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?