In the past, some have wondered why I, as a pastor, blog. This post is an attempt to answer that question. The reasons are many, but allow me to list a few.
1. Over the ten+ years I have blogged, my blog has been viewed over 900,000 times. Blogging allows me to reach a wide range of people, many of whom never attend church. Some may come to read a personal reflection, a funny post, a movie review, or to view a photograph, but more than a few of these visitors stick around and read some of my writings on faith as well. Blogging allows me to share my faith.
2. Besides being a committed follower of Jesus, I am a person with a lot of interests and hobbies. I am an amateur photographer and potter. I am also a voracious reader, lover of all types of music, and an avid film buff. Blogging allows me to share my interests with others. And very often I am able to find connections between these more cultural interests and my faith. I am reminded of a phrase John Wesley used: “plundering the Egyptians.” As Rich Tuttle writes on his blog (and I hope he doesn’t mind my pasting most of his post here:
One of the coolest concepts in Methodism is “plundering the Egyptians.”
The day Moses set the Israelites free, an ironic twist took place. The Israelites had the audacity to ask the Egyptians for jewelry and clothing…and the Egyptians obliged (Exodus 12:35-36). The last part of verse 36 is great: “so they (the Israelites) plundered the Egyptians.”
The father of Methodism, John Wesley, used this phrase as way to express the importance of using the best of what culture has to offer to grow in knowledge and faith. Wesley made himself aware of current events, recent scholarship, scientific discovery, medical breakthroughs, new technology and pop culture by reading, listening and being available. He thought it was essential to know what was going on around him so that he could grow in knowledge of God’s truth. Scripture was always primary and essential for Wesley and that’s why he was not afraid of “contamination” by the cultural “texts” in which he engaged. Wesley gleaned everything he could from the best of the culture around him because he believed God could speak in more than one way. Wesley “plundered the Egyptians” without fear, because he did not have to question the source of ultimate and timeless truth.
As a Methodist, I will proudly carry on Wesley’s practice of “plundering the Egyptians,” not just for the sake of relevance, but because I believe God can and does speak through the cultural “texts” of today.
3. During my time blogging I have met many wonderful people and have developed more than a few friendships that would have never been possible without this particular form of communication. While my friends and I may disagree on various issues and even faith (and who has friends that see eye to ey with them anyway), my blog has allowed us to dialogue with one another and develop a sense of camaraderie that I value greatly.
Now I realize that not every visitor to my blogs will appreciate everything I write or post. But as a Christian and a blogger, I have a few guidelines for myself.
- Never break confidentiality when writing a post. Nothing ever told to me in confidence will ever be shared on my blogs.
- I will try to and expect any commenters on my blog to try to maintain a civil and courteous level of discourse. This is especially true when dealing with more controversial issues. While we may not agree on everything, we can certainly be civil in our disagreements.
- While my blog reflects who I am in a larger context (after all it is about faith, culture, technology, photography and life), I always hope that my own faith in Christ is ultimately is visible in what I write. This is not to say that every post will be religious in nature, but that when taken as a whole, it will be apparant that my blogs are written by someone with a deep commitment to my faith in Jesus.
So there you have it. A few reasons why I blog and some guidelines for my own blogging.
To everyone who visits this blog, or one of my other blogs, I say “Welcome, and I hope you will find something of value here . . . perhaps something to deepen your own faith, or something to make you ponder an issue or concern, or maybe a little something to make you smile. ”
If you are interested, an excellent article entitled “Five Reasons Pastors Should Blog” is found here.