The Ghetto: Solutions IIPosted by RazorsKiss
Well, we put forth the “concept”, in the first post – and got some commentary. Now, let’s look at a bit more of what I’m speaking of. I do understand, I really do, what Brad is getting at with his points about helping the church. I’m trying to take some concepts out of his discussion, and apply them to the God-blogosphere, though. As much as I love helping at my church (and I do), blogging isn’t how I believe I can help my church. My church needs my technical skills, and my musical skills. That’s where I help them. The young(er) denizens are the ones who are “hip” with the computers, technology, and the like. But… the internet ministry in my area doesn’t have much demand, and doesn’t get much play. Let me explain why, so you see where I’m coming from.
I live in Mississippi. Perhaps one of the most internet un-enabled places here in the US. They aren’t all that big into the internet down here – and definitely not in my church. They use it, and they have a website and all… but it’s not a big thing for them.
Now, why do I think I’m being “led”, so to speak, into encouraging people to organize, in the realm of the “God-blog”?
First, because I’m focusing primarily on apologetics. Like a lot of people have commented on, in the Vox Apologia, apologetics, in a church setting, is almost non-existent. You have Ravi Zacharias, and his like – but they are VERY, VERY rare. The internet, and blogs in particular, are EXCELLENT vehicles for this type of ministry.
Second, I’m a “niche” blog – so I’m coming at it from that niche view – so I may see things different than the bloggers who are more used to the “poliblog” dynamic. When I look at Evangelical Outpost’s recent efforts, I’m seeing a dynamic that tells me that “links matter” – to a degree. However, I see 4,5,6 of the traffic aggregators – and very few “metablogs”. We need to add to those, and inter-network them a bit better, to _include the niches_. The metablogs aren’t just linkblogs, or newsblogs – they should be directories, to the various types of niches, if you ask me.
I just read “Blog” not too long ago myself – remember the part about “finding your niche”? Well, I extrapolated from that a bit, as well. For people to find you in that niche – they need to have directions, sometimes. Apologetics is a big niche – true. But so is Theology, Biblical studies, Archaeology, Document study, Greek Language, Hebrew language, etc, etc, etc. In order for us to become a _force_, and to _get the word out about us_, people need to see us – and we need to get at least semi-organized. Not “structured”, per se – but “allied”.
We all know each other (to an extent), and we’re all linked – but I haven’t seen a whole lot of “group projects” of a ministerial nature. A few, yes. As much as we should be showing? No. Why?
My answer? We have no sort of “hub”/”spokes” system, no real “alliances” – just aggregators, and a few biggish blogs. I see a lot of talking about issues – and even some linking – by why aren’t we being more proactive in _doing constructive things_? Hugh writes in Blog that we’re well known for being destructive – not constructive. If ANYONE should be constructive, it is us. We should be head, shoulders, and most of our torsos above the rest of the blogosphere in constructive work, and in community “spirit”. Now, to be fair, I see a LOT of good comments about other blogs. I don’t see any jockeying for hits – just offers all around for help and advice. Which is GREAT. In this case, we look like the apostolic church. We can, though, look MORE like the Apostolic church – by metastasizing the blogosphere. The Christian poliblogs have done it, in the poliblog sphere of influence. Where is the Christian music blogger? Do we know? Does anyone? Where is the metablogger listing the current Bible studies that people are doing? Do we know? Does it exist?
Where are the church blogs? I’ve found one – Jeff, in the comments on the last entry, runs one.
Where are the aggressive apologists, who actively defend against attacks on our faith, or go “out into the world” to provide a Christian response to people asking the tough questions? Where is the list of theologians we can go look at, when we’re looking for a scholarly opinion on something? Our pastors can give us some – but who can the pastors ask? Where are the blogs set up for people “looking”? The “Evangel”ists that SHOULD be stemming from “Evangel”ical.
Hrmm? We’re all giving all these rave reviews to Blog… But, a question: Where are our niche “captains”, and our niche bloggers? Hugh goes to great pains to encourage us to develop, shepherd, and find niches for us to “find our place in”. Metablogs have one purpose, in my view – to point to the niche bloggers that relate to the subject at hand.
Answer: We haven’t found them yet, they don’t exist, or we aren’t organized enough as yet to know.
I’m starting to categorize my blogrolls, on the right, to “reflect” that somewhat. But, that’s just one lil ‘ol blogger.
I really am just a pipsqueak in the Ecosystem, and in the Godblogger sphere, as yet. Joe is setting some things into motion, but I’m not sure exactly what the eventual goal is yet for him.
Blog lists are fine, but they tend to get clogged after a while (how many in blogs4god?) and lose their initial intent of drawing interest to certain “defined” blogs.
This is my only beef with _only_ relying on the big aggregators. I believe it should be aggregate AND. Aggregators are good, to get us “out of the ghetto”. But, it’s small, focused, niches that will be the “movers and shakers” when it comes to doing big things. Those of us IN those niches, I believe, need to be the ones doing this. The metablogs will come. Joe and Adrian are as close as we have right now, to metablogs. We need more than that, though. See my previous post. We need metablogs/hubs, and under those, hubs for each of the greater “categories”, and then the niches. That’s my opinion – and it’s theoretical, not “it has to be that way” – but it’s _something_ . We need _something_, or we’re going to stay ghetto’d (Republican) God*cough*politics*cough*bloggers. Oh, did I mention we’re way too focused on poliblogs, and not on “the rest”?
By “the rest”, I mean _concentrating_ on the _Christian responses_ to current issues, highlighting the “excellent” responses to them, and presenting them in a format which emphasizes the Christian response, and the Christian _difference_ in how we treat it. Different how? Different not in that we _back a particular candidate’s views_, or that we _agree with a particular take on it_ – but that in coincides with our beliefs, and demonstrate how that is so, in a format which either edifies the believer, or informs the unbeliever.
If we are to make an impact for His kingdom, do we “band” together or rather put more effort into reaching out to “unsaved” bloggers and readers?
Making this an “either/or” is the problem. We have to use the gifts we have, and the particular strengths we each have to employ, to address the unsaved, the saved, the pros, the cons, the theological implications, the logical implications, and etc, etc, ad infinitum – from the worldview/perspective of the Christian – and, have the “heft” to project that to the mainstream.
THAT, I will propose, is the central issue we need to address.
1. How to use our various gifts to their full advantage
2. How to project the results of those gifts to the correct audience
3. How to strengthen both the Body, and encourage fellowship – both corporately, and individually.
Don’t mistake “holy huddles” for folks who just blog because the enjoy it. It’s good to have a few evangelical “blog brothers/sisters” for support, but be careful you don’t get too wrapped up in theological arguments and building lists of “approved” blogs.
I agree. However, let me propose an example. When a “crucial issue” comes to the fore, some of the theologians need to outline the Biblical principles involved. The apologists and evangelists need to involve themselves in the defense and outreach roles, respectively, and the “metabloggers” (who will be, in a large degree, the “portals” into the “Godblogging” community) need to assemble the various threads, and combine them into a seamless “presentation”, for consumption.
Maybe I’m too analytical. I’m an engineer’s progeny, and all… but still. The principles of “community”, and of “Biblical communites”, in particular, are rather well known, and should be looked at, as they mesh ideally with the concept of the internet, and blogs in particular.
That’s the discussion I’m trying to start. How do we get from “Breaking out of the Ghetto” into “Building the Body”. Brad is concentrating on churches, and how they _should_ be using this medium, in his post. Joe has been concentrating on various projects to show the capabilities of the God-blogosphere, and the added “heft” we acquire, if we network, even in a crude way. Just look at the difference between the original “Evangelical Ghetto” post, and Joe’s. Look at the difference just since Joe started his project. If we go at this in a way that encourages believers to _use their gifts_, and encourages leaders to _lead_, we are on the right track, in my opinion.
So… how do we do it, Christians, and fellow bloggers?