Tuesday, August 22, 2006


The Nature Of Blogging

Saturday, at Intellectuele, Bonnie had a great post demonstrating that blogging is essentially a "social construct." It reminded me of a conversation Joe Carter and I once had discussing the nature of blogging. We were far less erudite. I asked Joe if he thought blogging was a "conversation or speechifying" - he responded that it was a "speechifying conversation." Then we grunted and fixed a car engine.

Anyway, to get serious, I think Bonnie is on to something here. There is little question that political blogging has quite rapidly sorted itself out into a social construct with gatekeepers, etc. One of the things that has, from time-to-time, irritated me about Hugh Hewitt's book "Blog" is that with all those words talking about the "democratization of information" and the lack of gatekeepers, he was setting himself up pretty firmly as a gatekeeper. Now, having said that, Hugh is gracious and kind and generous as a gatekeeper, something sorely missing in most gatekeepers in most aspects of life, but a gatekeeper he is, make no mistake. That; however, is the nature of politics, always has been, always will be. Personal patronage matters in matters of power.

It's the way Bonnie concludes her post when things get really interesting.
There is also a statement about the male-dominated nature of the blogosphere: "Perhaps it is possible that certain practices in blogging that were honed by men are more receptive to men. Perhaps." that is worthy of its own discussion. I think there are gender-related patterns in blogging, as well as other patterns, that cause difficulty for blogs and bloggers that do not fit the pattern. But perhaps that's a discussion for another post :-).

If the blogosphere is a social construct, and Christian bloggers seek to influence the world for Christ, how might Christian bloggers redeem the social structure of the blogosphere?
Addressing the gender issue first and briefly. As my regular readers know, my wife contributes routinely to this blog. She has noted to me on several occassions that her "stuff' does not get a lot of readership because the blogs she reads and enjoys - blogs that she says are about "woman stuff" - don't read blogs like this one, so they won't get to her postings. The point is that generally, there is a huge difference between the things women are interested in and the things men are interested in. That there are social constructs I have no doubt, but in this case I think it is largely a matter of two different social spheres. When women write on stuff I am interested in, like Bonnie, or Catez, or Rebecca, and certainly Intellectuele as a group I do not hesitate to read and link and so forth. Oh sure, there are some knuckle-draggers out there, but I don't think that as a rule women are especially excluded in Christian blogging. Christian blogging is pretty seriously excluded as a whole, but that leads to the next paragraph.

Now, as to the "redemption" of Christian blogging - I think that is an excellent question. It is a variation on a question I asked at last year's GodBlogCon. I also think that Bonnie has supplied the answer in how she has set up the question. If we accept the idea that blogging is a social construct (I for one do) then the redemption thereof will come in our interactions with one another.

It is my heartfelt conviction that the greatest witness to Christ we have is how we interact with each other. Consider the "fruits of the Spirit."
Gal 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Those attributes, the attributes Scripture says brand us as Christ's people, are attributes that are largely visible only in relationship - if I am to be patient, it must be with another person - kindness requires a receiptient - love, well despite the modern psycho-babble, love is exhibited towards others - and so it goes.

Christian blogging is indeed a social construct, and it should be even more so than the rest of blogging. I find it good that in the world of Godblogging, there are leaders and followers, but they are not nearly so separate from one another as are the Hugh Hewitts and Glenn Reynolds from the average polibloggers.

Which brings me full circle - there is lots of griping in some circles of Christian blogging that Hugh Hewitt is not a "real" Christian blogger because he writes about politics almost exclusively. I beg to differ, the graciousness, kindness, and generosity I mentioned earlier are what set Hugh apart as a Christian blogger among the leading polibloggers.

You want to redeem Christian blogging - link generously, disagree kindly, never insult, make friends (for example, Bonnie was exceedlingly kind to me last year during the run-up to GodBlogCon), PRAY FOR OTHER CHRISTIAN BLOGGERS. These things will change our world, far more effectively than arguing about the correct exegesis of some obscure passage.

Related Tags: , , , , , ,


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Feed


eXTReMe Tracker

Blogarama - The Blog Directory