The Impact of Blogging: A Poll

Can you identify anything in your current spiritual practice of your faith that has come about as a result of your having read a blog article? Have you ever preached a sermon that seemed helpful to yourself or to others for which you could say that some of the material was contributed through your consumption of blogs? Have you ever had a blog article to touch you profoundly or to lead you closer to the Lord in some way?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, I wonder whether you would consider sharing a brief narrative of your experience in the comments below?

Please refrain from contributing anything specious or doubtful. But if you can readily and confidently identify something in your past that you would place into one of these categories, I’d like to hear about it.

…unless it was something Dave Miller wrote.

Comments

  1. says

    Bart,
    I could say yes a thousand times over. Some of them are difficult to place as often it’s just a little statement here–or a helpful point here–something that kind of helps in the day to day that you don’t really notice. But I’ll mention one–but with the hopes that it won’t hijack this thing on points of Calvinism.

    Anyways, early on in my ministry and after having become convinced that the points of Calvinism are biblical–I was kind of obsessed with this point of theology. And I was what some might call a caged-Calvinist. I should have been kept in a cage with a muzzle on my mouth. One particular blog that I frequented (don’t even remember which one) shared John Newton’s letter On Controversy. The Lord used this to redirect my heart in a profound way. And since that time John Newton has become a great friend.

    I think that is one of the benefits that blogs can have. They can be used by the Lord to introduce us to other things that we’d never read on our own. This is not to mention the community of bloggers that is created–though it’s no replacement for online community I still appreciate my online friends.

  2. Tom Stowe says

    Russell Moore wrote a piece a few years back about Christlessness and peace that blessed me deeply. I’ve also been encouraged by Trevin Wax, Bart Barber, and Adam Harwood as I’ve read blogs. Being blessed by blogs is indeed rare, which is why I appreciate contributions from level-headed (and non-angry) men like those listed.

  3. says

    Bart,

    Yes, I’ve read blog posts on Puritan practices of meditation that caused me to read further about the practices of men like Joseph Hall, Isaac Ambrose and others. The approach of these men changed the way I approach meditation. (There are others areas, but this was the first to cross my mind.)

    I would also answer yes to the other two questions. I have given lessons and sermons helped through blog articles. There have been times when certain blog posts have lead me closer to the Lord.

    I have also been told I’ve influenced pastors who have read my blog posts. For example, I have gotten emails telling me my posts on patriotism have helped a few pastors more clearly think through those times of year with patriotic holidays. I’ve had my prayers read in at least two different churches and at least one book review used in a women’s study group. Those are a few things that come to mind.

    • says

      I’ve often found perspective in blogs that have helped communicate something that I would soon be preaching on. They are a resource for perspective and information like any other out there. And like any other resource they must always be approached with discernment and in comparison to scripture first. But I’ve often quoted blog authors in sermons, with due credit of course :-) and often gleened perspective on scriptural topics. As with anything, on the internet and life as a whole, there is good and bad. But blogs are resource that can be helpful in the ministry

    • Zack Stepp says

      Mark:

      When I read Bart’s question, three particular blog posts immediately came to mind for me, one of which was one of your ethics posts from several years ago dealing with the question of when to leave a church. The ensuing discussion in the comments section proved extremely helpful for me and my wife in making the decision to stay at our church. With regard to Bart’s first question, I can’t think of a blog post which has had a more practical, lasting impact on the “practice of [my] faith.”

      (The two other posts which came to mind dealt more with my own spiritual growth with specific theological issues and less with the practice of my faith. One was a blog post by Jon Bloom regarding Judas being in charge of the money bags, and the other was a blog post on the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch at Sacred Sandwich.)

  4. says

    Yes

    There have been several blog posts across the interwebs that have been edifying, encouraging, and instructional to me. Here is one example of a blog post shared on this site and written by Mike Leake that blessed me. I used it to end a weeknight men’s study.

    http://www.networkedblogs.com/OFDrB

  5. Chris Roberts says

    Indeed. All the debates sharpened my knowledge of the Bible and of various finer points of theological considerations which had the unexpected side-effect of making it easier to spot biblical problems while the need for precision in those debates made me less inclined to simply accept the pat answers we typically give for those problems. At the same time, I thought perhaps all the debates were having a detrimental effect on me – prodding my doubts and such – so I exited the blogosphere in an attempt to focus more on Bible reading and prayer, only to find that approach backfired on me and the doubts only exploded all the more, leading to where I am today.

    So I am grateful to the blogosphere to having a definite influence on helping me realize the facts and fictions of religious matters.

    • Christiane says

      sounds like you would benefit from journal writing after reading the sacred Scriptures . . . it helps to organize your thoughts (and emotions) after your encounter with the written Word

  6. Todd Benkert says

    On almost a weekly basis, my sermons are informed by what I am reading on blogs. Mohler and Moore are particularly helpful on culture/ethics issues. I have refered to Mohler’s post on “theological triage” more than once. Many of the regular blogs I read provide helpful applications for practical Christianity and often find their way into sermons. Even our discussions on Voices help me to think through particular issues to gain a greater understanding. In my most recent sermon on 2 Cor 5, I quoted a recent blog article by Paige Patterson.

  7. Todd Benkert says

    On all three questions, a resounding “yes” and the examples would be too numerous to count. Here’s one fairly recent example:
    For a long time, I have been struggling with taking things the wrong way. This was especially frustrating to my wife as I would take things my wife would say or do personally when they were not meant to be personal at all. I was struggling with overcoming this when I came across an article by a secular author in my LinkedIn feed. The author suggested that taking things personally was a toxic behavior that drove others away (it certainly was in my marriage, I agreed). Her solution? “Don’t take anything personally.” Now, the article was not particularly profound, but God used that one paragraph to prompt me that this was what I needed to do and linked it to 1 Cor 13:5. I began speaking this to myself and it has made a real change in the way I relate to others and my wife.

  8. John Wylie says

    I read all kinds of blogs, everything from Calvinist to Arminian and Conservative to Liberal. I echo Todd’s comment above, many of my sermons are either impacted by what I have read or several sermon have found their genesis is something I’ve read in a blog or the subsequent comments.

    In addition to this, blogs have helped me humanize people that I disagree with either politically or theologically. Also, I find that often times is that people whom I disagree with often make very valid points and I try to weigh those valid points honestly. This past week’s conversation on baptism has challenged me in this way.

  9. says

    I’m impacted on different levels:

    A) Direct content. Some content is helpful for refining my thinking on Biblical concepts either by using a different approach than I have taken in the past or by simply being thought-provoking. It could be wrong, but the way that I come to determine it’s wrong is helpful.

    B) Exposure to different systems of categorization either in the article or in the comments that help me to understand how others think about it.

    C) Exposure to common thinking. I don’t think like other people and it’s helpful for me to see how other people think so I can understand where they are coming from and improve the way I communicate with them.

    D) Exposure to common arguments on controversial topics, and even some not-so-common arguments. Also, the observation of why people don’t seem to understand some arguments of people who think differently than they do. It has helped me to form better responses (bringing balance to people’s thinking and transcending the muck of an issue) to people I come across who are either vitriolic or confused regarding the controversy.

  10. says

    I would agree strongly with most everyone above. I’m a little hard pressed to think of one particular instance. I read many blogs everyday from niche pastoring blogs to broad religious ones like Huff Post to technology blogs. I find that that the thoughts spur me on in my thinking, introduce me to new thoughts/ideas, or new authors I didn’t know before. I enjoy the technical blogs of Bill Mounce over greek language, and take that as an opportunity to learn from a great scholar. I don’t always understand him, but I like the challenge!

  11. says

    I read an article, in late 2005, in the Alabama Baptist that referenced Wade Burleson’s differences with the trustees at the IMB, after his appointment. I read his blog, began commenting and got to know some folks that way. That prompted me to start my own blog, through which I’ve met many others.

    Communicating with Rev. Burleson during that time, he encouraged me to attend the 2006 Convention, which I did. I spoke to a couple of issues, which led me to believe that commoners like me do need to be involved. That has led to being involved in a number of things in the years since, and the making of some friendships which are more valuable to me than I can describe.

    There’s a longer list, of those friends, than I can remember, or that a comment stream ought to contain. Or anybody would read, probably.

  12. says

    I’m not really nailing down a specific instance, but there has definitely been a value in blogging for me. I’ve seen things from additional perspectives, and that has hopefully made my teaching and preaching better.

    If I come up with more concrete ideas, I’ll pass them on.

  13. says

    I have read a lot of blog posts that have helped me in my faith and in studying the Bible. I also blog myself and have published books derived from my blogs. I recently moved my blog daily-bible-reading.com and currently share Daily Bible Reading on my blog at DeborahHBateman.com Monday – Friday each week. I hope my blog posts and books help others develop a closer personal relationship with the Lord while learning about the Bible. Stop by and visit us.
    Blessings,
    Deborah

  14. Roger Simpson says

    I second much of what Bob Cleveland said.

    My first introduction to Blog posts was during the time Wade Burleson was raising issues regarding the governance of the IMB. Setting aside the pros and cons of any of the issues on the table (such as cessationism vs. continualism) I soon found that the Board of Trustees of the IMB was extremely dysfunctional. I went to the BoT meeting in Jacksonville [I think it was the Winter 2006 meeting] which was the meeting where Dr. Rankin announced his retirement. By the time I attended the BoT meeting in person the IMB was running on all cylinders as the combatants were no longer on the BoT.

    I think blogging was the vehicle the opened up the inner sanctum of the dysfunctional Board of Trustees. The fight at the BoT was complex and I don’t pretend to understand all of the theatrics. But in any case, Dr. Paul Chitwood was the right man and the right time to be BoT chairman and to put the organization on an even keel. This set the stage for Dr. Eliff whose tenure has been excellent.

    Roger Simpson — Oklahoma City

  15. David S. Holt says

    It was an article you, Bart, wrote some time back on the real meaning of “husband of one wife”, or “a one woman man,” as a qualification for a pastor. While I had been taught many times that we must look at what the Bible really says and not what we want it to say, that article really drove home to me my need to study the Bible carefully, using all of the tools at my disposal, looking FIRST to see, as best I can, what a passage really meant to the people it was first written to, without applying my preconceptions or the preconceptions of my culture. It also drove home to me how radical the Gospel can be in my life and in my culture. Finally, I must admit, it got me hooked on regularly reading Christian blogs, especially those by Southern Baptists. Thank you.

  16. Jess says

    I must say being a man that speaks his mind, and don’t take to change very easily, I have learned a thing or two from blogging.

    1. If I were climbing into the ring with the devil and could choose one person to climb into the ring with me, I would say Miller, you’re up!

    2. I enjoy reading what David Rogers writes. I believe David has it together. I have become a better man from his writing.

    3. parsonsmike has taught me to have my facts together before I disagree with him. I’m thankful for that.

    Thank you all.