Blog Archives

ProBlogger on how preparing sermons is like writing blog posts

Darren Rowse, founder of ProBlogger and former minister, explains why he thinks preparing sermons is like writing blog posts. Along the way, he explains his process for preparing posts/sermons and offers some thoughts for improving your own process.

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HT Christian Writing Today

Flotsam and jetsam (1/7)

  • Matthew Flanagan has begun posting a revised version of his argument regarding the genocide of the Canaanites. Today’s post argues that Joshua should be read as hagiography rather than literal history:

Thus Joshua itself appears to be full of ritualistic, stylised, formulaic language. It therefore looks like something other than a mere literal description of what occurred. In light of these facts Wolterstorff argues that Judges should be taken literally whereas Joshua is hagiographic history; a highly-stylised, exaggerated account of what occurred, designed to teach theological and moral points rather than to describe in detail what actually happened.

  • iMonk reflects on the significance of the Christian calendar after Epiphany.

But for now, in these days following Epiphany, it is time for one remarkable Jesus-prompted surprise and delight after another! Our minds boggle and heads shake at the insightful words Jesus speaks. Our jaws drop in amazed wonder to see him exercise power over nature, bring wholeness to broken lives, and restore vitality where death once reigned. Fear and dread knot our stomachs as cosmic conflict erupts. But Christ speaks with authority, and all is peace.

  • And, here’s a list of the Top 10 Bizarre Toys for Kids. I have to warn you, some of these are seriously twisted and I’m pretty sure that I’m going to need therapy now. The “God Almighty” toy at the top of this post comes from this list.

Biblioblog Top 50 & Biblical Studies Carnival

I’m a little slow on a couple of notifications, but I want to note that the December 2010 editions of the Biblioblog Top 50 and Biblical Studies Carnival are both out.

Congratulations to the Near Emmaus crew for making it all the way to #4 on the Top 50 list! With some new bloggers and many excellent posts, Near Emmaus has done an outstanding job lately.

And, of course, thanks to Joseph Kelly for putting together a really good Biblical Studies Carnival.

James McGrath on responsible blog ownership

James McGrath has a fun post today comparing blog ownership to dog ownership. All of the rules were fun and worth reading. But, I have to say that I particularly enjoyed the last piece of advice:

Pick up after your blog. No one wants to step in or smell that “gift” your blog left behind. Please pick it up right away and dispose of it properly. For convenience, try enabling comment moderation.

Fortunately, we haven’t had to do a lot of cleaning up around here. Apparently we’ve been blessed with a pretty well behaved blog. That’s nice. Maybe I should give it a special treat.

Flotsam and jetsam (10/12)

After being distracted by family and work responsibilities for a few days, I had to declare Google Reader bankruptcy. It feels to to click “mark all as read” and then just move on with your life. But, before I gave up and hit the big red button, I came across some links worth checking out.

Blogging as theological discourse

Ben Myers’ recently published article “Theology 2.0: Blogging as Theological Discourse,” Cultural Encounters 6.1 (2010) is a fascinating discussion of how different forms of communication shape us, and the formative nature of blogging in particular.

He begins by noting the growing importance of blogging in theological education and asks an important question:

What does it mean for theology when blogs go mainstream – when blogging is no longer just a fringe activity, but a practice woven into the fabric of students’ theological formation? (48)

He goes on to use Foucault’s “technologies of the self” to address the formative nature of communicative media. With respect to writing in general, he says, “You write in order to mold and transform yourself. With such writing, it is not the content that matters so much as the mere act, the askesis of writing. You record yourself, write yourself, publish yourself” (53). Thus, blogging in particular “is not merely a medium, a channel through which information is communicated. It is fundamentally a practice, a work that cultivates particular ways of being and particular forms of human sociality” (53).

The latter half of the essay focuses on five specific ways in which blogging is shaping theological discourse:

  1. Speed and Flexibility: I appreciate his comments here on the fact that theological blogging is more tentative than traditional theology. I still struggle with this. Academic writing is so focused on producing polished and final-form writing, that it’s difficult to appreciate the strengths of a more free-form and tentative mode of discourse. But, it is a tremendous strength when ideas can be articulated and explored in community, rather than trying to work everything out on your own before making them known. In this way, blogging takes the best that academic conferences have to offer, but makes it available year round.
  2. Scope and Participation: Everyone recognizes the increased participation that comes with Web 2.0, but I especially liked his argument that blogging increases the range of topics a person is willing/able to address (scope). I know I’ve written on this blog about things that I never would have felt qualified to write about in another forum.
  3. Reading Together: Here, Ben connects blogging to the ancient practice of reading in community. I like it.
  4. Individualization and Coolness: In this section, Ben offers his strongest warnings about the possible drawbacks of theological blogging. He’s particularly concerned about the danger of developing theological niche communities isolated from other perspectives and seeking to “fit in” with the normative perspective of the community.
  5. Play and Irony: The playfulness of theological blogging has certainly been one of my personal favorites. I’m sure it gets us all into trouble at times, but that’s part of the fun too.

The article concludes with the hopeful note that theological blogging might lead to theology becoming “a somewhat friendlier discipline” (60). I would have liked to see Ben engage more the possible drawbacks and potentially negative effects of Web 2.0 on theological discourse, and I think we can all point to examples where theological blogging was anything but friendly. But, at its best, theological blogging does lead to the “community, inquisitiveness, and open conversation” vital to good theology.

This is an excellent article for understanding the formative nature of writing and the impact that blogging is having on theological discourse and education.

Flotsam and jetsam (7/20)

Why I Blog: Tracing Your History

A couple months ago I was reading through Doug Estes’ book SimChurch when I came across something that really made me stop to think. Estes wrote about how difficult it is to learn about our grandparents and great grandparents in contrast with how much easier it will be for our grandchildren and great grandchildren to learn about us. Why? Well, we have left digital footprints all over the place. If we assume things like our comments on various websites, social media outlets, and even our own blogs will be accessible to the digital historian we can rightly assumed so much more information will be available about our lives than those of our forefathers.

This has caused me to think about blogging differently. It is essentially the tracing of my own history of thought. If this data were to be made available to my descendents they could discover much about my views on God, the church, and even current events. It is like a journal in that sense with much more content (since it is easier to type a lot that to write a lot).

Already I can go back to as early as 2005, when I was twenty-two, twenty-three years of age, to read about my interest in something called “the emerging church”, my discovery of a biblical scholar named N.T. Wright, the formation of my thoughts while living in uber liberal San Francisco, my attempts to wrestle dozens of important theological subjects, and so forth. At the moment I really think I have some things figured out, I think some subjects are confusing or disinteresting, and I have a general idea of where the future may lead. It will be interesting to see in 2015 (assuming “blogging” is still a reality) how much has changed.

So this is another reason why I blog–I am creating a digital history of the progress of my life and thought. It is something upon which I can reflect and my descendents can read, reconnecting with me over years gone by whether I am bodily present or not.

Reprinted from here.

Why I Blog: Write It Down

Marc Cortez asked if I wouldn’t mind posting more material on this blog than usual for the week since he is traveling. There is a subject that I am addressing on my own blog that I thought I would repost here for my fellow ThM classmates. I want to blog about blogging.
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About a week ago someone asked me why I blog. I have intended on writing on this subject since last December when I considered the possibility of quitting altogether. As you can tell by this very post I decided to keep going. Blogging has become an important part of the way that I process things. One could even call it a discipline.

I began blogging toward the end of 2004. I briefly quit only to resume in May of 2005. The archives of my blog go that far back. Now that I have been doing this for a half decade I can understand its value. Over the next several days I will explain what I mean.

The foremost reason that I blog is simple. It is good to write things down. Some do this by way of journaling. Every time I have tried to journal I get a couple pages into it before quitting. For whatever reason blogging is a more convenient method.

In Thinking on Paper authors V.A. Howard and J.H. Barton argue that one of the best ways to assist the mind in processing thoughts is to put whatever you are thinking about into writing. The process of writing makes you think deeply about your own thoughts. It is like backing up the data of your mind in case you forget it later. Writing is an act in preserving transitory thoughts.

 A lot of bloggers quit because they think a blog post needs to be polished like a term paper. This is not so. In fact, Howard and Barton argue that when writing a paper (or a blog post I will add) it is better to write a disorganized rough draft than it is to try to present a perfect product. Those who try to create a presentable paper on the first attempt are often those who struggle with so-called “writer’s block”. They sit there thinking too much about how to write something rather than actually writing. The goal is to write and edit later.

Blogging can function as a rough draft for hundreds and hundreds of thoughts. The aformentioned authors suggest writing for yourself before you write for the public. Blogs blur this line a bit since what you write for yourself is automatically made public but there is still a principle to be maintained. Blog for yourself first. Blog as a means of taking notes, processing thoughts, and saving new ideas before you forget them.

Blogging does not need to be stylish. In fact, blogging doesn’t even need to be for the sake of being read by others. If this happens, great. If not, so what? If people comment on your blog post giving you feedback this is wondeful because it provides a sort of learning community (a topic which I will soon address) but if you never find this community you cannot go wrong putting your thoughts into written (i.e. typed) words.

So this is the first reason that I blog. I blog because I like to write. I write because I like to process my thoughts on “paper” which is a good way to find out what is being stored in your mind to which you might not otherwise have access. I want to uncover this thought-material in order to see if anything substantial comes from it. If not, at least it wasn’t lost before it could be examined!

Reposted from here.