(1). The greatest blessing to me is hearing someone say "Your post has caused me to really think."
It is our privilege at Emmanuel to have a number of Air Force pilots and their spouses who transfer into Enid and Vance Air Force Base from cities and countries around the world. Invariably, when they find out we are a Southern Baptist Church, they express suprise, particularly if they have personal experience with SBC churches in the south. Due to puerile, Nickelodean southern cultural activities that make Sunday morning at an SBC church often seem like childen's camp, these Air Force pilots are pleased with the substance and depth of both small group and corporate teaching at Emmanuel. I feel the same satisfaction when I read blogs that make me think.. To me, the best blogs are those that address pertinent theological, moral and ethical issues in a substantive manner. Of course, no matter how hard I might try to ensure my posts address these important issues affecting the churches and people of the SBC, invariably some readers who disagree with my writing will opine that I am "attacking." I do not wish to attack any brother or sister in Christ. I want Christians to think. For this reason, the greatest compliment I am given is "You've caused me to think about an issue in ways I've never thought of it before!"
(2). Comments are both a great blessing and a cursed headache.
I have learned a great deal from some insightful, articulate faithful readers of this blog. They comment and correct me, teach me, inspire me and redirect me. My wife has told me more than once that my posts are boring, but the comments are interesting. Laughing. She's right.
But unfortunately, some people take advantage of being free to comment on a blog and wind up saying things that they would never say to people in person. I have sought over the years to only address issues that I have no problem addressing with others in face to face meetings. But the tone and tenor of some commentors have caused me to go back and forth on the subject of comments (see #2). I have gone a few weeks without comments, and am now on comment moderation. I'm not sure of the future of comments on this blog, but I continue to feel my way around this issue.
(3). I am not always as careful as I should be in expressing my intentions for the future.
When visiting with one's spouse or close friends (i.e. people who love and respect you) about future plans, there is understanding and acceptance if those plans suddenly change. However, when you express your intentions for the future publicly on your blog, those who would not consider themselves your friends will use your words to impugn your character and call you a liar if your plans change. For example, on April 28th, 2010, I expressed my desire to put the Caner issue to rest on this blog. That was my sincere, heartfelt desire on that day. However, a few days later, I read the "official" statement from Liberty's Vice-President Dr. Elmer Townes about the Caner issue.
"It's not an ethical issue, it's not a moral issue," Towns told Christianity Today on April 27. "We give faculty a certain amount of theological leverage. The arguments of the bloggers would not stand up in court."I decided to address Dr. Towne's curious response, and began a new blogpost with the following sentence: "I've made a commitment to not write another post about the biographical, educational and professional fabrications of Liberty Seminary's President, a promise which I will keep, but after reading Christianity Today's article and the response of Liberty's Vice-President Elmer Towns, I feel compelled to write this post about the growing lack of institutional integrity at Liberty Seminary and Liberty University."Then, I wrote a second post asking Liberty's administrators, particularly Dr. Townes, three questions about their "official" response. Those who do not consider me a friend have accused me of "lying," being a "hypocrite," and "one in need of repentance," etc.... My writing was about Liberty, not Caner, so I could respond to my critics by just saying that I'm a believer what Towne's calls "theological leverage," but I'll simply write I've learned its better to keep your words about future intentions to a minimum.
(4). Blogs have given people otherwise unknown, a very powerful voice.
Like the printing press, the Internet has revolutionized the means of mass communication. If anybody wants change in the 21st Century, then they MUST get on the Internet and advocate for change. It has been my pleasure to come to know people across the nation who have made an incredible impact for the kingdom of Christ through simply writing and publishing those writings on a blog. There are those who may wish to minimize the influence of blogging, but the truth is clear: Blogs are a powerful medium for cultural, political, and religious change.
(5). The more people say "You have no influence," or "Nobody's paying attention to what you are saying," or "Nobody cares what you think,"-- the more those people are actually revealing a concern that what you are writing is making an impact.
I'm sure many more observations could be made, but the hour is late, and I want to get this posted before going to bed. Hope you have enjoyed Grace and Truth to You and these last 1,000 posts. Thanks for reading!