I’ve been thinking more on the subject of weblogs, and the general phenomenon of web publishing. There is so much unthought outpouring of whatever hits the minds of the ‘publishers’ that it is hard to find anything original or edifying.
I would suggest that anything we write and publish online (as opposed to in personal paper based diaries) should be the product of either meditation or reading.
Meditation: By meditation I mean the specifically Christian notion of meditation that is: filling one’s mind with the thoughts of God and considering those thoughts. This should involve reading the Bible or bringing to mind what you have already read or memorised.
Reading: By reading I don’t mean the latest trendy magazine, but that which provokes thought; either online blogs, journals, publications that are so designed or paper based books, magazines etc. that have original content that is aimed at growing the reader.
If we fail to follow these guidelines we will fail to contribute anything of lasting worth. It’s great seeing your words in print; it’s greater to know that in some way they have captivated, enthused, encouraged another rather than just bored them…
I’ve been stumbling again. The number of weblogs is definitely on the increase. The number of self serving weblogs is on the increase. Is that the pot calling the kettle black? Perhaps: there must be an element of self promotion in order to get your blog noticed in the first place.
But what about the content? It’s fine to diary the minutae of your own life if there is an audience of personal friends that 1. Aren’t involved in the minutae of your daily life, and 2. Are willing to read about such minutae rather than email/text/phone and enter into dialogue.
That’s the rub: blogging is monologue, even with the possibility of commenting it is not two way communication, it’s publishing.
If we’re committed to publishing, then surely we should be committed to contributing something positive to the online community. There is so much junk and there are so few gems. Let’s make the web sparkle a little more by taking care to add to it only that which will help others, not mere drivel.
Jesus had power. In Luke’s Gospel we read of One who commanded the sea and it became calm, who cast out a multitude of demons from a man possessed, who healed incurable diseases by merely being touched. Yet Jesus’ greatest deed was one of complete self denial, of allowing Himself to be crucified.
When His disciples understood that Jesus was the Messiah of God Jesus spoke to them to counteract the notion that this meant He was coming to exercise His power over the Jewish nation. Jesus pointed to the cross, to His plan to give up His life in order to gain the greatest victory. If we would be His disciples, Jesus said, we too must take up our cross, denying self so that we may truly follow Him. We too must give up to gain, not for ourselve, but for the kingdom of heaven.
We may not have the power to heal, cast out demons or calm the storm, but we all have the power to give.
In the Old Testament we are told of Joshua that ‘none of his words fell to the ground’. Strange statement? Not when you realise how the Hebrews thought about words. Words were considered to be alive in the sense that they went from your mouth and achieved their intended pupose before returning again. Hence the statement from God in Isaiah 55:11:
So shall my word be that comes out of my mouth; it will not return to me empty but shall accomplish that which I purpose and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
The effect of words is all too often minimised. Words have great power in their effect. One Bible College lecturer likened harsh words to a brick being thrown through a window. It is no good to apologise and say ‘I’ll take back the brick’! The damage is still done.
But words have tremendous power to build up too. Let’s consider the purpose that we use words for and endeavour to send them out from our mouths for building and not breaking.
“But he, desiring to justify himself said ‘Who is my enemy?'”
This was the question asked of Jesus about loving your neighbour. But all too often it is also used as an excuse to avoid loving our enemies. We justify away Jesus’ command to love all.
Jesus’ list covers all: those who hate me, those who curse me, who abuse me, those who strike me or take what is mine, even the scroungers.
I must treat others as I would expect to be treated, with care, consideration and genuine love.
Love your enemies – anyone who hurts you – do good, expect no thanks in return: your reward will be great, and you will be true sons of God!