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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

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?

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21 Comments:

Blogger Darlene said...

Carol, that was awesome. I love the practical way you suggested, which is visiting one/week to touch the lives of 52 in a year. That's 52 women! I received a letter once from a woman on the blogroll who said that other women were able to make connections, but she never did. I can't imagine that feeling of loneliness, even here in the blogosphere. I'm encouraged to reach out. Thank you for the AWESOME post which was so fitting for a team blog. I loved it, Zelda.

:)

February 28, 2007 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

I also love the thought of one/week! I'm so overwhelmed sometimes, wanting to reach out, even beyond my own little blogroll, but hardly have the time, or feel willing to devote myself to such and cheat my family.
And of course, such a good reminder to take a moment and re-read, or give the benefit of a doubt or two when reading a post that strikes a nerve.
Wise, practical words, Carol.

February 28, 2007 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

Now how are we supposed to follow THAT?! Great job, Carol...I am so honored to have my name listed with all or yours!

February 28, 2007 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

I have to agree with the preacher's wife...I am glad that I don't have to follow this post. But then again, we all have different gifts :)...

Kind of funny that you started with the community of bloggers, because my Thankful post is about the blogging community.
I have some blogs that I read on a daily basis and try to leave a comment (if I have the time)...I like your idea of picking a blog/week from CWO blogroll and leave an encouraging comment.

Carol, I will look at my fellow Christian women bloggers in a different light. Thank you for your thoughts.

Blessings on your Thursday and always.

March 1, 2007 at 1:01 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

You have wonderful insight! I am going to take up the one new blog a day "challenge." What a practical way for the small effort adding up to a bigger impact of encouraging 52 new women this year.

March 1, 2007 at 1:51 AM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

Carol this is beautiful. You did a great job on starting out this wonderful new adventure!! I am glad I am farther down the list! Blessings and hugs. Off to go to leave some encouragement!

March 1, 2007 at 5:40 AM  
Blogger Terri @ In His Hands said...

Wonderful post, Carol!
I'm so excited about this, I'm about to pop! All my favorite bloggers right here---it's such a great idea! Let me encourage you by telling you that I am praying for y'all. This community is big and I just know you're going to make a huge impact!

Blessings~

P.S. I love the idea of visiting a new blogger a week!

March 1, 2007 at 5:57 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

What a premiere post! See, I told you that part was good! One thing I learned from this post and its reception is that the readers like the idea of a pratical application. Good job. Thanks for blazing the path.

March 1, 2007 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

Here's a fifth "A"- an A for this post! What a wonderful beginning! Visiting a new blog each week is such a fabulous idea. What a perfect tie-in to 1 Thess. 5:11. Here's to being "counter-cultural" bloggers! :::raising my coffee cup:::

March 1, 2007 at 6:16 AM  
Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

I'll chime in with my approval of this post, and this new feature of CWO! I'm excited to read the other columnists, too - some who I already know, and some who I am definitely looking forward to getting to know! God's blessings to all of you. . .

March 1, 2007 at 6:41 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

This was very thought provoking and encouraging! I love the idea and focus of encouraging others...We should all seek to be a blessing to those around us. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you, Carol! This was exceptional!


Kim

March 1, 2007 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Hey, now, I do have to follow this post! :) I'll do my best!

I agree with everyone else, your post hit the nail on the head as to why we blog and why we should blog. We women can be so isolated even while surrounded by dozens of people. This community gives us a chance to make honest and deep connections with women we would never have met otherwise. Thanks Carol!

March 1, 2007 at 8:05 AM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...

Carol,

You are delightful and witty and make me smile.

I find it amazing that we can touch someone's heart through blogging. That's what it is about!! Touching someone's heart for Jesus. Wonderful post! I know I will be blessed through the words here at Jehova Java every morning. Hope your day is filled with joy.

March 1, 2007 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

What a great kick off post, Carol! What a wonderful idea of one new read a week! This whole post is the reason I got involved in this blogging community, because I saw the encouragement that was out there for each other. Beautiful!

March 1, 2007 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

That is such a great idea!

March 1, 2007 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Psssst ... Hi Carol, and everyone at CWO, just to let you know us guys do drop in ever so often, for the wonderful insights and thoughts that you all share and hopefully it will make us better fathers, grand-fathers, husbands.

I love the internet cafe and of course I do a lot of my writing and ministry at Starbucks, both online and offline.

Thanks Carol for sharing the four A's in blogging. They are very important.

There is a lot of talent here at CWO and you are impacting the Kingdom for the Lord.

Blessings to you all,

Writing for the King,

Paul

http://www.shoutlife.com/hillcountrythoughts

March 1, 2007 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Barb said...

Congratulations, Carol. You've officially gotten this new site off to a wonderful start. I love your whole approach to blogging and the blessing it can be when we really stop to think about the good we can do with our words.

Wonderful post. Wonderful!

March 1, 2007 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger on the Rock said...

This is awesome! Thank you for encouraging us to keep ourselves wholesome even in our blogging lives - God belongs there too!

Blessings! Betty

March 1, 2007 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Awesome carol, bless you.

March 1, 2007 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Awesome job carol, bless you.

March 1, 2007 at 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

Carol, I'm glad I finally made it to your post here; you have a gift with the crafting of thoughts and ideas and the ability to express them in a way other than "business as usual". The way you speak your faith, share how you live it out, is always...always an encouragement to me. You challenge me. And I am continually drawn to Christ in you.

I'm glad I found you :) and I don't even remember how.

March 7, 2007 at 10:23 AM  

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