One of my favorite songs is called "Dive" by Stephen Curtis Chapman. In it he sings:
I'm diving in I'm going deep in over my head I want to beAlthough Chapman is singing about diving into a life of faith, these lines capture my mood as I move into the blogworld.
Caught in the rush lost in the flow in over my head I want to go
The river's deep the river's wide the river's water is alive
So sink or swim I'm diving in.
I've been reading blogs now for several years. I can't really remember how I discovered the blogworld. I think I came to it by reading the online edition of The Washington Post. One of my favorite columnists for WaPo is Howard Kurtz. Through Kurtz, I became acquainted with Glenn Reynolds (The Blogfather) and Andrew Sullivan (Blog Pioneer). These two guys in particular (and a host of others) led me into the wonderful world of blogs.
Aside from a few comments posted on a few blogs and a few emails here and there to folks I was reading, I never felt a need or a desire to blog myself. Although I'm a bit of a political junkie, I haven't felt the need to contribute to the political debate for two reasons. First, as a pastor, however strongly I feel about political issues, I believe I should abstain as much as possible from political debate. I am very uncomfortable with the mixture of church and politics. This is an area I may blog about later, but needless to say, I doubt I will have much to say about politics. Secondly, in terms of politics, I'm more of a consumer than an advocate. I'm not an expert at anything. Therefore, even if I weren't a pastor, I'm not sure what I can contribute to political debate. I think political debate has become needlessly divisive anyway, so keeping my mouth shut seems to be a smart thing. So while political blogs drew me into the world of blogging, I'm not interested in this becoming a blog about politics.
It was, however, the discovery of two blogs that has encouraged me to enter into the blog world. I discovered them at about the same time: Shane Raynor from Wesleyblog.com and Mark D. Roberts (markdroberts.com). First of all, I want to complement them on their blogs. Shane's site is packed with a lot of information, lots of links, and yet somehow retains a clean, uncluttered look. Mark's site just represents his great mind...it is a virtual commentary/sermon site. It was in the midst of his excellent series on the TNIV translation that I began to follow him and discovered his sharp, reasonable mind.
The thing I like about Wesleyblog.com is not only Shane's postings but the conversation that occurs in the comments section. Shane has a similar perspective as mine on a lot of things so there's that, but I enjoy the spirit and the way that engages different perspectives. I would like for my blog to be kind of like that. Re: Mark Roberts: I want to be him when I grow up, a United Methodist Mark Roberts.
I've been thinking about doing this for several months now but have had reservations. Blogging comes with risks. I'm fiercely protective of my ministry so I must be careful that I tread lightly. Let me say for the record: my views here are my own and do not represent anyone else: not my church, not the United Methodist Church, or anyone else. I had to be sure that this isn't about ego or trying to make a name for myself. Instead I hope that the discipline of blogging will help my writing. I don't write well. Certainly not as well as I would like. I'm hoping the discipline of writing will encourage me to a better job communicating, particular when I contribute some it should be defensible and coherent. To this end I say: constructive criticism will be welcomed though rarely enjoyed (heck, who likes criticism). One other concern I've had is losing anonymity. When you blog, anyone can read it and is free to make judgments about you, informed or no. Its one thing to share your opinion or open your mind in the real world. You know to whom you speak. You can get a read as to whether people understand you, whether they agree of disagree with you. Not so in the cyber world.
But I get the sense that blogging will help my writing and thinking skills. It will open me up to conversation with other people which will help me to grow as a person and pastor. It will be a forum to bounce ideas and help me develop skills I do not now have. And I hope that somehow this will be a means of grace for me. So I'm risking that the Holy Spirit can work within this work.
So casting aside reservations about losing internet anonymity, risking scorn and criticism, revealing my deep ignorance, I'm diving in.