GodBlogCon: Blogging as a Platonic dialogue

It’s an 8-hour drive from Tucson to Biola University (La Mirada, CA). Enough time to suffer through several talk-radio discussions about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers’ lack of gravitas (only this time, the dig is coming from right-wing elites), and a far more interesting reminiscence by Al Franken about his father. I may write about that later. It was the first time I’d heard Air America, and for quite awhile I thought I was listening to Bill Bennett — I’m sure neither of them would appreciate being confused with the other, but their voices are amazingly similar.

The trip was greatly improved when I turned off the radio and started playing some of the CD’s I’d brought along. Jeff Rohlwing, Fernando Ortega, Sara Groves. I listened to good music, prayed for friends and family, and enjoyed the beautiful desert scenery.

The big event of God Blog Con day one was a lecture by the very engaging Dr. John Mark Reynolds on blogging as a counter-balance to “preserved performance.” We engage each other more and more through “frozen” media — books, films, recordings, lectures — and less and less through conversation, debate, dialogue, and theater. Frozen performance causes us to observe without engaging. We watch but rarely participate.

In contrast, the best blogs are conversational. They encourage and foster debate. Points of view are aired and examined, falacies are exposed, new perspectives are considered. Reynolds compares blogging to “a Platonic dialogue in the marketplace.” (He’s a philosopher — philosophers can’t utter 3 sentences without invoking the name of Plato — it’s kind of like NASCAR fans and Mark Martin.)

I think Reynold may be right. I write letters to the editor of my local newspaper, and every once in awhile they will print one of them, always heavily edited. Blogs give people of vastly different backgrounds and worldviews an equal opportunity to express themselves and debate the issues of the day. They are the office water cooler on a much bigger scale.

Bloggers I have met so far: Jan of The View from Her, DJ Chuang of DJ Chuang.com, Joshua Claybourn of In the Agora, John Gillmartin of The Sheep’s Crib. Go give them a read.

More to come.

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  1. How post-modern is GodBlogCon? I see “post-modern” in your graphics…would not have expected to find Brian McLaren-style post-moderns at GodBlogCon. I just finished reading “a New Kind of Christian,” (recommended both by my 14 year old and a respected pastor), and found it quite interesting and innovative.

    (My personal Christian blog is at Heart,Soul & Humor.)

  2. I can really relate to your comment about writing letters to the editor. I frequently had the same problem with my local newspaper. As it became more and more liberal on it’s “Faith and Values” page, I gave up writing under the monthly limit of two 250 words or less letters.

    The terrible tragedy of 9/11, motivated me to start a Christian website and message board. But when I discovered blogging in April 2005, I found my niche. This cured my desire to write letters (although I do occasionally and mention my new blog!) to a newspaper that has an editor who probably hates my views. He would often edit the most important sentences out of the letter and destroy the message I was trying to get across.

    I love the fact that blogging is truly the cure for ‘frozen performance’ and the ‘watch but rarely participate’ dilemma that we used to have through the ‘stagnant frozen media’ choices of the past.

    Taking down the barriers for ordinary people to have their voices heard (more accurately, words read) is such a blessing!