My Guest Blogger this week is Dr David Murray who blogs at headhearthand. David, a Scot, is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS) and his blog really is a ‘must read’, full of helpful insights into pastoral ministry and leadership issues. Many thanks, David, fo answering my questions.
1. How did you get into blogging?
A PRTS student, Michael Dewalt, persuaded me to start about three years ago. Prior to that, I hardly ever looked at blogs. I had no Facebook or Twitter account. I could see no value in adding another layer of activity to my life. But Michael got me set up with Google Reader, added some well-known Christian blogs to my feed, and then signed me up with a Twitter and Facebook account.
I started blogging by linking to articles on leadership, but as I gained confidence I began to write a paragraph or two of comment, and it just grew from there.
2. Why do you blog? What is, if you like your ‘Mission Statement’ as a blogger?
In some ways I don’t know why I started blogging. But now I am motivated to blog for four reasons. First, I blog to help me teach and preach. I find it an excellent way of forcing me to articulate my thoughts. I was never very keen on writing, but this has taught me how to write clearly, simply, and briefly. Second, I blog to extend the mission and message of Puritan Reformed Seminary beyond our traditional constituency of support. It’s a great way of reaching out and showing how the Reformed worldview engages both with the Bible and with the world. Third, I blog to encourage pastors in their spiritual leadership, by providing links and writing articles that will help them in their work of feeding Christ’s sheep and seeking the lost. Fourth, I blog to interact with others. I’ve found blogging to be a helpful iron-sharpening exercise, with readers providing helpful balance, correction, and sometimes re-direction.
3. What do you see as the strategic benefits of Christian blogging?
The greatest strategic benefit is the accessibility to many minds and hearts on a regular basis. Blogging allows you to drip-drip-drip the truth out over many days, weeks, and months. It is a great privilege to have regular readers and the opportunity to influence and shape lives over a long period of time. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously and prayerfully.
It also allows me to address issues that I would not normally be able to engage. For me, preaching has primacy and the pulpit should be kept for exposition of the Word, whereas blogging opens the way to address secondary matters in a more topical way, and also to interact with other views, both Christian and non-Christian.
4. What are some of the problems and weaknesses you see as you survey the Christian blogging scene?
I’m very positive about the Christian blogging scene. Although many start blogs, only the good eventually survive. When people are not attracting readers, they usually stop blogging. So, there is a fairly effective filtering system in place over the long term.
There are, however, some blogs that could do with a good dose of Christian charity and optimism. There’s definitely a place for expose and condemnation of error, but when there’s an almost constant diet of that, it usually attracts the same kind of readers and they feed off one another, not to their benefit.
I’m also not sure about the long-term wisdom of the group-blogging that is becoming more popular, especially if the group represents a broad spectrum of opinion. There’s the possibility of being influenced in what you write (even sub-consciously), and there’s also the reality that almost all Christian organizations go belly-up theologically speaking.
5. Is there a gap in the scene; an area of Christian life or ministry that is not being adequately addressed?
Yes, I’d like to see much more constructive engagement with the world in areas of leadership and mental illness. There’s far too much sweeping condemnation of the thoughtful and careful work that has been done by unbelievers in these areas. I know that there are dangers here, but when I see the amount of time and thought that goes into analyzing art, politics, movies, books, and even sports from a Christian perspective, I’m amazed at the often thoughtless refusal to even look at what God has allowed unbelievers to discover in these areas of leadership and psychology.
6. What advice would you give to someone considering starting blogging?
- Read lots of other blogs over a period of time
- Start with short posts
- Link to other people’s content
- Be regular and don’t leave big time gaps between posts
- Learn to write as briefly as possible
- Reveal a bit of yourself without making it all about you
- Let your primary motivation be the service of others
- Respond constructively to any comments you get
7. What are your favorite 5 Christian blogs?
|Print article||This entry was posted by John on February 27, 2012 at 8:36 am, and is filed under Meet the Bloggers. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|