Monday, February 11, 2008
conversation in the blogosphere
The whole idea of blogging is a bit overwhelming for a relational person because there’s a question about how many people you can really have an authentic relationship with. It’s conceivable to have literally thousands of people who are on your Facebook friends list or to have people responding to your blog, and to not really have a sense of knowing and being known, which I think is so central to what a relationship really looks like. There is a sense in which even weak connections do have some value; as my friend Dwight Friesen says, that a free-scale network that has many weak connections is a strong network. And so I do believe in blogging, but I just wonder about its limitations and the nature of choices that we have to make as to what it is that we value. Do we have communities of faith, do we have family, with whom we balance our time and our openness, or is it possible for there to be an overtaking of the blogolog (like dialog, except it’s blogolog) that might fill us up or consume our time? So, in the same way that one might say that idolatry is anything that takes the place of a living relationship with Christ (idolatry can include worshiping the church and the Bible and all kinds of good things that are just one step away), so too, all of these communication devices of blogging and skyping and cell phoning and everything can be part of the very connecting life of relationship or they can become idols. And I’m on my own journey of trying to figure out what that looks like. I have a deep sense of many, many years of not being in the conversation in the way that I would like theologically because I haven’t published books (though I have published articles). Since I haven’t published books, some people don’t seem to acknowledge what I think (unless they happen to be my students at one of the places where I teach); they don’t seem to acknowledge my thought or my thought processes as having value simply in the dialog, but it’s the published that seems to take precedence in terms of giving an authoritative voice. And yet I think the blogosphere is creating opportunities for that conversation, so I want to affirm that and to make the connections and move out of the place of exile that it seems that I have been in, and that’s why I’m pleased to be here in the conversation with you all.