He was arguing the point from the angle of one who honestly didn’t understand what blogging was, nor did he see how any preacher who has a schedule with ongoing demands would even have the time to do it. (To that, he has a point!)
On the cuff, I gave him a list of reasons why I blog, and have blogged through the years, since 2006. These are they….
1. Cultivating my writing skills
I love books; and I love words. By default, I’ve learned to love writing! Admittedly, I often wonder if I am growing or regressing in my writing ability. Nonetheless, I keep on writing. I have wondered if my growing desire to write is hewn out of an early frustration of not finding enough material among more preaching giants within my culture. I would relish more of the words of a late Manuel Scott, Sr. (who wrote 2 books) or a Miles Jones or a C.A.W. Clark, or an Isadore Edwards, E. Edward Jones, William J. Shaw and so many others. These aforementioned preaching minds, among many others, in the African-American context, stand with the W. A. Criswell’s and George Truett’s and Adrian Roger’s of their time. But….we are hard pressed to find their materials. As a consequence, many of ‘us’ resorted to taking the words they preached and writing them ourselves; only to compromise our preaching integrity with endless plagiarisms and non-credits that came to ‘discredit’ us in our preaching. Somehow, and in some way….the writings of the white preacher not only gave credibility to the one who preached; but also added validity, weight and credibility to the one who repeated it. I just decided, a while ago, that if I never become one of the premier preachers of yesteryear tomorrow, I hope to be a good writer and a communicator of truth. At any rate….a clear writer!
2. Clarify my unrefined thoughts
In order to be a clear writer (see #1), I must not only continue to blog and write, but I must sift and think through my thoughts with the likening consistency of a swordsmith who sharpens iron or a baker who filters flour. I often wonder how some of these great bloggers who I enjoy (please see blogs I follow), ‘how in the world do they write with such clarity?’. I’ve discovered they blog often and are avid readers. There are simply no excuses for the preacher not pressing toward the goal of being a voracious reader, a consistent writer and a continual thinker & philosopher. I want my thoughts to be clear and concise. And a primary way to do this is through continued writing. This is a challenge to me when I consider myself to be a person who finds complex ways to say the simplest things. The more I grow, the less I feel the need to use a big word to say a very simple, elementary thing. The greatest minds are able to discern and select each word, and ascertain where it should be ascribed and placed. And even if you aren’t a great writer, just start writing!
3. Chronicling my journey
I am literally amazed when I go back to my original blogs and read many of the words and thoughts I chronicled along the way, during my first pastorate, and leading into my current pastorate. I received quite a bit of criticism from discreet and aloof Christians and pastors who felt I was being too transparent in my early writings. Man….I am so glad I kept writing and being transparent! I have absolutely no regrets. I am actually smart enough to know what should not be shared, and mindful that some things are too much. As I look back over my older blogs, beginning in 2006, I chronicled the birth of 2 of my 3 sons, losing children, starting a congregation, personal and private struggles, etc. I have no doubt that it has blessed some whom I may never even know. I pray that somehow it will one day even bless my own children, in some way. For me, I would never do this on a sheet of paper or a booklet called a ‘journal’. Blogging is my journal! I make absolutely no claims to be one of the greatest minds in the world; but I do have an innate desire to leave resources for coming generations to read it and run, as found in the words of Habakkuk 2:2.
4. Build Consistency
I suppose that when blogging is done as I imagine, it builds consistency. If a blog is to be minimally effective and efficient, there is somewhat of a forced consistency that must be established and maintained. After all, a person who blogs once or twice a year (which I encourage, rather than not at all) somehow loses the war on consistency, UNLESS they are consistent about that one or two annual blogs!
5. Communal Interaction….kind of
A few years ago, I discovered something that blew me away – people read my blogs! Well, maybe I should clarify – I don’t always know whose reading my blog! I was once in a church during my vacation. Incidentally, I attended a service hoping to hear the pastor. Much to my surprise, they had a guest congregation and preacher that day. The church was filled to capacity! The visiting congregation was, in their own right, a church that had grown to over a thousand, as a new church; and well-respected for their consistent growth in such a short period of time. After the preacher delivered his sermon (an interesting sermon dealing with Mephibosheth!), the pastor saw me and called my name. The guest preacher stood up and said, ‘I know you. I read your blogs!’ I was completely shocked. It made me a little proud of my little blog; but it also humbled me. To be brutally honest – it devastated me!!! I had to go back and reflect on all of the things I wrote! But I say that to say this – interactions are all but commonplace in my arena. I relish those who are following my blogs and, through the years, have left feedback on my page. But to be honest, many who are touched will never leave a name, comment or website. But they are touched!!!
6. Impact, Encourage and Inspire
Here is another reality – some WILL give feedback. That feedback simply serves as an encouragement to let me know that my journey and story is touching somebody else. In turn, it has a way of blessing me!
I believe the purpose of blogging, at least in my context, is to leave something beneficial in the life of the one who reads. It is my hope and prayer that I may instill something that only I can, with the dynamics of the life I lead. We can impact the world and change generations by sharing from our history and biography.
What are some ways blogging has benefited you as a writer or a reader???