A bit of interestng debate has opened up about why people blog.
Following on from Andrew Jones' seminar on the spirituality of blogging, Ben Mizen responded and since then Phil Goodacre has also joined the discussion.
Today I was back in the office for the first time properly since the summer rush of youth holidays and, while balancing the budgets, planning the programme for the next twelve months, creating a questionnaire and working out what to say (or rather still not quite working out what to say) in a sermon on Sunday, I have been thinking aout why it is that I blog and is it a spiritual exercise.
Spirituality is one of those amorphous terms that can encompass everything and nothing so it can include blogging but it can equally exclude it.
Spirituality for me is about engaging with God, serving God. What I do when I blog (sometimes) is reflect on my day, on my experiences and on events in the lives of others (those I know or those elswhere in the world) and sometimes I receive feedback on these reflections via comments or via those curious, old-fashioned things called conversations!
There are also times when my blogging is just burbling. However, even in my babbling, I am me (anyone who knows me in the flesh not just in the blogsphere will attest to that one!) and therefore, according to the argument that the whole of life is spiritual, my blogging, even my babbling is spiritual. Yet that just doesn't quite wash with me I'm afraid.
Yes I know that, in all things, I can serve God and be spiritual but I also know that I do not succeed in doing so at all times. I know there are times when what I do is not to God's glory; that there are times when my actions are not spiritual but human and therefore flawed. Yet this is as true for blogging as it is for anything. So my argument turns again in its circular spiral against itself.
I think as in so many things, it all comes down to intention. Most of the time in my life and in my blog I intend to serve God either overtly or simply deep within me. So why do I blog?
I don't think my reasons are so deeply worked out as those Andrew Jones suggests:
Blogging is a spiritual discipline because to blog is to find oneself in a place of:
1. Praise (public acknowledgement) - "publish glad tidings daily"
2. Accountability. (Eph. 5: 21 "Submit yourselves to one another", quote from Athanasias)
3. Vulnerability (Daniel's window)
4, Given-ness (Freely you have received, gift economy, Prov 11:24)
5. Creative Naming (Adam, Neighbors in Ruth)
6. Repentance (editing/deleting/changing our mind in new media)
7. Fellowship (hypertext linking, Koinonia)
8. Evangelism (storytelling, blogging from our lives)
9. Integrity (writing matches our speaking, design reflects reality)
10. Posterity. (store/guard what has been entrusted, writing history)
There was also another one: Watchfulness ("watch and pray").
I'd love it if my reasons were so noble. For me I think the reasons are simpler:
I blogged originally becaue a friend did and as he was doing a "writing thing" I wanted to as well.
I blog because it helps me (I don't know why!).
I blog to record what is going on.
I blog to help me think things through.
I blog to let people know about what I'm thinking.
I blog because it keeps me in touch with my friends. It would be better if we all had time to talk about all this stuff but we don't!
I blog because I enjoy it.
I blog because it's fun.