Entered by Christine McIntosh, aka blethers.
You’re a blogger. You love to communicate, and you have contacts all over the world in various fields. Strangers come up to you in crowded places – educational conferences, church services in strange cathedrals: “It’s Chris, isn’t it? – recognise the avatar”. You love words and the power of words. Oh – and you’re also a Christian.
So what does that mean? What about your non-Christian readership? What responsibilities are you aware of, as you blog away in the night watches?
Well actually it means much and little. Take the little first. I rarely use a blog post to preach – because though I do preach in RL (that’s Real Life to the unwired), it’s not where I do it. I know how I feel when someone uses every opportunity to smother anyone who will listen with the tale of how their prayers were answered or their life transformed in the gleam of a dove’s wing. It’s embarrassing, boring, a total turn-off. So do I just ignore my faith until I come offline?
Well no. The point is surely that a faith that is alive affects everything you write, because your thought is conditioned by it. Belief in God means that God is the beta-reader of every post – and God’s strict, believe me. So I don’t hit the “publish” button without the awareness of that, as well as the awareness that if I tag my posts appropriately they will be read by other members of my own church (and in Scotland, the Episcopal Church is a small family). And while I may want to stir up discussion, I don’t want to hurt or damage anyone. Most of all, I don’t want to let my beta-reader down.
So I blog as a Christian because that’s what I am. I know that blogging has changed my writing (tends to be more journalistic these days) and widened my circles enormously. I look happily at the online activities of those who in the early days scoffed at the idea of blogging as outreach – for I was an early adopter, as they say, of blogging and Twitter – and notice how their influence spreads. And unlike my RL sermons, unlike the best sermons and prayers of the professionals, what I and all my online companions say is not confined within walls, not restricted to the faithful who choose to turn up. And it’s always possible that something I say will touch the spot in someone who would never dream of going to church – perhaps especially when I’m writing about something else entirely.
And let’s not forget the tags. They matter.