Saturday, February 04, 2006

Taking Ourselves Too Seriously

Blogging can be a number of things. It can be informative, or humorous, or both. It can be lighthearted or serious. It can be helpful to the writer to further his ability to present his thoughts in a concise, intelligible manner. It can help him to learn the art of word-crafting (and the art of self-defense in some cases).

With few exceptions, blogging is probably more about the blogger than his audience. After all, the most beautiful sound in the world is the sound of our own name, followed closely by the sound of our voice. Cyberspace gives us an audience of the unknown, a chance to impress the cyber-parish with our own wit, intellect, insight, and charm. (Or put more simply, blogging might be an exercise in pride, thinking we have something to say that the world cannot live without.) Our thoughts are "here today," and by day after tomorrow they will be so yesterday, past the pull date.

And so we would do well to take to heart these words of Mark Dever from Together For the Gospel. He reminds us,
One reason that I've been reluctant to enter the blogosphere is that I am concerned that blog-writing and reading only adds to a bad tendency that we today already have--a fascination with the newest, latest, and most recent. And the newest and latest also often means that which is of only immediate value, that which is passing. That is opposed to that which is enduring, and which has in fact endured and lasted. We write words here which crawl along electronically and leap out through your fingers and eyes to take precious minutes and hours that the Lord has entrusted to us. Could these small things we write really be that important?
The irony is that I just put this in my blog. Go figure.


Brian Jones said...

I saw someone else comment on this post by Dever and I just don't get it. I think he's just the kind of guy who is reluctant about everything new, so his "reasons" for being reluctant about blogging are little more than excuses to defend his reluctance. I think we preacher/Bible-guys tend to be that way anyway. A former employer of mine whom you also know, Larry, was reluctant for himself or any of us who worked for him to use email. Now, he swears by it and it makes the ministry he leads function (when it actually does function). There is a certain amount of Luddism in almost every Christian leader I know.

Certainly blogs can be a time-waster. They are not quite like watching TV shows which are obviously a diversion for entertainment. Many blogs are more like cable news channels or talk radio—entertainment disguised as information. But there is a lot of excellent material available online, much of it in blogs these days. It takes discipline and discernment to ignore the "newest, latest, and most recent" unless it has true value. So, despite Dever's protests, blogs are..., well, like pretty much every other new medium. So I wish guys who are otherwise good, insightful thinkers would think a little instead of just knee-jerking against everything new just because it is new. Written languages and books were new technologies at some point; no doubt some believer freaked out at how written languages would just destroy human memory and oral traditions. And some felt that scrolls were just better than the codex; after all, the Bible was written on scrolls.

Tom said...

Hello, Larry.
Just discovered your blog yesterday and I like what I see. Your comments resonate with me. Blogging has become therapy for me. I have a journalism degree from the early 80's and never really found expression for my thoughts except of course for my sermons. And the fact we both like the word "stuff" sorta drew me to your site as well.

Brother Tom

Larry said...

I didn't read his comments as negatively as you did, I guess, Brian. As you say, blogs can be a big timewaster, little more than cotton candy for the intellect, and I understood Dever's point to be that they are filled with the trivial, the stuff you mention of cable news.

I think as you say, discernment is the key. It is also perhaps the most lacking thing in theology today. People are full of ideas, and empty of discernment about how to evaluate those ideas or what to do with them.