Hugh had a panel of three blogging pastors.
Dr. Tod Bolsinger told how he got into blogging and why he limits his scope to just those issues where he feels he has something worthwhile to offer which is almost never politics.
Dr. Mark Roberts told how Hugh got him to start blogging, and how his posts addressing some of the issues raised by The Da Vinci Code started his influence to spread.
Dr. John Mark Reynolds said he comes the closest of the panelists to dealing with political issues. When he deals with politics it is more to show himself as a rounded person than to be a political commentator. He wants to present a Christian world view, and will visit sites from non christians to see what they believe so that he can better present the Christian world view.
Hugh then presented his 7 questions:
1) You were all busy people, how have you balanced your time to fit in blogging? - Reynolds took from his football time and put limits on his time devoted to blogging. - Roberts said he started calling it a hobby but now realized it is a ministry. - Bolsinger feels blogging is part of being a Pastor. Reynolds asked about ghost blogging.
2) The dangers of email, or what motto would you put over your computer? Roberts mentioned the danger of posting when angry. Bolsinger said “do not let the Send button go down on your anger.” Reynolds talked of developing a thick skin as a blogger. Wait till you have won.
3) The dangers of fame in the blogosphere? Bolsinger quoted the Sermon on the Mount on doing things “to be seen of men” as opposed to doing it as a service. It is an issue of motivation. Reynolds said that in his profession blogging fame can harm his career. He quoted C.S. Lewis on the humble man thinking he is humble which means he is not. Roberts told of how a stranger complimented his blog, and how that felt so strange. He mentioned he must keep centered on serving the Lord.
4) The warning signs of the person who should not blog? Reynolds said if you are convinced you have something you must share. If you can’t abide criticism, or if you can’t take a stand. Roberts said if blogging is an escape from the world, or if blogging takes you away from things you must do, or if you are angry, or if you can’t use proper grammer. Bolsinger said you have to know how to write, and be comfortable writing. Blogging must be part of your Christian community.
5) It is against the law in the USA for a pastor to do candidate advocacy from the pulpit, but they can as a private individual blog on these issues. Should they? Roberts said if political things distract from your primary mission you should steer clear of politics. Bolsinger said he keeps his blog separate from his church, but that is just to keep a line of separation. However, he must always keep in mind his main job is as Pastor. Reynolds also keeps his blog separate from his job, but limits what he says in this sort of public forum.
6) Have you encouraged someone to blog? Bolsinger encouraged a Christian liberal to blog, and hopes he will come back to blogging. Reynolds would like Matthew Anderson and his other students to blog, and some Islamic friends who are upset with the hijacking of Islam. Roberts would love to see more thoughtful and wise folk including academics blogging. He mentioned Dennis Prager.
7) Christians of the past who it would have been great as bloggers. Reynolds - Joan of Arc & Charles Stewart. Roberts – Luther, the Apostle Paul, Calvin. Bolsinger – Abraham Kyper, Jurgen Multline [I’m sure I have mangled these last two names].
Joe Carter raised the fact that the best bloggers are servant leaders. Being a servant is limiting, and sets limits for the scope of our blogs. Matthew Anderson asked about being a specialist versus a generalist. Reynolds said both can be valid, where the generalist can show how to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. GodBloggers say Jesus is Lord, and that colors all they do.
Hugh asked if women bloggers have a harder time getting respect? Most women felt women bloggers face no undue hardships.
I was not able to keep up with all the final questions and comments.
Reynolds concluded he blessed bloggers since they can reach some of his students he can’t. Bolsinger said he needs interaction with people to help him improve his communication of the gospel to laymen. Roberts mentioned how his church became a partner of a church in New Orleans via the Internet.