"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
September 20, 2006

Blogging Takes Courage

You put your name to a blog, put your ideas and your life out in public, open yourself up to criticism and comment from anyone, anywhere in the world. That takes courage! It might be insane, it might ruin your career prospects, it might be hard for some people to understand. But it takes courage […]

You put your name to a blog, put your ideas and your life out in public, open yourself up to criticism and comment from anyone, anywhere in the world.

That takes courage!

It might be insane, it might ruin your career prospects, it might be hard for some people to understand.

But it takes courage Рdon’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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Responses
John Smulo 16 years ago

True, true, true.

Except perhaps for me when I intentionally don’t say some things, for example in response to one of your comments on my blog today, because of concerns of fall out or misunderstanding.

Tough balance.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

You know those movies where everyone seems to say the clever on-topic things and the dialogue flows smoothy from one conversation to the next?

Yeah, I hate those too!

What I like about blogs is that there is genuine disagreement, but more importantly there is lots of near agreement. That’s when people who share purpose and direction almost connect, but don’t quite there. Unlike static websites and books (and commentless blogs), comments on a blog allow scope for people who nearly agree to converse.

If there is something that really pains me in church circles is the number of “near” conversations that never get off the ground. I guess it is a function of time, context and culture, but there are so many conversations that nearly go well, but don’t, that nearly build networks and lasting relationships, but don’t.

Of course, with every conversation comes the possibility of misunderstanding. That’s why trust is so important. For me, the idea of giving people “the benefit of the doubt” (like umpires in cricket), has become really important in the last few years. If I’m not sure of someone’s intentions, either ask them to expand on what they are saying, or just assume they have good intentions.

Of course some people makes comments just to “get a rise.” It’s a part of the Australian “sense of humour” that I am not found of. The funny thing is, often when you treat someone who is doing that as though they were trying to actually have a conversation, it either defuses the humour or, more often, leads to a real conversation.

One thing I am starting to wonder about is that some people I now in the real world, who either view blogs harshly, or struggle with the idea of blog comments, often have a very regulated view of conversations (lots of rules, not easy to question, etc). With any open format communication like blog comments, or fora, we can’t have too many rules we expect others to follow.

Blogging is not like preaching.

John Smulo 16 years ago

Yeah, blogging is not like preaching. And all the reasons it is not like preaching, are the reasons that I most like about blogging. What does this say to me about this preaching I do most weeks? Not sure.

Preaching to me is like blogs with comments, and I really dislike blogs without comments.

I like when people agree with my blog posts, I like when they partially agree, and I really am fine when they totally disagree. But I’m not fine with people who go beyond disagreement to personal attack. I’ve had so much of this, particularly with the stuff I’ve written on new religious movements, as well as my view of women and the church, that I’m more nervous than I wish I was to be as publicly open about some things. Sad, but true.

John Smulo 16 years ago

Let me try that again: Preaching to me is like blogs without comments, and I really dislike blogs without comments.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

John, I’ll be honest, the content of my first blogs were weak and poor because of the amount of fear I had about writing. Maybe I still self-edit too much I’m not sure. Fact is, I’ve had church people say some pretty darn nasty things about me.

But the bottom line is it’s useless not to be honest about the experiences in ministry. There are some things in the system that are simply toxic. Harvey Cox talks about cultural exorcisim and I think, as a metaphor, we can apply that to the church.

I’m convinced we all need to rehabiliate our Christian discourse. Ad hominem seems acceptable, as does “saying something bad to say something good.” It might be a great way to rally the troops, but it undermines the kingdom.

John Smulo 16 years ago

Fernando,

I hear you and don’t disagree. I also need to be clear that I’m not saying I’m being dishonest, but selective in what I share occasionally. Does this make my blogs less than what they could be, however? Yes to an extent. Its this that I need to work on.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Aren’t all bloggers selective?

It’s something I struggle with, especially when it comes to posting about denominational issues and experiences. Heck, I wrote a blogpost this morning that is now sitting in the drafts section and I’m unsure about hitting publish. It’s a story that I think needs to be told, in part because it shaped my thinking *a lot.* But, on the other hand, I’m loathe to rake over old coals.

John Smulo 16 years ago

Phew. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only selective one. Though as I think about that post you haven’t published, I’m reminded of what a blogger friend told me earlier today. He said,

“John, I‚Äôll be honest, the content of my first blogs were weak and poor because of the amount of fear I had about writing….But the bottom line is it‚Äôs useless not to be honest about the experiences in ministry.”

I took that to heart. I’ll be interested to see if he follows his own advice 🙂

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Noted – hope you enjoyed the post.

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