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A Hirsute Post: On Blogging

November 11, 2011

The previous post On Boardgames was dedicated to Dana, with whom I have never, ever played a board game. This one, On Blogging, is for Adam G. and Dave L. who have never written a blog.

During the by-now world-famous crowd-sourcing pre-planning stages of this hirsute* online publication, only Adam and Dave told me that a blog was a bad idea. They each phrased it somewhat differently. Dave chose the straight ahead approach: “Don’t do it. Everyone starts one and then quits. Only do it if you really want to.”** Adam sprang for the closer-to-my-heart approach of thinly veiled insults and sarcasm: “Blogging is so 2003.”

*Intrepid readers will notice that hirsute, while normally meaning “hairy,” retains a contextualized meaning of “too many hyphens” throughout this post.

**Correction: Dave has rightly pointed out that he didn’t tell me not to start a blog, only that I should not do it because others want me to. It may actually have been the best advice I received during pre-publication and I am thankful for his redirection in this matter.

Blogging and the Internet lifestyle in general have totally changed our society, and I think Adam is right in that the time for being in on the cutting edge of these new mediums has passed. There are tons of good sites out there, and, of slightly cantankerous conservative theological discussion, the Internet certainly features no shortage. Twitter and Facebook are already invaded with Christian presence and dialogue on today’s issues, and I wonder if the Kingdom is better off for it. Interaction with electronics and socializing screen-to-screen has been linked to short attention spans, degradation of empathy and an overall reduction in social skills among younger generations. Given this, wouldn’t Christians be better off in trying to meet with people and their needs face to face and engage on a real, human level rather than behind an anonymous WordPress site that any hack can get for free?

But Dave is right too. Discussing online for the benefit of others is hard work probably better left to experts, whoever they are. Internet based dialogue is no substitute for the in-your-face, messy nature of personal ministry. Such real, social contacts must be the primary focus for anyone’s life and, by extension, their discussion about theology. That’s why the accrediting societies won’t let seminaries have totally online programs–there is a certain interpersonal edge that goes with theological discussion unlike that of economics or science. Telling someone what to think about God is, by extension, telling them how to act, think, feel, and live. Doing that anonymously behind a screen just won’t get it done. In other words, get off your dang computer and talk to somebody for real! And go to church.

So why do people utilize online avenues at all? Specifically, what does hotdog theology hope to achieve in this context? What share is there in the market for another pessimistic theology blog? There are two major reasons driving this project.

The first and most self-aggrandizing reason is that of global mission. I cut my higher theological teeth at Oral Roberts University, whose founder’s mandate was to raise up students to go into every person’s world. (Actually, the official wording is “every man’s world” because in 1963 God still thought that people could reasonably understand a masculine pronoun as universal. I’ve translated here for reasons that are better reserved for another post another day.) Stunningly, there is a huge hunger in our culture, and certainly in our Christian subculture, for smart, reasoned theological explication available in an on-demand format. Sites like the Gospel Coalition, Resurgence, and the Iike allow readers access to a variety of perspectives on issues pertinent to theological thought, and their ever-growing followings evidence the need and desire that is out there. There is now, for the first time in history, the ability to really, truly reach beyond your local circle and have an impact at a global level. Old school circuit riders like Charles Wesley could have saved plenty of frequent flyer miles had they ministered in the Internet age.* We on this humble island of text will try to reach out, John Donne style, and connect our community with like minded seekers across the globe. See, I told you it was self-aggrandizing.

*Isn’t it awesome when someone talks about Space Age technology? Do they not know that the space age was the sixties?

The second reason is that there are not a lot of authors writing about theological issues relative to the field of Biblical Theology. Most sites focus on practical or ecclesiological errata* while a gap remains between academic Biblical criticism and most laypeople. The hotdog, humbly yet proudly, will attempt to bridge that gap. See the forthcoming post on paragraph structure in Amos 1-2 for a look at how textlinguistics will invade your lives. (And please look. It will be awesome!)

*if you don’t understand that you might have to fasten your seatbelt, because unfortunately jargon is just going to be a part of what hotdog theology is all about. I promise to use jargon in new and interesting ways to keep it fresh…just like hotdog makers. And here you were, thinking hotdog theology was a poor name. For shame.

So that’s basically what we are here hoping to achieve. Sometime this millennium I will finish my festschrift series of posts and get down to the brass tacks of real issues using fake words. That’s what I do best.

As always, thanks for reading.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. bpayne permalink
    November 15, 2011 12:37 am

    i don’t think i have ever been as happy as i am right now. buz hannon to the rescue my friends. ptl.

  2. November 15, 2011 1:41 am

    It was the zuckerburg photo that did it for you, wasn’t it?

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