Entry: Ultimate beta-reader…

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.

***

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Lucy is a writer and editor based in the UK. She is author of Forgetful Heart: Remembering God in a Distracted World (2014) and Undivided Heart: Finding Meaning and Motivation in Christ (coming 2017) - both published by DLT books.

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Competition ClosesOctober 7th, 2013
Get your blog posts in on time!
What’s all this?

A blog post writing competition on the theme of Christian Writing in a Digital Age.

Entrants should write a blog post reflecting on the theme of no more than 450 words. Each post should include something to do with writing, something to do with faith and something to do with the digital age.

Entries should be emailed to competitions@christianwriters.org.uk.

Deadline is October 7th 2013.

Click on the 'Competition' tab for more details.

This blog is managed by Bex Lewis (of the BIGBible Project) and Lucy Mills (of the Association of Christian Writers).

As this is a competition, 'entry' content is under the control of individual writers and is posted as it is sent to us. We take no responsibility for opinions, quality or amending typos!

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