Wednesday, January 16, 2008

BLOGGING: The next American Idol?



I've read several blogs lately written by Christian women who have quit their blog and given a huge "funeral like" farewell on their final post. The final "eulogy" post speaks of priorities, and God telling them not to blog anymore and making it sound like they had some "come to Jesus meeting" where the Spirit of God spoke in some way and told them it was imperative for them to stop posting. I really have to wonder about this.

Either they are extremely slow writers or God has a serious thing against blogs.

If it was just with one or two people, I'd say it was isolated but I've read this on quite a number of blogs lately - written in the same type of Christianese. I'm beginning to wonder if it's a fad. These were blogs that had a decent readership as evidenced by all the comments, and the writers basically state that their blog was "taking them away from time with God" or "away from their family time" and that God sovereignly spoke to them to "lay it down", at least for a while. Apparently this 10-15 minute exercise each day had become an idol. Am I the only one that finds this kind of melodramatic? Honest to God I wonder how much of this is not the sovereign move of God but just an effort to look spiritual or something.

Get in reality here. Nobody has put you on a "blog deadline." You do not have to post everyday. You don't have a job description with objectives and expectations for your blog. You don't have to moderate comments or even respond to them. Sheesh! It's a blog, silly.

Really, even for those who blog daily like I do, how much time does it really take? Puh-leease. This is not an all day job folks. Now, I realize I do have to admit (just to be fair on this issue) that I do personally type 130 words a minute. This is why I rarely write anything out by hand - it's just too time consuming compared to how much time it takes me to click away on a keyboard. I knew I was sorta unique when the lady behind the deli counter at the grocery store looked at me like a martian when I ordered my provolone cheese and she glanced over and said, "um...is that a TYPED grocery list?" Yep. It saves me time.

But I digress. Back to the subject....

Most posts only take me about 10 minutes, 15 tops. Most days I only post once except my day off when I usually post more than once simply because it's my day off. In a few minutes time I rattle off a quick post about whatever I did that day, or an issue that really has me thinking - like this one. This is not like writing War and Peace. It's not even like writing a magazine article. It's just a BLOG POST, for crying out loud, not a major project. Perhaps I should be more careful and not just rattle off something in 15 minutes and publish it, and some of you are thinking, "wow, maybe that's why some of her posts are way too intense or personal," but as Paul said, "I am what I am by the grace of God." (I Corinthians 15:10) I think the best blogs are written from the heart of the writer without analyzing the heck out of everything. Sometimes in just letting your thoughts tumble out as they come you find some of your best writing.

Let's just suppose that somebody only types half as fast as I do. Perhaps it takes them 20 or 30 minutes to write a post.. Does this qualify as something that is an incredible time taker that "takes you away from God...away from your family...screws up your priorities...leads you astray...something you must "lay down" to go on to what God has for you?" Sounds just a wee bit exaggerated to me and quite honestly a bit silly.

I just can't imagine that God is up there wringing his hands about the dangers of blogging and beseeching people to quit. Actually from all accounts I've read and heard, blogging has been nothing but a blessing for most people's friends, their congregations, and lots of people they don't know.

I usually speak several times a week at my church in some form or fashion, and I speak a lot outside my church, and hands down...what do people comment most in the last three years? My blog. They don't just talk about the frivolous aspects of it, but many people at places I go to preach will say, "something you said on your blog really changed something in my life and I just want to thank you..."

Some pastors are now saying that their blog is a more powerful influence or at least equally as powerful as what they say to their people from the pulpit. Keep in mind some pastors post sermons or devotionals on their blogs - many simply use it as another avenue to get the Word into their people another time that week. Many people use blogging as an opportunity to share their vision for the church. I do this occasionally, not all the time. But my point is, I don't really see blogging as a drawback but a positive thing for both the reader and the writer. Even if you are just journaling with your blog, that's a rather healthy thing to do.

I was preaching last year at a place and I really didn't know anyone there prior to going that day to preach and in the midst of this huge crowd a lady shouted out, "Pastor Deanna, how is Dustin doing with his MRSA? Is he feeling better? We are praying for him!"

I looked out in the crowd and said, "how do you know that about my son? Have I met you before?"

She said, "I'm a blog reader...and I have faithfully read your blog for a year now..."

WOW.

I couldn't believe it. This lady basically followed my life for a year knowing every little detail of my blog. It wasn't so much what I preached that day that resonated with her, but instead what I wrote on here each day. I have to be honest that it amazed me. Anytime anybody reads what I have to say I consider it a miracle. I'm called to write, so I'd do it whether anybody was reading or not. I was blogging daily long before blogging on the internet ever existed. Really, blogging is just an online journal that you let others get a glimpse (or in my case more than a glimpse since I write a lot!) of your thoughts, daily activities, what God is telling you, or whatever you feel like sharing at the time. In addition to this blog, and Equal Time that I co-write with Pastor Tara Sloan - I also have a private online journal that I use to write everything that Larry considers too over-the-line and would be horrified for me to publish here. Even with these three, it's still a drop in the bucket of my time.

Maybe I'm just in my own little world of speed typing and I'm not realizing that somebody out there is taking two hours a day to write a post. I dunno, but that sounds pretty unlikely.

Who am I to tell somebody that they shouldn't stop writing their blog?

No one.

I have no right to say whether somebody is to continue a blog or not or what they should do with their time. My whole point here is just to say that I think it's kind of dumb to blame the whole thing on God in a sappy "final post" and act like it's a huge time taker...unless you have a ton of blogs. Blogging is not a full time or even a part time job. It doesn't even take as much time as cleaning out your silverware drawer. In the time I post a blog it wouldn't even take me as much time as it takes to unload and load my dishwasher. What's the big deal here, folks? I just think this is rather "mountain-out-of-molehillish."

Molehillish? Hey, it's my blog, I can make up the words if I want to.

I have to confess, when people do this I don't think, "Wow, how spiritual." I just think, "Bummer. What a shame. I'll miss their writing, but whatever." There are plenty of blogs in the sea.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

I don'tthink this is that unusual, personally. Different people get attached to different things. I've heard of several people telling me that God has asked them to give up certain things to devote themselves more to Him. I dont' think that means that blogs in and of themselves are a God-distraction. But for these people, they may have been. Anything and anyone can be an idol. If these people are claiming that we, as readers, should do the same thing.. that would be wrong in my opinion. God doesn't ask us all to give up or take on the same things. Different things are different sacrifices for people. Maybe the problem wasn't the time taken in writing the blog at all... but their willingness to sacrifice something they enjoyed for something they love more. We don't always understand why God asks things of us. Another thing I think we need to watch for is that if God asked one person to give up a blog, no one else should look at that sacrifice and assume it means that it's a sacrifice they should take. Just like any other personal convictions and personal sacrifice... it should be just that...personal!
Personally, I think God would love for me to actually consistantly WRITE a blog. Consistency in journaling has always been something I've struggled with. Someone's sacrifice may be another's calling. :)