Why Blog?

When asked if blogs are valuable at all, Dr. Carl Trueman says:

Few strengths. It’s all too anarchic. I think fun and information sharing are the best it can do. Weaknesses: feeds narcissism; allows any old nutcase to present themselves as a serious player in theological and ecclesiastical discussion.

Certainly Dr. Carl has a point here. Blogging often can and does feed pride. Do I frequent my hit counter too often? Sadly, the answer probably is, “yes”. The blog can be a meter of fluctuating self-worth as you observe who is linking to you and who and how many people come to your blog. This is can be a serious form of addictive self-idolatry and needs to be fought at all costs. I have found that taking a blog fast is a good means to fight this sin of pride through blogging. It can be a serious time waster as well. Often I feel the nag in my soul that I am missing out on something important if I don’t frequent my Google Reader enough. This sense of urgency can be addictive and I can feel the need to “check in” too much.

Being aware of these danger and perhaps unaware of others, here is why I blog:

1. Practice writing. Writing is a skill just like anything else. The more you do the better you get. The ability to formulate ideas and thoughts in a conscise and understandable way is a foudational facet of our civilization that I seek to improve in.

2. A place to document my thoughts. Oftentimes I don’t know how I feel about an issue until I actually articulate it in a way that someone else could read and understand (as I am doing right now). It forces me to think specifically and concretely about something as opposed to just have this amorphous blob of thinking about an issue rolling around in my brain. In terms of documentation, I also have a blog all about my kids that tracks their development. It functions like a baby book but better because I can upload pictures, videos and write out quickly and easily things that they said or did that we’ll want to remember in 20 years. For certain, grandparents who live hundreds of miles away greatly value this blogging.

3. A place to document other people’s thoughts that I want to share with others. This can be a form of indirect community encouragement as I communicate things that I deem valuable or insightful.

4. A place to document other people’s thoughts that I can easily access to in the future. For example, I often find in preparing for a teaching that I have to do at church my mind will quickly revert back to something I posted a long time ago. Maybe it was something on humility by C.J. Mahaney. All I have to do is type his name into my blog’s search engine and I will have it. This has proved very useful for me as my blog size continues to increase. The longer I blog, the more information I amass, but it doesn’t take up massive amounts of shelf space in my office.

5. A context for community. Certainly this kind of “community” is limited and superficial, but it is community none the less. Many of my friends from college who I would not keep in touch with otherwise, have blogs that I read and comment on and vice versa. I have also met many people through blogs that I would not have otherwise met and have benefited from the cyber-relationship that takes place via email and comments sections.

6. Entertainment. You have to admit that this is seriously funny. Come on. Entertainment should be low on the priority list, but it’s still on the list.

So these are my reasons. Are there dangers? Certainly, but for now, I feel as though the benefits outweigh the costs. Fellow bloggers, what would you add to this list and what other dangers do you recognize?


2 responses to “Why Blog?

  1. Here are my comments from a previous e-mail:

    I’ll be interested to see Z’s blog on anti-blogging, but my initial reaction is amen. I’ve
    always thought blogs ‘could’ be a huge waste of my time and energy…to say nothing of
    the fact that I’m no where near smart enough to beat JT to the fresh meat nor creative
    enough to think something up on my own EVERY DAY. Here is my mini-thought process
    on the ‘why’ of our group blog.

    1. Lots of us are displaced students, thus a place, be it a cyber-place, where we can
    talk, post papers, lecture notes, and just keep in touch is helpful.
    2. Because its a group effort, no worries on being creative every day, much less
    wasting your time surfing the net to find the coolest new thing that’s already been posted
    by 87 other people.
    3. Personally, since I’m still in school (of sorts) our group blog has helped me continue
    to flush out my ideas in sort of a ‘real world simulation.’ So, like the Goodwin guy, my
    motive is really just to learn, grow, and put up what I’m thinking. At this point, we really
    don’t get many comments that are hateful (or not worth our time) so I’m not sure how I
    would deal with that.
    4. Friendship is a huge issue here as well. This has been a cool way for me to keep in
    relative touch with a few buddies around the country. Its also helped to motivate me in my
    studies of things controversial, like baptism and two-kingdom stuff (in a friendly context).
    5. Last, I’ll readily admit that all of this good can quickly slip into bad if I let a ‘blog’ get too
    much attention and priority. Even on our best day, we only had 180 hits, so lets be real, we’re
    really the only ones reading this thing. If that’s the case, it should be a fun/informational place
    where bros can dialogue and not feel any pressure if they’re MIA for a few weeks.

    In fact, the very posing of this question begs the answer we’re all currently contributing. So, even
    though this isn’t a blog…its pretty much the same in my book. Bottom line is: we have to be careful
    that all of our fun/communicating, etc, gives glory to God and doesn’t feel narcissism.

  2. For the most part, I agree with Dr. Trueman’s words here, and they partially explain why, at the present time, I don’t have my own blog. It’s too easy to for it to become a self-focused, self-concerned activity that feeds off itself and takes up time that could be spent in serious study of God’s word, prayer, and ministry out in the physical world. I fear that this can sometimes be the case even as we are attempting to keep the focus on God and give all glory to Him in our blogging. Having said that, I am obviously glad that others do blogs, especially Christians– but if it ever became a spiritual hindrance to a blogger, I would want him/her to pray about it, evaluate the situation, and be willing to stop.

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