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Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Response to RV: Blogging in Athens

Prologue: If you're like me, you've never read a complete prologue. Feel free to skip this one, and come back only if you find your self going "huh?!?!" midway through the post.

Republican Vet
left a comment on Balance of Power that set me to thinking deeply about blogging as an Evangelical Christian. I decided to post my response here rather than in the comment section at BoP for a few reasons. The first, and primary reason, is that "blogging as an Evangelical Christian" is far afield of the topic of Abortion currently running over there. It makes me nuts when I'm working my way through comments on a blog, and someone throws in something from left field..or right field, as conservatives are just as guilty as liberals of this blogging faux pas. Now, don't get me wrong. RV's comment was right in sync with the topic. But I knew my response wouldn't be. Hence the change of venue.

The second reason has to do with my frustration with haloscan's commenting. Great for comments, lousy for links and cut and paste unless you know a lot more HTML than I want to .

I would strongly encourage you to read RV's comment, posted at 6:20 am on 6/15/05. Great comment, as it got me going on a post I've had running around in my head for weeks now.

Now, don't get me wrong. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, but if there is one biblical character I identify with, its the Apostle Paul.

Lots of reasons, I guess. Most scholars believe his "thorn in the flesh" was poor eyesight, or some other physical condition. I can certainly relate to that. He was prone to falling back in to "rulebook thinking" from his Pharisee days. Goodness knows, there's a whole tribe of little bitty Pharisees running around in my heart, and they sneak in to this blog more than I care to admit.

But Paul had his shining moments, times when he "got it." Those moments defined his ministry, and his life. Those are the moments that make Paul my hero.

One of those moments was in ancient Athens. The story is told in Acts 17:16-34. If you aren't familiar with it, the story is in the link.

I love verse 21:

All the Bloggers and the other websurfers who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas. (Okay, it says Athenians and other foreigners, but work with me here.)

Can you think of a better description of blogging? I can't. Nor can I think of a better way to engage bloggers as a Christian than Paul's speech to the Areopagus. I especially like the way he begins:
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
He didn't back off what he believed. But he acknowledged in a real and sincere way, the beliefs of the Athenians around him. He engaged them in discussion, and worked hard not to shut them down, or out, of the discussion. Yes, at the end, when he got to the most important part, Christ rising from the dead, some sneered, and left. Others didn't. Some said they wanted to hear more. It is this example that tempers what I write on Liberty Just in Case, and most especially what I write in the comments section of someone else's blog.

RV, I seldom, if ever agree with Patricia, most especially in terms of religion. But I've worked with enough non-Christians to know that they will shut me out if I don't show respect for their views. Respect does not imply tolerance, and it does not mean compromise. But respect for their views opens the door for them to hear my views, my arguments. And we both know that our views win in the end.

I keep Paul's words to the Colossians (Ch. 4) in mind while I am writing:
5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
I take blogging very seriously, RV. I didn't always. I thought what I wrote just went out in to cyberspace without any effect. Boy, have I found that to be wrong over the years!

It didn't start out as my ministry, but blogging sure has become that. This sharing of ideas in Athens has changed lives. Some don't respond in the comment section. In fact, most don't. But you should see my email inbox!

What you say matters. As a follower of Christ, it matters more than you can know. I'm not rebuking you, RV. Hope it doesn't come across that way. Just responding to your comments, and to the thoughts that have been rattling around in my head for a few weeks. Thanks for being the catalyst that allows me to get them out. This is my wish for you, RV:

16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Eph. 3:16-19

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