Wednesday, April 14

Thinking Out Loud...Or What is a Proper Purpose for a Christian Blog?

Michelle, the student who surveyed Christian bloggers, has begun posting some of her results. Here are some of the results regarding non-Christian readership of Christian blogs:

17% (20/115) said no, they do not have any non-Christian readers. 28% (32/115) said they did not know or have no idea as to whether or not any of their regular readers are Christian . Three out of the 115 respondents said the majority of their regular readers are non-Christians. Six out of the 115 respondents said half of their regular readers are non-Christians.

Of the 55% of respondents who stated they have regular non-Christian readers, approximately 35% had only 1 or 2 non-Christian readers, and approximately 35% had less than one-quarter non-Christian readers.

This has started a bit of discussion in the blogworld over what is seen as the insulation of Christian blogging given the data that points to most readers of most Christian blogs being fellowbelievers. You can read some of the discussion from Messy Christian, LivingRoom, and Bene Diction here, here (and yes, I know this link's not working--I'm hoping it will work later), and here

I suppose that whether you think this result is cause for concern depends a bit on what you think the prime purpose of Christian blogging is. So, what ought to be the prime purpose of Christian blogging? I'm going to suggest that the main purpose of Christian blogging, because it is an extension of the church (and by this I mean, in particular, the universal church), ought to be the same as the main purpose of the church. What then, is the purpose of the church?

I believe the main purpose of the church as a whole is the building up of the church as a whole, and this building up is accomplished in two ways: by bringing more people into the church, and by strengthening those who are already there. We might expect the Christian blogworld, then, if it is working as it ought to be, to be doing both of these things.

I'm not sure, though, that we can expect every blog to be working toward both of these goals. Just as we see the diversity of the purposes of gifts of the Spirit as distributed among believers, shouldn't we see a diversity of purposes in the world of Christian blogging? Shouldn't there be those who are blogging primarily to engage the culture around them, and also those who are blogging primarily as encouragment for growth within those who are already of the faith.

This last category is mostly where I see my blog fitting into the picture. As I grow in faith through my own study, I hope to share something with my fellow-travelers in this growth journey. My prayer for the readers of my blog is similar to Paul's prayer for the church at Philippi:

And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 NET)

With this as my purpose, I'm not particularly concerned, nor surprised, that I have only a few nonbelieving (and even in this I am presuming) readers. Why would I expect anything else?

I have one more thought as well. Blogging, it would seem to me, is much more suited to the second way of building the church--through the stengthening of believers--than the first--bringing more people into the church. Most of you who read here don't know me from the man in the moon, really. If you are already a believer, you can check what I write against what the scripture says and judge for yourself whether what I write has any value. If you are not already a believer, how are you going to judge what I write? For all you know, I could be the biggest fraud on the face of the earth. The proof is in the pudding, and you have no access to the pudding, for you can't really know my life and see how I live it. Why would you trust my message?

These are all just rough thoughts thrown together on the fly, and I welcome all discussion. What say ye?