I've been blogging for more than four years now. What has changed in the last year is that I'm spending more time reading what others are writing rather than solely concentrating on my own words.
There are incredibly bright men and women, people of intense faith and devotion, blogging. At one time I considered myself intelligent, but some of the folks blogging today are on some plane of intellect that makes me feel like I'm five and back on the Uncle Al show.
I don't think a time in history has ever existed when so many people have so much opportunity to influence others via the written word. Just seeing the names of other familiar bloggers in the comment section of yet another blogger's site is enough to tell me that collected wisdom is getting around.
But I'm also seeing another trend, one that others are just now acknowledging. Our brains are routinely getting filled with knowledge, but if other bloggers are like me, putting all that we know into practice is suffering. We're accumulating facts, but are we increasingly unable to take what we know and translate that into being the Body of Christ to the world?
My head is full, but my hand is too often empty.
This is what it says in 2nd Peter 1:5-8 (ESV):
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Knowledge comes at the beginning of the process, but love is the final goal. How are we expressing that love to a broken world?
We may know the differences between Moltmann and Barth, Knox and Zwingli, but do we know the names of our neighbors? Have they ever been in our homes? Have we broken bread with them? Have we asked them what we can pray for? Have we been the first ones at their doorstep with food when there is a sickness—or for no other reason than that we care about them?
I understand that it's hard in the fractured society we live in to reach out to strangers. Loving those we do not know well is exceedingly difficult. But do we even love our brethren in Christ? When was the last time we visited the shut-ins from our own churches? Do we invite new members to our homes for a meal? Are we actively seeking out visitors? Do we keep in touch with the people who were essential to our coming to faith and our growth afterwards? Are we showing the brotherly kindness that leads to love?
Years ago, I believed that knowing was everything. Yet now that my head is filled with more Christian knowledge than it seems I can ever fully comprehend, I'm no longer satisfied with adding more. Unless I'm putting all that knowledge into practical service to the lost and to my brothers and sisters in Christ, have I not become that useless resounding gong that Paul warned of?
Words matter, but actions matter just as much.
That is why I'm proposing something so radical that it may not only change the Christian blogosphere, it may very well change the world: Let's stop the words for a week and instead substitute action. Let's put all that we know into practice.
I'm calling all Christian bloggers to step away from their computers from November 20-26. Rather than add one more word of theology, one more complaint about the way things are versus how they should be, let's take all that we have learned in our blog travels and use it to further the Kingdom by putting it all into action. Let's take our blogging time and dedicate it instead to making a personal difference in our neighborhoods, churches, and the world.
In the midst of that week, what can we do that we've never done before? Work at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving Day? Visit an elderly mentor whom we've lost contact with? Talk to someone in our neighborhood we've never spoken to?
And if you're the kind of person who's mastered all that, what else can you do that you've never attempted before for the Lord? Perhaps you can call a missions organization and have them send you a list of missionaries from your local area. You could begin praying for those folks or even send them money, books, or a card saying you're lifting them up before the throne. Maybe you could offer to watch the pastor's kids so that he and his wife could have a night alone. Or you could rake the leaves of the neighbor you've been trying to witness to for years with words, but never with actions.
Blogging can become our comfort zone if we let it. But that isn't the Lord's desire of us. Can we do this, folks? Can we turn off the computers and take a week to reach out with the truth and love of Christ in a way that changes others and changes us along the way? In a week when we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, can we give thanks back to the Lord for all He's done for us by making this happen?
November 20-26: Blog-out for the Kingdom.
Folks, what can we do that week to change the world for Jesus?
16 thoughts on “Changing the Christian Blogosphere (and the World) Forever”
AWESOME!!! I was going to start my own blog back up but maybe I won’t. I think maybe I should find a better use for my time. I’d only be adding more words to the soup and I think perhaps I could find a better way to use my time. I’m going to pray about it. Great idea Dan.
Count me in!
Too much knowledge and ideas are the curse of the information age when they leave us paralysed into inactivity, either through their addictive nature that keeps us hooked or because we become too thoroughly aware of all the fors-and-againsts of any potential action and can’t make a choice.
I have written on a similar theme in The Lamplight Challenge. Time to practice what we preach.
I am with you in spirit, Dan, but I won’t be taking a week off from blogging or whatever, just to do the thing I am told I should be doing all the time. What you suggest here is nothing new — God has required it of us all along, but he has done it without all the hype and self-centredness that goes with it (Sometimes it is good that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing).
I believe a formulaic approach to ‘doing good’ smacks of legalism, or will lead in that direction. It is too easily measured according to worldly terms, and too easily judged through some self-comforting analytical framework of self-justification, the standard where self initiates the terms of satisfaction and becomes the default. So, what happens at the end of the week? A host of time-consuming (and self-congratulatory?) posts on what transpired in the real atmosphere where we live as opposed to the abstract blogosphere? And what happens to the next week, and the next, and the next?
I took some time to respond to your query about whether Christian Blogging was a waste of time, here http://ceruleansanctum.com/2005/10/christian-blogging-waste-of-time.html#comments You will find much of what you have alluded to in this present post in my comments there. (But I never heard from you — which made me wonder whether commenting was actually the biggest time-waster of all).
I also wrote at another time (CS Friday, April 29, 2005) about making the difference right where we were at in life, especially in regard to those people who came across our path on a daily basis, and even visit our home. Remember your rant about poor customer service, especially the cable/ISP guy in your home, or some such person? But, I was counselled to aggree to disagree, which is the lowest common denominator of all.
The big difference is what I was talking about wasn’t just a week of doing good toward our neighbour, but about doing it all the time. As I said previously, “I believe the greatest challenge for Christian bloggers is to back up their blogging with their feet on the ground in their local community WHERE THEY LIVE.”
I am really pleased you put out a call to do what is the basics of living a Christian life in front of the people where we live. But it saddens me to see it couched with such hubris. “The Cerulean Sanctum post that will forever change the Christian blogosphere (as well as the world as we know it) is coming soon….” Why all the grandiose terms for something so elementary? What is the purpose for such a style? To be seen as being at the ‘cutting edge’? To put up the ‘thing’ to change the world, or the alleged ‘Christian blogosphere’? I find it all rather bizarre, actually, in a sad kind of way.
Dan, you have some really important things to say, and God has blessed you with a such mind to explore issues richly and present so much good stuff. But, please, tone down the puffy rhetoric and the “alls” and “everythings” and “everywheres” and the power-posts and anything else that postulates a complete understanding or control of whatever. “I’m calling all Christian bloggers to step away from their computers from November 20-26.” Really? It seems that such as superior position only weakens whatever really good stuff you have to say. There are much better ways of going about encouraging people to do this or that.
I would encourage you to take your present post and read it against what I wrote about elsewhere as mentioned. I think you will see that the very ones to whom you encourage us to go and be with, those in the “broken world”, as you say, are really messed up bigtime, even the ISP/cable guy. Unless we have a generous attitude to them regardless of their disposition, and inherent weaknesses and generally depraved condition then any masterly, blog-free week of Christian flag-flying will be a nonsense and something engaged in for our sake, to assuage our guilt, rather than a life lived in the power of Jesus for their sake. In that regard, love isn’t “the final goal”, it is the process, the living, the outworking of our faith — the goal will take care of itself!
For those that go out for the week in a good spirit then may the blessing of God be with each one of you. Just leave your rulers behind.
Mmmm … I assumed the title of this post was slighty “tongue in cheek”. Dan?
I am in. I will try and post a response today. In what area is the Lord really trying to grow me personally?? It certainly isn’t growth in knowledge but mission work.
My post will have very little influence in this particular corner of the blogsphere. But I thought I should let poetpete in on something.
Dan IS living out his Christianity in good works, in his daily life. I know that for a fact, being the recipient at a hard-pressed time, when I didn’t think anyone out there was called to be God’s helping hand for me. Not only given his charity in practical ways, during my time of need, but also given charity in spiritual ways, out of the goodness of an upright soul for Christ.
Not only did he give help, he also did something far, far more important: he WAS the spirit of Christ for me.
I knew from his attitude that, were I to come to him again in real need, he would not only do what he could, but would not resent it.
He was the first person that made me feel that way. Others may have tried to do the right thing, and I still remember them in my “please bless” prayers, but Dan was the first one who gave straight from the heart of Christ, and made me feel things were going to be alright. I felt as if I had somewhere to turn, and that it was trusted that I wouldn’t abuse that- a trust that meant the world to me, because I wouldn’t abuse it.
I’m sorry if I’ve embarrassed you, Dan~ that isn’t my intention. But I felt that others should realize more of what you bring to the table in your life.
I felt what Dan was talking about here was more about a call to step up the quality of your Walk- not that he wasn’t doing it in his day to day life, already, but that the glut of knowledge was taking too much of his time, and he was attuned enough to understand that Call to step up the number of his works, and set aside the knowledge-gaining for a time.
If I don’t comment on your comments, it’s not that I’m not reading them. I try to acknowledge all new readers, plus I try to thank every blogger who posts something on his/her blog that references one of my posts (that takes a lot of time sometimes.)
If I don’t comment on a reader’s post, nine times out of ten it’s only because what they said in the comment was so good, I had nothing to add.
Pete, you are a very lucid writer and pack so much good stuff in your posts that I hardly feel the need to add anything. I know there have been times when I have commented, but usually I don’t feel a need to add anything to the good things you say.
As far as the hyperbole in the post preceding and the title of this one, I did that for two reasons: one, to be a siren to get people to read this, and two, because I believe it is true. If we try something a bit more difficult in the way we serve people, some way of reaching out that we’ve never tried before, then it will change us and change the world. I honestly believe that! If the people who read this blog—most of whom are other bloggers—do this, then I think that the Lord will bless it.
Yes, we should be doing all those things I mentioned in the post, but we’re not. I read enough blogs to know that some bloggers have lamented that they don’t know their neighbors. I also know that sometimes people, good Christian people, need to feel like someone is giving them permission to do things for Christ. Yes, that’s a little nutty, but it’s the way it is. How many times has your church had someone up front put out a call for volunteers for the children’s ministry, or for musicians, or ushers, only to get no takers? But when someone asks someone personally to do consider stepping into one of those roles, they do step up and volunteer. Human nature? Probably, some of that, and probably some of the disconnection we feel with our own gifts.
This post is all about inspiring people. What ministry have you always wanted to attempt that you’ve never done? Nov 20-26 is your time to go for it!
In the coming days, I’d like to brainstorm ideas on how we can make a difference, taking our regular blogging time, both reading and writing, to put back into the Kingdom in a way that goes beyond throwing out more words or taking in more knowledge. Those ideas can be of any kind. I think that encouraging people who have encouraged us in the Faith is a great way to express that. How about sitting down and crafting a handwritten letter to each of those people? Or asking them for their prayer needs, rather than us asking them to consider ours? Take some brownies over to a neighbor we don’t know and let them know that your home is always open, no matter what they need, and let them know that you are praying for them every day. Ask them if they have any prayer needs that you could even pray for right then and there, and that you could continue to pray for.
I don’t consider any of this legalistic in any way. A little calculated, perhaps, but that’s not the same as being legalistic. Challenging other people to get out there is not legalism, but encouragement.
Pete, what ministry would you like to do that you have never attempted? What grates against your own comfort zone? Would you attempt such a thing that week?
And yes, I want to hear the stories that come out of this. Nothing would encourage me more than to hear that some blogger stopped off to talk with his elderly neighbor and offered then to clean her house for her, all in the name of Jesus. Can’t those kinds of things open doors for us to communicate the Gospel to the people who live in our own cities, towns, and villages?
That’s the spirit behind Blog-out for the Kingdom. After readong a few blogs where people were lamenting all the accumulated knowledge without the praxis, the Lord burned that into my heart that this was true and that we could do something about it.
Hope this explains more. Thanks for being a regular reader and contributor.
I’m glad you posted. Things have been tough around here; there have been a lot of disappointments and the return of questions as to whether we’re going to make it here or not. Your post made my day on what is promising to be a gloomy SW Ohio day.
Thanks for understanding the goal of what I am proposing.
First off, I’ll probably be travelling for some portion of that week, so I’ll be away from the terminal no matter what else I do. ;-}
Second, I’m sure you’re aware that many of the best bloggers out there, the ones worth reading, are not “professional” bloggers. They have lives outside the internet. They are pastors, teachers, workers, parents. And their working out their faith in real life is precisely what makes what they say in their blogs worth reading. I’m not so sure that they are the ones who need this advice or this challenge.
And the ones who do need this advice aren’t the type who read this sort of blog anyways – they’re too busy trolling theology debate blogs looking for fights to pick.
Why not take this post a step further? Form a group of bloggers who want to roll up their sleves and be the arms of Jesus, then post what all has been done in maybe another group blog that doesn’t need to be fancy. This could be a light and encouragement to others. That way the blogging and doing go hand in hand, and the ones that way to keep blogging about other things can.
I work for a small non-profit agency and we have to account for the good that we do; it is not self-promotion but it is for accountability.
You already have a few good souls ready to start.
I think I get it, Dan. It’s not just about laying down blogging for a few days. It’s about being available and obedient and getting out of whatever rut we’ve dug ourselves into.
Bless you, brother. May your gloomy SW Ohio day get a good dose of sunshine.
“Let’s take our blogging time and dedicate it instead to making a personal difference in our neighborhoods, churches, and the world.”
Well, when I blog(which hasn’t been much recently) it’s usually around 11 or 12 at night. I’m not so sure my neighbors want to see me standing on the front porch at that time of night… 🙂
This post has entered the stream of my thought at a key point and seemed to be yet another prod in a more radical direction. You deepened my pondering. I am sure this was not the effect you had planned but thankyou; it will change the Christian Blogosphere forever as far as I am concerned, and maybe even my life. I have decided to close down my little web empire over the next couple of weeks, delete my blogs, limit my access and dial down my email activity so I can get back to those things that bring life to me and others close to me. As you are one of the few people I have met online that I have felt a real connection with, I hope we can stay in touch. Let me have your snail mail by email if you will.
I explain in more depth in my latest post at The Light Is Sweet but will be deleting that presently. Your blog has been a great blessing, I’ll still read it on my occasional visits to the library 🙂
Stay in touch.
Interesting idea. I can guess how I will cope with the withdrawal symptoms, though. I’ll probably have to start smoking. Next year I’ll do the Smoke Out to quit smoking.
Always in search of an idol or distraction,
I won’t be stepping away from my blog. Anyone who reads it knows a whole week can transpire without a post anyway – as I am busy in the offline world. I don’t see the need for an either/or – and I would be careful about calling “all Christian” bloggers to do something when God may actually want them to do the opposite. i.e. He may very well want some people to blog that week. He hasn’t indicated to me that he doesn’t want me blogging that week.
I won’t go into a list of my own activities. I did leave a comment on a couple of blogs recently about people not knowing their neighbours. However it is quite possible to blog and do the things you have suggested – and I see no reason to split the two. I do both.
I think you sometimes say some good things here but I have noticed a trend of commenting on bloggers in general terms in some posts – and I think those generalisations don’t always reflect the diversity that exists. What is “the Christian blogosphere”? It isn’t a circumscribed discreet entity. And why “all Christian bloggers” that week? Or were you thinking of American bloggers for Thanksgiving (I really don’t know).
I don’t think your post really gets to the heart of the issue you are addressing. The content of some blogs might change if some blogers were more involved with their neighbours and community. Perhaps some people would stop blogging. Perhaps some people would blog more.
No offence but this is sort of pep rally sounding stuff to me. I would say let each person pray and put their conscience before the Lord.
Some people may waste time on the internet. Some don’t. I just don’t see the need for a week of not blogging. It won’t change anything for me – I already take a week away when necessary and I blog when it’s right for me to do so. I know others who do the same.
I have to agree that the title of the post does come across as hyped up. I appreciate your enthusiasm to see the body at work out where needed – but I don’t see the need to stop blogging in order to do that. As I said, I do both.
Where the rubber meets the road…
I overheard a co-worker and someone in his cube from another department, in the cube accross from mine, and the guy was telling the story a recent accident that has left his hand swollen and severly damaged internally. I popped in and listened, then asked him if he prayed, if he was a believer in God (I didn’t know this fellow). He mumbled a “sorta…” and I said, “well, may I pray for you?” Since people rarely say “no” when you ask them this, he let me pray!
Now…. it’s up to God! What will He do? It’s an adventure!
Please join me in continuing to pray for this guy, named Alex, and the healing of not only his hand but his heart and that he’d know Jesus through this!