Friday, August 06, 2010


"Getting" Blogging

Matt Anderson at Mere O wonders if Christian blogging has grown boring:
I agree with Brent about how redundant the Christian blogging community is, which is why I probably have fewer friends in it than I might otherwise. I have never seen the point of writing what I thought could be found a dozen other places online. And while I’m pretty sure everything that I’ve written could be found elsewhere, I haven’t found that place yet.

But the more important point Brent makes is that blogging is essentially vain. And while he means that in the sense of ‘pride,’ I actually think the Ecclesiastes notion of ‘vanity’ is a better description: empty, meaningless, chasing after the wind.

Good conversations in blogging are increasingly rare. It’s mostly words, words, and more words, with very little substance and depth. We can only survive in the shallows for so long–eventually, we must head off to the depths, to the books and the treatises and the classics.
Matt has a point here, but I think he is missing the bigger picture. I think he is creating too clean a divide between blogging and social networking. I think blogging is less about content and more about community building - and it takes that community a step deeper than one can with Twitter or Facebook. However, it too has limits.

Frankly, to go much deeper than blogging goes now requires a level of trust that can only come with face-to-face contact, and then there is a hesitancy to have discussion that have been so intimate in a setting, like blogging that is not so intimate.

Sadly, there are many barriers that can prevent a blogging community from becoming a personal community, but it can be hoped that the "lacking" Anderson expresses will drive one to find a personal community in a different venue. If so, then blogging has made a valuable contribution indeed.

As to blogging being "vain." Well, the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that all is vanity. I also think that the lesson from that marvelous book of scripture is not that content removes the vain aspect. Rather the lesson is that it is the Holy Spirit that grants meaning to our exercises. I even think the Holy Spirit can add meaning to a blog post that was written in vanity.

Vanity is about our standing with God as writer, or reader, of a blog, or any other endeavor. I too have had the sense of lacking that Anderson expresses. My response to it is to seek God's face in prayer and scripture - confession and surrender. When I am true to that effort, the sense of vanity, in all things I do, tends to disappear.

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