Four A's into Blogging
After being asked to contribute to CWO's group blog I took a few moments to panic and pray. I'm good at that. The panic part, I mean. It's an honor to be included among the names of bloggers listed in the sidebar. I hope this, the first post, doesn't get me kicked off the team after my first swing.
So, Darlene asked me to be on the blogging team for CWO and that got me thinking about teamwork. Which got me thinking about sports. Which got me thinking about laundry. Which got me thinking about television. Which got me thinking about blogging.
Which doesn't speak well for the way my mind works, but there you have it.
And here's what I thought. Out loud.
As bloggers, at some point we all, quite naturally and understandably, stop and ask ourselves, "Why?" What compels us to share our thoughts, our lives, our hearts with virtual strangers who, with a word, have the ability, for better or worse, to immediately respond in a way unique to this medium. What do we anticipate in return for our efforts?
And here are a few things I came up with. Because, when I talk to myself, I tend to answer back.
Acceptance. "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." (Romans 15:7) I believe that, as image bearers of God, we have it in us to want to be accepted just as Christ accepts us and wants the world to accept Him and be saved. Not that we can save anyone. I'll be doing good if I can correctly save this post! But can I accept the blogger and who they are in Christ while still disagreeing with a statement they have made? Conversely, can I accept that another person disagrees with me without rejecting the person in turn? Or can I only accept those I deem acceptable?
It seems that Jesus' acceptance of me is much more complete than my own tends to be of others.
Attention. " ...Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry," (James 1:19) When I visit someone's blog, am I willing to pause and reflect for a moment, offering them something of value in return for their efforts? Can I read past their words and hear their heart? Can I put forth the time and energy it takes to re-read the post or to take a break and come back before offering my thoughts? How can I let them know that I have, in fact, "listened?" Can I "listen" to what her other readers have said?
How easy it is to scan a post then click away without a word. How easy it is to misinterpret tone or meaning after a cursory glance. How easy to jump to conclusions and judge in haste. How easily we get offended by a fellow Christian when no offense was meant.
Affection. "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." (Romans 12:10) Am I devoted to my sister bloggers, honoring their efforts to share their hearts and their faith with me? How can I do a better job of demonstrating love for them? What about when I disagree with them? Can I gently admonish then restore in a Christ-like way? Can I lay aside my own needs and wants long enough to offer a word of encouragement or to laugh along with them? To cry with them? To pray for them?
Appreciation. "Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you." (1 Thessalonians 5:12) The word 'admonish' here isn't about scolding someone; it's about leading and teaching. Can we show respect by expressing appreciation for the efforts of our sister bloggers as we minister to each other in this high-tech way? Can we find something of value in a post and acknowledge it?
If you are on the CWO Blogroll, you have at your disposal a long list of other Christian women bloggers right there in your own sidebar. If you were to visit only one of those ladies each week that you have never visited before, look on their blog for something of value, and express your appreciation, at the end of the year you will have encouraged 52 women to whom you might not ever have reached out otherwise. You never know when you may be the only encouragement one of those women receives that day.
(If you are not a member of the CWO Blogroll, you can learn more here!)
1 Thessalonians 5:11 calls us to "Encourage each other and build each other up." There are plenty of folks in our culture the enemy can use to discourage and tear us down. If we elect to engage ourselves in this community we call blogging, shouldn't we be counter-cultural by encouraging and building each other up?
What are some practical ways we can do this?