I’m an intern at a Northview Community Church in Abbotsford BC doing a 10 month internship program. I’m also a student at Prairie Bible College finishing my degree in Pastoral ministry. One of the requirements during my internship is to write a journal or a log book. Looking at today’s culture and the world around me I think that the best way to log my time, or write my thoughts is in a blog format. So many pastors today do it this, so I think I’ll do it as well.
Before we go any further you might be saying, “Well Andrew, just because some people are doing it this way that doesn’t make it a good idea.” I agree. You see the first thing I want to write about is culture and Gospel and blogging kind of fits in there.
In the North American, mostly America, “anyone” who is “anyone” has a blog, either written by them, about them or for them, but also anyone who wants to get their thoughts and opinion out there for others to see. Why? Because blogging is a form of communication that is used to tether us to one another and further expose people to our thoughts. We follow the blog of those we attach ourselves to or associate with; we blog to our tribe, our people, our friends, those who we share a kinship with. From what I’ve seen there are four ways we use a blog and I just want to touch briefly on them and why I think Christians can be involved in blogging.
First is spreading further Knowledge. If someone is a pastor, or a teacher, or someone respected for their wisdom, a blog can be immensely helpful in getting information out to those who follow you. Those who trust you, those who claim an association to you and are submitting themselves to you can learn from you. This reason is, I think, one of the best reasons a pastor should blog. They have been entrusted to teach a groups of people so they should teach in a way that is culturally relevant. People today blog, they read blogs so pastors can blog because it helps teach and build the body. To preach even an hour once a week is great but what better way to expand further, nuance something deeper than to blog further on the subject. (a podcast is good too.)
Second is for the purpose of news. If someone has associated themselves with a group, or congregation, they want to know what is going on, they want the latest news and gossip. We are an information culture and we want more. What better way to connect and keep people up to date than to tell them what is going on in a blog, a method for getting out personal and corporate news. We do have to be careful as a church. News is one thing, a helpful thing, gossip is not. We have to stay away from using our blogs as a method of gossip. Giving your opinion is good, but if it is directed to harm and hurt others it is never okay for Christians, which leads me to my next point.
A third reason people blog is to attack and criticise. There are so many Christian websites devoted to groups of Christian “watchdogs” who ransack the internet for every last quote of their most hated Christian speaker and then they pick it apart and tear them down. They claim to be “Bible believing, scripture reading devoted Christians” But from what I can discern their only purpose is to nip at the heels of the church and weigh it down. I do think that the church needs to be intentional about keeping strong orthodoxy and sound doctrine, but attacking other Christians again and again online is not okay, nor is it okay to attack people who aren’t Christians. One of the pastors I follow was attacked a few years ago by another well known pastor online in blog posts and articles. When asked if he had gone to the other pastor with their concerns, as is biblical, they said yes but the other pastor hadn’t gotten back to them yet so he had to address the issue and he did so online. So does that give us free reign to air our dirty laundry on the internet for all to see? No. We need to check ourselves, we need to watch ourselves. We can have differences, and there is a time and place to discourse about wrong doctrine but using a blog for a platform of attack is not right, nor is it effective because the attacker simply sounds like a fool. We in the church are not perfect, nor do we see eye to eye all the time. Even when we blog we must think about treating our brothers and sisters in Christ with love and respect as well as our enemies. We can challenge another’s view point for sure but to attack them and drag them through the mud with arrogance and maliciousness is just wrong, so wrong.
Fourth, I think a blog can be used for discussion which is what I hope I can use this blog for. On a blog we can give our opinions, our thoughts etc. We can open our thoughts up to others and we can say, “this is what I’m thinking and why. What do you think?” and we can discus, change and grow. We can address other peoples doctrine and we can even say another person is wrong and discus why but out in public, which the internet is we do not let our discussion turn to anger.
In these four uses of an online blog, knowledge, news, discussion and attack, there are three that I hope I can engage in and one I hope I don’t fall into. You see the internet is part of our culture, and part of our lives and adapting to meet culture is not wrong but adapting the Gospel to culture is. We are in the world and need not hide from it, but we need to avoid being of the world.
There you go, my thoughts on the medium. I hope I was able to convey my message. In the future I hope to blog about the sermons or lessons I am preparing or events I am participating in and make this a little more personal.