Blogging as A Pulpit

One of the conversations I get into quite a lot with those that are about ten years and older than myself is blogging and why I do it. Most don’t comprehend it and think that’s it’s childish or nothing more than a public diary. I’ve gotten in “trouble” quite a bit because of this blog because of my opinions, questions or reviews that I’ve done. Just this past month I’ve had some local pastors be quite upset about some of my views on homosexuality and the church. Most people who are upset usually have no experience with the type of communication that blogs are, and for the most part, refuse to learn.

Since the beginning humans have wrestled with philosophy, theology and all the other ologies out there. I came from a culture where to question any of these foundational ologies was a heresy. You didn’t ask questions and you took what was given to you without hesitation. Any bumps in believing was considered backsliding or undermining authority. Inside a culture like this, there is no room for blogging. People honestly wrestling with real life issues are way to offensive to someone who has numbed themselves to the world’s problems and reality. There is especially no room for correction. If somebody tells you that you are wrong, then they are coming up against God.

These are two things that I seem to do on my blog a lot: wrestle with hard questions and I like to call it like I see it. I think it is important for big organizations (ie. churches) to be constantly put on the spot for the decisions that they make and the direction that they go in. I try to do it with an honest heart, with an honest hope that they change. I am not doing it simply to ruffle feathers or piss someone off. It is no wonder though that when my blog comes up against a culture like I described that it isn’t welcomed warmly.

Those that don’t understand blogging usually end up getting very upset about the things that I am writing and then use their preferred form of communication (ie. pulpit, gossip) to denounce what I am saying. Of course what ends up happening is I get taken out of context and then without actually caring or dialoguing with me on the issue, those that are offended have made up their minds about me and refuse to let their relationship with me go any further. There are however a few people who look past the blog to honestly get to know me. When I wrote this letter to the editor, I had a number of people tell me about all the people they knew that were upset about the letter I wrote. From all the people that were upset, I had only one guy, who would go out for coffee with me, even though he disagreed with me, to hear my heart and wrestle with the issue alongside of me. This is what I long for. People who aren’t afraid of asking tough questions. People who can take correction and learn from their mistakes. People who don’t see every criticism as an attack but an opportunity to grow and be better.

My blog has a very local feel to it. For the most part, the specific things I write about and wrestle with (or at least get punished for) are because I’m speaking directly to people I know in the city or am in relationship with. This of course makes it more sketchy. I’m not just ripping on Mark Driscoll half way across the continent, I’m questioning the heart of the ministry of the church a block away from me.

In a lot of ways, my blog is my pulpit. More people read my site in a week than any pastor in this city has listening to them on a Sunday. I lay my struggle out week in and week out about life, theology and my relationship with God. I post my sermons on here. I am honest on here. My friends who have no church background read this site. Many people have been convicted because of things I’ve written on here. Many people have been offended by things I’ve said on here. It sounds a lot like a pulpit. The same way that the local pastor here in Sarnia read pieces of my post from his pulpit to call my ideas wrong, I have called people out for where I think they are wrong on this blog. This is the beauty of the Internet and the conversation and the pulpit. I am being called out and dealing with where I am wrong and am trying to learn from my mistakes. The blogging pulpit is a more honest one. People can respond to me, correct me and set me straight. Unfortunately, the pulpit as we know it today is a hierarchical tool and there is very little room for the person at the pulpit to learn anything.

I wish the Sunday pulpit would change a bit and become more like blogging. It can be a tool to proclaim the good news of Christ and retell the beautiful story of our God. But there needs to be room to question, comment and leave trackbacks. There needs to be room for correction , growth and challenge. So maybe people who speak from a pulpit every Sunday, and spew out the same stuff that I do on here can actually learn something from the blogging world. What do you think?

update: stumbled across this post today and I thought it was relevant to this conversation.

3 Comments

  • Man, the Christian community in Sarnia sounds really (incestuously) fucked-up.

  • Except, Nathan, your blog is WAY more authentic and personal than a pulpit. I like how you say the pulpit is a hierarchical tool… it reinforces one-way, top-down communication from a male (usually). Very unsatisfactory in today’s world.

    I also like how you are creating a conversation that is happening locally in Sarnia.

    Congrats to you for using this medium in this way. I’m a new reader since the synchroblog. Keep it up…

  • Personally I wish you would link to my site more and that you don’t hat tip properly to anyone.

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