A Dialogue is different than a monologue and one has to determine as a commentator on a blog, if you are seriously interested in conversation or would rather engage in proclamation. They really are different beasts, both are valuable and have their place..the trick is realizing when one is working against the flow of the purposed endeavor.
Some blogs or blog posts are meant to become anvils that will draw the blows of hammers. But not just for hammering sake...hopefully some item of thought, some value, doctrine or issue is drawing those blows to refine, sharpen, blunt or thin the chunky unformed idea or belief. The work of the strong forceful thundering makes something in the foundry of bloggerville.
But other blogs or posts are meant to facilitate something more than just the forming, reforming or refining of things. These blogs become a further conversation rooted to real people. They are extensions to having face to face relationships furthered not intended to be replaced by the blog. These are conversations that are meant to build up the body local. Places where a group of people are enfleshing the ideas, putting skin on them...not just trumpeting phrases, quotes and ideas out into the net air. These places become "open-sourced" endeavors that combine the wisdom of the many into the life of a community wrestling with truth and life. They are ingredients in the ongoing fermentation of communal life that needs all kinds of catalysts to become what God intends us to be. The blog serves "us"...
Its the balance of not allowing technology to rule us and not becoming servants of the technology.
Visible church, day to day community becomes a safeguard against the temptations associated with internet anonymity. Too many people hide in the internet, they become "net ninjas" who only come out of the shadows to strike, slash, burn and stab. They lurk behind the conversations and posts. Stealth, secrecy and obscurity are their cloak. Their comments come like arrows shot from some dark corner of the roof from which they have perched themselves to look down on the ignorant masses...or victims to be.
Their comments are not rooted in the work of localized, community building; which has the boundaries of accountability, place, context and continuity...we see each other this week. These safeguards, become the sides of the riverbank, they hold the flow of conversational water....and the river has less chance of becoming a death dealing flood, instead of a life giving source.
Some of my blogs are meant to be a "free for all" type of experience...others, like the Christ & Culture" blog are for in-house church relationships that have the disciplines in place mentioned above.
The beauty and tragic thing about blogs is that they often represent both the abundance that is present in ones private or community life...or they represent the poverty. In some places, especially churches, there is hardly many people willing to engage issues, ideas, movements, films, books, music or sadly, even God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and scriptures. Blogs can become unhealthy substitutes, alternatives, overdosed-supplements or even for some their daily bread.
Blogs can end up being pumped breast milk from surrogate mommies in the faith. There is a absence of touch, breath, warmth, voice, eyes looking at you, hands and arms coddling you. Blogs or video venues, tv and webcasts become our modern form of incantations...we bring up the dead, or we commune with people in modern forms of astra projection...going places, transporting into one another's presence...but its almost dangers on an unholy lack of boundary. We have to be careful that we are not practicing an advanced form of technological witchcraft or high tech necromancy.
Some times death is God's way of putting an end to conversations that shouldnt continue beyond their context of time.
Now obviously all of this thought should be tempered with the realties of some peoples lives. Shut in, people living in spiritual deserts, missionaries, or physically challenged, handicapped or people dealing with health issues are all able to derive life sustaining help from these forms of technology. But other people can cheat on one another with this cheap, easy, always waiting, stimulating mental and spiritual pornography...all pleasure...no commitments or faithfulness required.
Place, time, life, faces and relationships...help ground us in the ancient practice of localized community.