’s question. The Jesus Creed blog is “ours” and not “mine.” Put differently, every question is a public question unless I think I’m the one who ought to answer the question. So, if you ask a question and no one answers it … tap your coffee cup on the table again and someone will answer it. Believe me, we’ve got plenty of readers out there.
Remember this, most of us envision this blog as a big table with bundles of folks sitting here drinking coffee — and the emergents drinking beer and the Episcopals sipping wine and the Southern Baptists (now) drinking cokes and the folks from San Diego drinking from water bottles — and we are talking together about something. Somedays we do real well; other days one or two of us get a bit steamed and raises her or his voice a tad, and as a virtual community we have learned that it is OK — as long as it is not a habit.
So, from Kris and me to you: you’re the best, we’re proud of this little table in the corner of the big internet, and let’s do it another year!