God Bloggers

BIOLA University hosted the first ever "God Bloggers" Conference this weekend. Here is a good article from the Orange County Register today describing the event.

Blogging is making a big difference in the world today. May we be responsible and God honoring with it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005
'God bloggers' address a bounty of topics
First national conference, at Biola University, tackles Christian concerns beyond the obvious, mingling politics, religion and technology.

The Associated Press

LA MIRADA – What would Jesus blog?

That and other questions drew dozens of Christians to Biola University this weekend for what was billed as the first national conference for "God bloggers," a growing community of online writers who exchange information and analyze current events from a Christian perspective.

The three-day conference at Biola marked an important organizational benchmark for Christian Web loggers, or "bloggers," who have worked behind the scenes for several years to spread the Gospel and infuse politics with religion.

It was the first time many of the 135 bloggers met face to face, and organizers took the opportunity to address sometimes-controversial questions surrounding the future of the Christian blogosphere.

Topics included God bloggers' relationship with the traditional church, their growing influence on mainstream politics and how to manage outsiders' perceptions.

Many bloggers are now putting less emphasis on hot-button issues such as abortion, homosexuality and assisted suicide and are instead writing about religious oppression, poverty and world hunger, said Andrew Jackson, a seminary professor and pastor at the Word of Grace Church in Mesa, Ariz., who blogs daily at smartchristian.com.

"I think there is more and more a voice in the blogosphere against partisan politics and a voice toward public policy, social action issues and justice issues," said Jackson, who was a panelist at Biola.

That change is in part because bloggers are realizing the tremendous influence they can have - and how that influence can be misdirected and misunderstood, he said.

"There is a voice of caution - and that is even coming from those who would self-identify as Republicans. Partisan politics is not what informs our faith, the Bible is what informs our faith."

Bloggers are starting to take on more unifying issues such as religious persecution, human trafficking and oppressive poverty, said Joe Carter, a panelist and author of evangelicaloutpost.com who came to the conference from Deerfield, Ill.

"With blogging you tend to break out of those circles and you see other points of view," said Carter, 36. "There's a bigger world out there than gay marriage and abortion."

Bloggers at the conference stressed, however, that they don't want religious people to put aside their beliefs to appease non-Christians.

During one workshop titled "When Non-Christians Read Your Blog," Biola professor Timothy Muehlhoff instructed people on how to write about their faith without alienating nonbelievers.

He stressed that God blogging has the potential to be a "train wreck" because done wrong it can reinforce stereotypes of evangelical Christians as angry and close-minded "pit bulls of the culture wars."

"We need to write in such a way that people can see themselves presented as ... complex people who aren't monsters," Muehlhoff said.

"As Christians today we are embroiled in the argument culture, and we have forgotten this one thing: 'Blessed are the peacemakers.' Wouldn't it be nice if we could say we brought a level of civility back to the conversation?"

Other conference participants said they were concerned with the lack of interaction between the Christian online community and the traditional church and worried that someday the online church would replace physical congregations.

Panelist Carter compared blogging to the 95 Theses posted by Martin Luther nearly 500 years ago that launched the Protestant Reformation.

"It's like putting 95 blogs out there," Carter said.


tg said...

nice blog...looking forward to seeing you guys!

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