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17 October, 2005 2:33 PM
A number of fellow bloggers have emailed me this past couple of weeks to ask if I'm going to the God Blog conference.
To be honest I didn't really consider it for a couple of reasons - Firstly it's been a question of Expense Distance and Time - I'm not critiquing the conference - it has to be held somewhere but wherever it is the distance makes it hard for some bloggers. For me I couldn't justify the expense or time away from other priorities to go.
Secondly I have been pondering the question 'Am I a 'God Blogger?'
This blog (LivingRoom) has become less of a focus for me of late for many reasons including a lack of time, many other competing projects needing time, a maturing of the LivingRoom community (we're probably not in such a phase of learning/development now so there is less to share) and (if I'm honest) a frustration with where I saw the 'God Blog' community as going.
I don't want to write this as an attack upon those who identify themselves as God Bloggers - but after a couple of years of heavy participation in the God Blog scene I began to grow increasingly frustrated with it. I met many wonderful Christian bloggers along the way and learned a lot about blogging, faith and relationships through it - but I also saw a lot that concerned me including:
- attack - I saw some of the most vicious and personal attacks on people that I've ever experienced in online forums. Having spent the last year blogging in the wider blogging community I can honestly say that while there is bickering across the whole blogosphere - that what I saw in the 'Christian blogging community' was often at the more vicious end of the spectrum. At times (and especially in the first year) I found myself being drawn into this negativity at times (something I'm not proud of) and at times found the God Blog community took more life than it gave.
- insular focus - Something that I wrote about many times on this blog was the insular nature of the 'God Blog Community'. I saw some amazing and rich discussion on many occasions (I don't want to paint it as all bad - it wasn't by any means) yet I saw a distinct lack of Christian bloggers engaging with the wider blogging community. I think I used the term 'holy huddle' on many occasions in my critique of the Christian blogging community - on reflection I'm not sure if my critique was completely fair. I do see the need for 'holy huddles' from time to time - I think it's a biblical thing to gather with fellow believers for worship, learning and encouragement - however I also see a call for action/engagement/mission/justice. These were things that I felt a distinct lack of of within the Christian blogging community.
At LivingRoom we have three core values/journeys - inner journey (worship, prayer - spiritual formation), outer journey (mission, justice, service) and together journey (community, fellowship etc). If I was to 'review' the God Blog community as it stood a year ago I would have rated it pretty highly on the 'inner' and 'together' journeys (although as I've written above there was also a lot of disunity) but I would have been forced to rate it pretty low on the 'outer' journey.
It was this area of lacking that was probably largely the reason that I've slowly withdrawn from active participation in the 'God Blog' community and an increased involvement in the wider blogging world.
I have been amazed by what I've found as I've undergone this transition. I don't wish to discuss all of these lessons and experiences here in a public forum (because much of it has to do with individuals who I have had opportunity to build wonderful and personal relationships with) however I will say that in the past 12 months of blogging outside of (or less connected with) 'God Blog' circles I've found and experienced God working in some pretty profound ways. I've also seen God's invitation to join him in his work both in the lives of individuals but also on a larger scale.
I'm also really encouraged to see quite a few Christian bloggers exploring similar things - some of whom have in the past (and even continue) to participate in 'God Blogging' but many of who have widened their focus.
I'm not sure this has been one of my more articulate posts - I've been considering writing it for months but have hesitated for fear of it being seen as a critique - but I guess I'm interested to see if anyone else has been pondering any of these things. Perhaps the God Blogging community has changed in the last 12 months since I've pulled back - I hope it has - but I'd be keen to hear of how others view the health of the God blogging community? Where is it strong, where is it in need of growth and how has it been changing and growing?
21 September, 2005 6:10 PM
I've been quiet of late because I'm working on some new projects and finishing up some old ones.
The emerging church research I've been doing for three local denominations finishes up in a couple of weeks and today we (two other bloggers and myself) launched a new blog network called b5media which so far consists of 14 blogs on a range of topics.
It's a pretty massive project but has loads of potential. We're still in beta testing but would love to get any feedback you have on it.
18 August, 2005 4:00 PM
I just met one of the first bloggers that I ever read back a couple of years ago - Martin Roth. I was really sad when he stopped blogging a year or so back but today was really excited to see that he's baaack! His new blog is on the same domain but has a different spin to it - it's on the niche topic of Southern Gospel Music. Check it out at Southern Gospel Beat. All the best with the new blog Martin!
13 February, 2005 9:23 AM
Thanks to those who have placed a vote for my ProBlogger blog on the Business Blogging awards. Voting is getting close so if you havn't cast your vote yet head over to the Best Overall Blog category - check out ProBlogger and if you like what you see - add your support. Thanks again.
9 February, 2005 9:34 AM
I'd like to introduce you to a good friend who has just started a blog, John Jensen - otherwise known as the rev.
John describes his blog as 'the ramblings of a fighter, pastor, artist, husband, and father' which are some good words to describe who he is. In short I'd describe John as one of the more interesting people I've met in the emerging church scene - many layers yet underneath a genuine and incredibly giving heart. He's living in Melbourne but is originally from elsewhere (but we love him anyway). Here is his profile from his blog - if it doesn't get you over there nothing will:
'Rasberry is my favorite Jello flavor. My wife is a blue belt. Sometimes I eat too much cheese. My daughters make me feel old. I have had seventeen kidney stones, but still drink too much coffee. I like art museums, red wine, dancing and quiche. I use product in my hair, like shopping for shoes, and cry at movies. I like women. I can bench press 275 lbs, except when I am on the OG then I bench press twice as much. CROWNTOWNPUNKS I like Thai food better than Thai boxing. I think bullfighting is a beautiful art form. I don't love the smell of Napalm in the morning. I think Chuck Palahniuk is a poor mans David Foster Wallace. Bukowski makes me want to be a writer. Rothko makes me want to be a painter. Jesus makes me want to be a better man. Ringo was my favorite Beatle. I really like peanut butter on a hot English Muffin. Soccer is stupid. Cricket is better than baseball. Wrestling is the toughest olympic sport, but sometimes it looks pretty gay, not that there is anything wrong with that. Beating up pacifists is like shooting fish in a barrel. The Tick was a great cartoon. my brother Keith is funny. I am scared of horses.'
So please go over and meet John - say g'day - you won't be disappointed I'm sure.
25 January, 2005 11:09 AM
A few readers have asked me recently why I haven't been doing many 'blog tips' recently - It's actually been a while since I've stopped writing about blogging specifically on this blog - a few months back I decided to move all my Blog tips over to a new blog at ProBlogger. Over there I'm writing about the lessons I'm learning as someone who earns a living from blogging as well the latest relevant blogging news and some other general blog tips.
The move has gone well so far and I've 'met' some pretty amazing bloggers through it from around the globe who are doing some highly innovative blogging.
So if its blog tips you're after - that is where you should head.
11 January, 2005 5:29 PM
I'm really pleased to announce a new blogging project that I've been working on for the past few days - Depression News - a blog that will report the latest news and information about the symptoms and treatment of Depression. It is still in beta form but is at a stage where I'm happy for people to start to use it.
Over the past 10 years in my work as a minister I have encountered many people who suffer from depression and have always had an interest in seeing them reach their potential in terms of health. In more recent years I have had more personal confrontations with depression and have always kept an eye on the latest news on treatment and studies into it. I am also passionate about advocating on behalf of those who suffer from depression or mental illness.
It seemed natural to extend this personal interest in the topic into a blog where others could benefit from my own research.
I have felt a growing urge within me in recent months to look for ways to extend my blogging in a direction where it not only is about making me money or satisfying the consumeristic urges of my readers to have the latest gadget - Depression News is one of the responses that I'm making and is an project that I hope to repeat many times over in the future as I develop my blogging.
Depression News is being hosted with the Breaking News Blog collective and uses Word Press as its backbone. I am funding it (and hoping to raise a few dollars for a local mental health charity) using Google's Adsense and Amazon Affiliateship at present but am also open to other forms of sponsorship. The design is based upon one from Cre8d design but tweaked quite a bit in CSS by me.
I hope that you or someone that you know finds it a helpful resource. I'm open to it becoming a group blog if others wish to join in with some posting - at present it is focused more upon news and information but I would like to also add some personal stories. Just let me know if you'd like to get involved. Your comments suggestions on design and features are also welcome in comments below or via email.
10 January, 2005 9:51 PM
Bene Diction's Blog is having some issues at the moment - If you've been looking for it you can get it here til it goes back up on the normal domain.
8 December, 2004 7:59 AM
Bene asks 'Why do you Blog' - thought I'd give it a go.
My reasons for blogging have changed quite a bit since I started. Originally I just wanted a place to record my journey, to keep ideas and to talk out loud as I sorted through what I was doing and thinking. I also saw it as something of a discipline that would help shape and refine me. I reflect upon these reasons now and think it was a fairly insular view of blogging - all about me really. My ideas soon evolved to also include a relational aspect to blogging.
It didn't take long to realize that blogging wasn't just about bloggers themselves but that it was a medium that had incredible potential to connect people with one another. Blogging became about mutual learning relationships, sharing ideas and experiences and building friendships.
23 November, 2004 3:58 PM
Looks like Emerging Church Bloggers are hitting it big time now - Jordon Cooper and Leighton Teebay have made it to the Wikipedia!!! Although by the looks of the 'candidate for speedy deletion' note on the entries they may not be there long!
12 November, 2004 5:24 PM
Congratulations to Rachel and Regan who have just taken out an the 'Best Youth Site in New Zealand' award for IdolBlog.
Looks like all that hard work has paid off!
4 November, 2004 2:09 PM
The Salvation Army's War Cry magazine did a feature story a couple of weeks back on Christian bloggers. They are based in Melbourne and so as a Christian, Blogger and Melbournian I was the lucky guy to get photographed for the cover. Anyway - the article wasn't online until just now when Bene typed it up at Connexions (great job Bene). So now you can head over and read the full article which features comments from Bene, Martin, Gordon and myself.
4 November, 2004 8:03 AM
I just linked up to the best blogging story that I've seen for ages over at ProBlogger and I couldn't help but post it here also. I'd like to introduce you to the blog of 8 year old Professional Blogger - Delaney who is blogging over at Horseshues.com.
The blog is an attempt by her to earn enough money to buy a horse. The concept is simple - she takes old horseshoes and she decorates them and sells them from her blog for $15US. Its quite the little cottage industry.
She's already made enough to pay back her parents for the set up costs and now she's saving for the horse!
What a great idea - head on over to Horseshues.com and leave some encouragement and buy a horse shoe!
1 November, 2004 3:54 PM
Thanks to Ganns at Superblessed for a Christian Blog Award - I appreciate the encouragement Ganns - you really are an encouragement to so many of us.
Thanks to Bene for letting me know about it - I'd missed it while traveling over the past week. Congrats also Bene for taking out the top award!
8 October, 2004 12:35 AM
Can I introduce you to another Melbourne guy who's exploring what it is to do the communal faith thing in this great city I find myself living in. His name is Pete and he's a guy I've got a lot of time for - although don't end up seeing too much these days. But now I can in a virtual sense because he's blogging. Here's a snippet of his first post describing the community he finds himself in.
"I have been told that we do not really 'worship the Lord' because we don't have music, 'its more a Bible study than a real Church' and I love this one, 'this is a cutting edge church'. To be honest we a group of people trying to understand faith in the context of our homes, workplaces and the greater world we live in. We are not trying to be an amazing new cutting edge venture. Sometimes I would love to fall back into being a charasmatic movement with singing and preaching from the platform and rosters and structure, but that would be far removed from our call and expression as a group of people."
Read more at Rivett: A another new Begining
5 October, 2004 7:35 PM
Wayne has a good post on Activist Blogs. He writes - "Activist blogs usually are single issue, and for good reason. The blogger wishes to concentrate the entire blog's efforts toward a single goal....
Whether you are tying to change the world, or just your own little corner, activist blogs might provide the ideal outlet for your ambitions."
It's similar thinking to what I was trying to express in my post about blogging giving a voice to the voiceless a few weeks back.
Wayne points to Trudy W. Schuett's who is an avid blogger (she has as many blogs as I do!) who runs Desert Light Journal - a blog tackling issues of Domestic Violence.
Another good Activist Blog is Gambling Watch Global which keeps an eye on gambling issues.
This is still an issue I'm pondering and wondering how to respond to. Anyone else thinking through this stuff? Know of any good activist Blogs for me to take a look at?
5 October, 2004 1:55 PM
I'm running this competition on my other blogs and thought some of you might like to participate.
Do you own a digital camera, printer, scanner or camera phone? Would you like the chance to win a $100 (US) gift from Amazon simply by writing a short review of your experiences with it?
Digital Photography Blog, in conjunction with Camera Phone Zone and Printer Blog are giving you the chance to win a $100 gift voucher from Amazon for each review of a printer, scanner, digital camera, camera phone or photo editing software package. You get one chance in the draw for each review submitted in the next 30 days. Entries close on 5th November 2004. Please carefully read the following Conditions and Guidelines before submitting entries.
Entries should be submitted via email to Darren at:
darren at livingroom.org.au or by using this contact form (please ensure you leave a contact email address so that we can contact you regarding your prize if drawn on November 5).
Conditions of entry:
- Reviews will be published on one or more of the above mentioned blogs.
- Reviews must be at least 500 words in length and include a rating out of 10.
- Reviews must be your original work.
- We don't mind if your review has been previously published but we would like to know the URL of where it appears (we will publish a link to it).
- The prize is a $100 gift certificate from Amazon. You may spend it in any way you wish. We will purchase and forward the certificate via email within 14 days of the announcement of your winning the competition.
- If you would like to include a link back to your own blog in your review we would be happy to credit you in this way.
- You may submit as many reviews as you wish and will receive one entry into the competition for each entry. The more you submit the better your chances of winning the $100 gift.
- You may write the review in a format that suits you but we would strongly recommend that you include some or all of the following categories in your format.
- We reserve the right to reject any reviews that do not meet the above requirements or that we feel do not meet a reasonable standard - if we do this you will not receive an entry into the competition. Your reviews do not need to be super technical - but they do need to be reasonably written and show genuine knowledge of and experience with the product under review. We reserve the right to do some editing of the reviews for spelling, grammar and other reasons.
Suggested Review Format/Categories
- Introduction to the cameras features
- Your First Impressions
- Description/Comments on Layout and Design of Product
- Description/Comments on Quality of results (images, printing, scanning, phone) produced
- Description/Comments on Ease of Use/Usability
- Comments on Value for money
- General Comments/Recommendations
- Rating out of 10 and your reasoning for such a rating
- You may wish to provide 1 or two sample pictures with your review
- What you like/What you don't like
- Any relevant links/sources for your review
Once again - we're not after highly technical reviews (although if you're a techy person please submit them) - rather we want real comments about digital imaging products from real users. So be yourself - speak the truth about the product and send your reviews in.
1 October, 2004 3:53 PM
Rachel at Cre8d Design asks the question Which Blog or Blogger do you Aspire to be Like?
'I’m looking for a list of blogs you’d like your blog to be like - what is it about these blogs that makes you say this? Their hits, creativity, ideas, humour, interesting stories, breaking news, community of commenters?'
Head over and answer the question there.
29 September, 2004 5:19 PM
Calling all bloggers - lay your top 5 blog tips on me. I've been asked to write 200-300 words on blogging for a national publication with a few blog tips for beginners in it. I'm going to put 5 short and simple tips to help people who have little or no idea about blogging together and would love your input. So give me your top few - keep them short, simple and sweet. Will write the piece (and post it here) tomorrow so you've got 12 or so hours! Thanks
24 September, 2004 4:26 PM
I know one or two of your out there are going to think I've completely lost it now but I've started another blog.
One of the constant pieces of criticism/feedback that I've had here on this blog is that I tend to talk too much about blogging - especially blogging to make revenue. I personally don't see the problem with having that topic covered in the fuller mix of this blog (which is a reflection of who I am and what I do) but I can understand that the topic doesn't appeal at all to some of you.
As a result I've started a more focussed blog for those of us interested in creating revenue streams from our blogs and finding ways to make them self sustainable and even income earners. It is called ProBlogger and it is currently very blue (forgive my basic webdesign skills - I'm still working on it).
This will allow me to post more freely on the topic without worrying what impact doing so is having on some of my readership. This will allow posting on this blog to be more focused upon my own life and that of the LivingRoom - with a mixture of other general silliness from around the web. All my old Blog Tips are now both here on this blog and over there - but all new future ones will only appear on the new site.
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