After the untimely demise of Sibboleth last fall, I began to ponder two questions: What is a blog? And why do it?
What is a blog?
A blog is a “web log”. It’s a running commentary of things I’m reading, thinking, processing.
I’m a New Testament professor.
Put this together and you’ve got a strange situation. My guild exists for the purpose of high-level, carefully developed, carefully articulated, fully digested assessment of data and arguments. A blog entry is an impression, a first thought, a work in progress.
This means that a blog is a strange genre for a New Testament scholar. We need to continue the task of cultivating a new category for “blog,” one that assumes that the author’s thought is a work in progress, one that anticipates change, adaptation and growth of ideas expressed in public.
A work in progress–that’s what my blog is. It’s more a testimony of what’s going on in my mind today than what I think should be thought by all people in all times and places.
The short answer is that I believe the Bible is important and that I have something to say about it.
A story: A couple of years ago I found myself driving my brother’s car from our parents’ house in Concord, NC, to Durham, NC. Two hours and change. Since my brother is an InterVarsity staff worker, he has edifying and helpful things to listen to in his car, so I found myself listening to talks from a Willow Creek Leadership Conference. One talk was about leadership.
The guy giving the talk offered his take on the two indispensable qualities of a leader: “leaders are optimists, and leaders have an ego.” I was a little disheartened when I heard this, because despite having more than my fair share of ego, I’m not usually accused of interpreting the world through rose-colored glasses. Dangit.
But then he went on to explain what he meant: leaders are people who believe that there is a better future ahead and that they are part of it. Oooh, that was starting to sound closer. In the words of Cornell West, “I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” And in the words of Thomas Wolfe (the older one!), “He was so bitter with his tongue because his heart believed so much.”
I want to put my thoughts out there for the world because I do believe the Bible, and God’s people who read it, have a bright future. And I think I have a role to play in seeing that future dawn. I blog because I believe there is a better future ahead and I’m part of it.
But even that is probably not enough to bring me back into the blogsphere after a 5+ month hiatus.
One driving reason that I return to blogging is because of the global character of the church/mission of God. Blogging is a way to both “give away” what might otherwise only be purchased through books, magazines, or tuition dollars and to engage in a conversation that embraces more voices than any of the community spaces I or my published writings can physically occupy. Numbers aren’t everything, but in the first day this blog was up and running I had more readers than I will teach in one year in Fuller Seminary classrooms. Yes, I blog because I believe that I am part of the better future ahead, but I also blog because I believe in the world-wide nature of the “you” who also have a role.
The third and final reason I blog: I am more theologically creative when I am constantly thinking about what I want to share with this world-wide community. My next couple books have had their seed as blog posts, which sometimes show before I’m fully aware where there is a cluster of issues I’m passionate about. The next several articles I want to write are all the fruit of putting some musings on the internet, getting some – from my readers, and continuing to wrestle through the issues.
So I’m back. And for now, my desire to say something, to say it in dialogue with the world, and to keep my sayings fresh are enough. Thanks for coming along for the ride.