I just read an interesting article in Christianity Today online magazine. It’s called “Not Many of You Should Presume to Be Bloggers,” and the author’s perspective is that too many people too often publish their theological (and other) thoughts online without really checking themselves first. He asserts that “the invention of social media, like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, created a radical departure in communication.” His basic argument is that before online social media, only a select group of people were able to publish their thoughts on important issues, but now everyone can publish and seemingly does so.
I have thought a lot about this issue recently, especially in the past year as I have started my own blog and encouraged other friends, family, and students to do likewise. I have asked myself the questions, “Who am I to have anything worthwhile to share?” and “Who cares what I think?” I don’t say these things in a self-defeating way or with a sense of false humility. I really do wonder about the philosophical shift that is being brought about by social media–the shift toward everyone thinking that his or her ideas are important enough for everyone else to read. Are we–am I–beginning to think too highly of our own opinions? In light of this, I fully recognize the irony of this post, a blog post in which I question the propriety of blogging.
As I’ve considered the issues, I have decided that blogging is something I want to continue. I have a few reasons:
- I love to write, and I process externally. I find that my blog gives me an outlet for processing and sharing what I’m reading, viewing, thinking, etc. At one point in the article from CT magazine, the author writes, “ask yourself, If it was 2003 and some author wrote some book questioning some doctrine would I have felt compelled to publish my thoughts?” When I read that question, it gave me pause. My answer is YES. I have always felt compelled to share my thoughts on different issues, and I have also tried to do so with thoughtfulness and tact. I don’t think social media has changed that about me personally.
- My blog is a platform for my ministry. Recently, I have tried to share more and more on my blog about the various ministries in which I’m involved. I’ve found that blogging has given me a greater voice to advocate for the things which are important to me and to the Kingdom.
- I know that at least a few people are reading my blog and being encouraged in the process. I have received enough emails, comments, and notes in the past year to make me want to continue writing. When I write a particularly important or reflective post, I often pray that God will use it to speak to others.
There are other reasons why I blog, but these are the three most important. You might have noticed that I have actually started posting more often. I’ve been realizing that with the shift in how we consume information in today’s society (that’s a whole other issue to write about!), people are more likely to read several short posts than one long one. Thus, the simple galleries, picture updates, links, etc. that I’m posting. (I know! This post is getting too long for you to read, isn’t it?!) I will keep blogging as long as it’s worthwhile.
So let’s go back to the Christianity Today article for just a moment. I want to be fair to the author by explaining that his emphasis is on blogging about spiritual things, things that only spiritual teachers and leaders should be publishing. His writing spurred me to consider blogging/social media in general, but that is not his specific focus. He quotes James 3:1 in which James states, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” and applies this to the world of social media. He states that in the past, theological discussion was entrusted to a select few, and he seems to think that this is how it should be still. He points out that when we publish our thoughts, we are assuming responsibility for them, so we should be careful about what we say and to whom. I do agree that social media has allowed us a massive audience for our wiki-chatter and that the pendulum is swinging a little far to the side of everyone sharing everything. However, I also celebrate how social media has inclined normal people to discuss important theological, biblical, moral, and worldview issues together more openly. There is always a balance to be found, and I hope that people, Christians especially, will learn to use social media for all the good things it can do instead of all the bad.