Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My Life As a Blog

In February of 2005 (I think it was February 11th, to be exact), I posted my first article on this blog. For me, blogging was an experiment-- I wasn't necessarily planning to become a blogger. The fact that one could start a blog in minutes using Blogger software made it very easy to start -- here I had written this little piece about Paul McCartney that I was calling A New Rock and Roll Spirit?, and in just 10 minutes I was publishing it for the entire world to see. It really is an amazing technology, when you stop and think of it.

I wasn't even a regular blog reader at the time. I had Chuck Colson's "Breakpoint" bookmarked as a homepage, and modeled my blog after that site-- Christian cultural commentary, but with a personal touch.

But as I continued blogging I started to realize its potential as a communication tool, one that gave me complete creative control (how often do you get that!), and one which could be used to try to make an impact on the world. As Christians we have a mandate to be "salt" and "light" in a decaying and dark world, and I was discovering that bloggers could use their influence for good.

I began visiting blogs, mostly Christian, noting the way others were blogging. There were the pundit-type blogs that make quick points, present many links, and seem to throw many bits of information at you. Then there were blogs with longer, more reflective articles. There were scholarly blogs, often written by professors or pastor-theologians, and more personal "journal" blogs, documenting the details of people's daily lives. Some blogs featured truly excellent writing, others were less articulate.

I went to the first-ever God Blog Conference, and met many like-minded folk. I was impressed with the caliber of people I met there-- men and women of great intelligence-- erudite, articulate and desirous of using their ample gifts to make an impact for Christ.

I asked myself: what kind of blog did I want to be? I decided one way I could be of service was to make my blog a good resource, since I'm good at researching and finding things on the Internet. So I created resource links, many of which I developed simply by using some of the hundreds of sites I already had bookmarked in my own travels on the web.

As I began posting various articles, I've wanted to discover my specific niche in the Christian blogosphere. I tend to write best by bringing a philosophical/theological bent to my musing about say, the message of John Lennon's song, Imagine. A songwriter/musician myself, I like to talk about the creative process. I enjoyed writing a review of Paul McCartney's last album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. In another post, I analyzed more deeply one of the songs from that album, Follow Me, delving into the spirituality of Mr. McCartney. I discovered the Christian Carnival, a weekly gathering of posts from various Christian bloggers from a wide range of denominations and perspectives, and had the privilege of twice hosting the carnival (#96 and #110), here on Jordan's View.

Still, I'm not sure I have yet found my niche completely. But even more important, I have wanted, and still want, my blog to be integrated with my life and calling. I do not want it to become a distraction away from whatever God is doing in and through me, but hopefully, to be a helpful, even spiritual discipline I can use to help me discover and pursue that calling.

Many of the blogs I have been drawn to over the past year are written by bloggers who are reformed in their theology, and I have admired their sharp writing and strong Scripture-based arguments. Yet, as I continue to hammer out my own theological beliefs, I must admit I don't find myself able to fully embrace the five points of Calvinistic theology (T-U-L-I-P), though there are some ideas there that I do find convincing. I have followed the blogosphere debate between cessationists and continuationists on the matter of spiritual gifts for today-- and come out feeling that the cessationists have not proven their case (at least in my mind)-- yet also with lingering questions over just what can we expect in the areas of healing, tongues and prophecy today. Certainly the cessationists are not wrong in pointing out that there is much in the practice of such gifts out there that is not biblical. In my life I continue to reflect on these matters and will hopefully write about them more often.

I have also been honored by some book publishers contacting me recently, and sending me books to read. So I soon hope to be posting book reviews.

But the bottom line is that I have seen that my blog is a reflection, an extension, of me. It is only going to be as effective and fruitful as I am. The deeper I go in my walk with Jesus, the more fully surrendered I am to His will, the more powerful this blog will become-- in terms of impacting others in a lasting way. That's why I haven't been blogging too much recently-- I have had to deal with myself first.

I believe that as I become sharper in my walk with the Lord, my blog will also become a sharper, more effective instrument for ministering to others. Focusing on Jesus, and dealing with the hindrances and sin in my life, I will run more swiftly and effectively, the race that is set before me.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12: 1-2)"

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