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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Does The Blogosphere Provide An Acceptable Medium For A Viable Apologetic?

This past week I had two meaningful conversations which two close friends who are also bloggers. They expressed (unbeknownst) to me their sense of jadedness over the blogosphere. As a result of our conversations, I have been led to rethink about the efficaciousness of the blogosphere for a viable apologetic. Of most of the blogs I read, the predominant genre is apologetical (although there are some which are variant - i.e. expositional, satirical, etc.). However, the inevitability of conflicting opinions leads to argumentation and "one-upmanship" which quick deters people from engaging in the truth at hand. Others have come to the conclusion that blogs provide nothing but a public rant session for a person to vent their feelings. I have experienced my own personal share of hardships and controversy over the past year, with a couple of occasions of being one click away from shutting the whole thing down. Because of the encouragement and affirmation of some of the kindred folk, I have been persuaded to continue. But I have come to the new year with two weeks to think through this whole idea. From what Blogger tells me, this is my 355th post since I started blogging on March 12, 2005. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. What I do know is that the blogosphere has connected me into a community which is acutely interested in some crucial matters. I also know that I have received somewhat of an education from learning from my brothers and sisters in Christ having benefited from the fruit of their labors and study. Others have encouraged me or brought that much-needed belly laugh through their wit, humor, satire, or parody. So I can say that I am grateful for what the blogosphere has afforded to me. Yet here are some of my concerns. As one conversation went, "What if an unbeliever came upon your blog and all he ever saw was Christians arguing and bickering? How would that affect his interest in becoming a Christian?" Also, I realize that there are other Christians who are not familiar with the terminology, technical terms, theological positions, and philosophical nuances expressed in much of what is said. (Sometimes I wonder if bloggers want to sound smarter than what they really are). I fear that many young Christians who are looking for real, tangible, meaty truths that would aid in their spiritual growth can be hard to find. Also, I believe that a real defense and explanation of the Christian faith for the purpose of communicating truth to unbelievers of Christianity can be overshadowed by theological ping-pong matches with each blogger searching for that "Ace" post to smoke their opponent. To make the matter more troubling for me is how much egocentricity there is on the blogosphere, of which I am most guilty of. For instance, there are bloggers who cling to their stat page as though it is the indicator of spiritual fruit. Others are looking for that next link or upgrade on the TTBL Ecosystem to bolster their credibility and that coveted place on some else's blogroll. So much of what is said and done is for the promotion of oneself and one's blog that it is hard not to question their motive or rationale in what they are doing/saying. I also have realized how hard it is to have friends who disagree with you. Outside the blogosphere, I am most glad that the majority of my close friends are NOT like me. They challenge the way I think, what I believe and why, and how I live my life. On the blogosphere, it seems that if you disagree or challenge someone, the gloves come off and Apollo is putting the mouthpiece in as he says, "Ding. Ding." Finally, I have been thinking about who our audience is and who we are trying to reach. For instance, are we trying to win an argument or edify a brother for whom Christ died? Are we effectively, winsomely, and genuinely trying to compel unbelievers to flee to Jesus Christ? Have we made it our goal to build up the Church or have we backtracked into a shadow purpose of something else? There are many thoughts I am having about the future of the blogosphere and my part in it. I don't know if what I have produced thus far is the direction I want to continue to go. I don't know if I need to blog as much as I have either. My devotion to Christ and His call on my life can not be calculated to the amount of hours I spend blogging. I understand that one can never know who and how much one can impact the world because the world is only one click away, and I hope that there has been something profitable and readworthy here. I want to thank all of you who have made your way to P&P. Thank you for your comments, your criticism, your comfort in loss, and your contemplative analysis. In this next year, I hope and pray that whatever P&P becomes, the Lord will be pleased and you will be edified and encouraged to become more like Christ Jesus. I would love to hear how you feel about these matters. Do you believe the blogosphere is an acceptable medium for a viable apologetic? Is the problem more with the blogger than with the blogoshere? Has the Christian blogosphere been a virtue or vice? A verse I would like to leave you with is 2 Timothy 2:24-26 :: "The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will." May the Lord find in us the heart of such a servant.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jim Shaver said...

The Blogosphere at least in SBC Circles IMO is rapidly becoming the insurgency of the disenchanted, the disenfranchised, and the daring who will stand up and say publicly "the SBC is naked." Wade Burleson is a great example of that latter group.

In fact the Blogosphere may be the medium that can effectively rally the SBC constituency and rein in extremists who would have it all their way.

I would encourage you to continue. I don't consider what I've read so far to be a waste of my time.

1/04/2006 01:20:00 PM

 
Blogger The Bridges said...

I am new to blogging and theology so I think what I find in blogging and reading blogs is a research, learning, testing against scripture model. I know that scripture is where I turn for the answer yet I get morsels here and there to nibble on then I compare and learn. This is my way of seeing a persons opnion of scripture or doctrine and then going back to translations, word studies, the text, etc... to see how the Holy Spirit works in me.

1/04/2006 02:45:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Blogs and consider them a viable learning tool. Actually I've learned quite a bit about some issues like the Emerging Church. I am recovering from spiritual abuse and find it easier to talk to a stranger than a minister or another christian face to face on sensitive issues.

For what its worth, I don't think many people have ventured into blogland yet. Many of my friends (mid 30's, college educated) don't read blogs. Most, if not all, have heard of blogs but haven't dabbled.

I would be disappointed if you shut your blog down.

1/05/2006 03:23:00 PM

 

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