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This is written by Rev. Deacon Jim Konicki from Deacon’s Blog
Discernment in the Blogdom of God*
Or, can blogging make me a saint?
By Rev. Deacon Jim Konicki
The world of faith blogs is fascinating in its depth; and in what it, as a tool, can allow you to accomplish.
Faith blogging has unlocked the world of faith to seekers and researchers in levels unprecedented since the great efforts at Christian evangelization that occurred between the 15th and 18th century.
There are several aspects to this depth.
The Personal and Public Nature of Faith Blogging
As with any spiritual experience, the practice of blogging starts with oneself. Whether you are a recent convert, on fire for the faith, or a wizened philosopher, the message of faith in the realm of blogs most directly relates to opening yourself up â€“ of sharing your personal faith journey.
Faith, at an essential level, is about fostering change. It is about self reflection, your relationship to the world, your fellow man, and to the metaphysical reality that exists beyond you and me.
The journey of faith often begins with a conversion experience. Whether one is a lifelong believer or new to faith, there is a moment at which the choice of faith, of believing, becomes real. After that moment, that conversion experience, you have to decide what you are going to do with your newfound joy.
If the choice comes down to staying where you are, being what you are, or evolving, of what Orthodox Christianity calls Theosis â€“ coming into an ultimate unity with God (in a sense), the only choice is to evolve. Blogging is an effective tool in that process. It allows an opportunity to analyze where you have been and where you are going. It becomes a journal of the soul’s journey.
These aspects, being open, sharing the faith journey, and allowing the faith journey lived publicly to enhance your opportunity for change (to ask essential questions) closely imitates the journey experienced by many of the most notable saints. People like Francis, Paul, and Augustine all moved from where they were, through a conversion experience, to a public and open journey toward God.
Blogging the faith can be a component of the journey. When asking, “How do I get there?” the examples of those men and women of faith shines though. Their example is that of faith lived openly.
I’ve often told people in my parish (and elsewhere) that children should be in church. Of course some people hate the idea. The feelings range from parents who say they can’t concentrate, to fellow parishioners who feel put upon by rowdy kids. Of course they are missing the point on several levels, but chief among them is that children, shuffled off to church quasi-daycare miss the whole experiential witness of the faithful. They do not see mom and dad practicing the faith nor do they see the communal nature of church.
Even the most ascetic of the saints, the desert hermits, lived a life of public witness.
Blogging is part of that witness. It is by nature communal (check out faith blogger com-boxes for the full impact of the community experience) and is public witness, up-front and out there.
Getting to where you should be in faith is not a new pursuit. Over the centuries men entered monasteries, and women entered convents, in order to set aside the time and effort needed to discern their relationship to God and the world. Some of that depth of experience, and no it is not exactly the same, is found in blogging. Consider blogging as:
- Shared community,
- Shared struggles,
- Self-evaluation (as both a mirror and as a progress chart)
- An effort at focused prayer,
- A process of examination and discernment.
Indeed, essential elements of the discernment process exist in blogging. Blogging is a communal process of self-discovery, and for us, self-discovery in faith.
The Ecumenical Nature of Blogging
Blogging, by its public nature, engages people of faith in dialog and, at a minimum, provides a level of understanding for each others perspectives. It is ecumenical in its approach (can Word Press and MT users come together in understanding).
I’m not fooled into thinking that religious blogging will break down all barriers (ever see a heated theological discussion on the filioque, transubstantiation, or the role of the Pope in com-boxes) or miraculously result in the reunification of the divided flock. But, in the end, blogging does at its seminal level open the door to understanding. I know where my brothers and sisters are, why they believe what they do, and because of blogging’s unique presence, its currency, how they live it. In that discovery I find levels and shades of commonality.
Evangelizing and living it, and the risk of killing it
As I noted earlier, faith requires change, and faith blogging can be a risky venture. It is risky in that your commitment to an honest and public search can be turned into a discourse on minimalism, infinite argument, a lack of charity, self-righteousness, or pure rage. You can be easily pulled in a thousand directions by those with an agenda and/or a need for followers, or by your own selfishness.
Blogging will allow you to be scrutinized in a world fraught with philosophers and theologians, religious-politicos from dyed in the wool traditionalists to neo-conservatives to the uber-liberal. These efforts and agendas erupt into flame wars, the outing of sins, and an occasion to sin.
Good blogging practice and the virtue of patience can help you wade through these obstacles. To see whether or not you can use this tool in a positive way pick any hot-button subject (especially those in direct opposition to your faith position) and read the blogs. Then check yourself, how would you respond, what would you write?
To blog or not to blog? Should you refrain from blogging if you feel that you are less than the epitome of your faith, the perfect example of a believer? Perhaps you should proceed, especially if you understand where you will likely fall short. That understanding, that self examination makes the blogging journey more interesting and more fruitful both for yourself and for the world.
In the end, faith that fails to be transmitted is faith that is dead. A quick look at the Shakers, while not exactly equivalent, proves this point. Blogging is a means to leverage, and for faith bloggers is one of the means to spreading the word. If not you, then who shall go?
How do we live, how do we change, how to we evangelize? In the midst of all that, how do we live our faith commitment in such a way as to avoid being pulled down? Blogging offers a tool to meet those challenges. Like any tool it may be used for right or wrong purposes. If used properly, it can help you get there; it can help you in becoming a saint.