A Discipleship Bloguzzles: flipping the wrong light switch?  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in , , , , , ,

The internet has rocked the way the world communicates. First we had antique-feeling dial-up to access our Juno/AOL/Netscape email. Then faster connections made email a common thing. Then chat rooms replaced coffee shop social gathering. Faster connections and familiarity gave way to instant messaging. Now it's crazy to not have 2-5 email addresses, a personal homepage, a profile on "social networks" (facebook, myspace, etc.), to share pictures and videos via the web and to communicate into the void of humanity with things like Blogs, Vlogs, Twitter or whatever comes next.

The question is always: does the medium or mode of communication get the job done. Is it truly improving our progress towards relational or general goals, or is it just adding more "stuff" we do? It's the same question we have to wrestle with as Christian leaders: do the programs and things we spend time, money, hours and mental energy on truly fulfill the commission of the Church (big C)? If not...why are we doing it?

So, my "bluzzle." It's a new term I'm copyrighting. That and it's root form, Bloguzzle. Combining "Blog" + "Puzzle." Blogs are a puzzle to me. Sometimes blogs start grassroot movements across normal borders - triggering daily "hits," countless "comments," and facilitating a dynamic discussion of ideas without the hindrances of time and location. Others become little more than a person talking to themselves, letting faint echoes register as conversation.

Which brings me to the Bloguzzle of this particular site. To date there have been about 1,400 "hits" or visits to this site. People from over 14 countries and more than 10 states have perused the content. Pretty cool, right? Sure, it sounds good. But, there are really about 5-10 people who frequently touch base and see what's happening. Yet, while there are 1,400 visits, less than 50 "comments" have been made. More than a dozen major postings, but little actual conversation. The cyber crickets are beginning to drowned out even the delusional echoes so common to blog sites.

The Bloguzzle begs a question: is a "blog" and this particular expression of a blog effective for our purpose of pursuing discipleship? Does the content truly help you in our joint cause? Does the format truly facilitate helpful exchanges of ideas? Is this addressing a need effectively...or, is it a worthwhile experiment that has failed to have results justifying its continuation?

In the Love & Respect marriage study we're doing right now at Grace Point, Dr. Eggerichs describes how "crazy" it would be for a person to stand at a wall flipping a switch up and down endlessly when the lights are obviously not coming on. He describes the lunacy of that scenario as an illustration of the craziness we often times live out in relationships and efforts - doing the same thing over and over expecting results that are obviously not coming. Is this bloguzzle a sign of the wrong light switch or just some other issue?

YOU are the litmus papers of this lab study. Pink or blue? Good or bad? Valuable or just "okay"? Let me know.

Paul says in Hebrews to loosen yourself from the "sins that so easily ensnare you" so that we can run more fully and freely towards Christ. Sometimes it's not just "sin" we have to loosen ourselves from, but less than effective investments of time and energy. It's a healthy leadership practice: to periodically run inventory on how you're stewarding the time God has given you for the purpose and life He calls you to.



This entry was posted at Tuesday, April 08, 2008 and is filed under , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

7 thoughts and responses

Possibly, it's the content people find important that drives the traffic to a blog site. Such as a top Wordpress blog for the day was: “White Problems: Poorly Read Partners” There were 429 Responses.

One response was: JESUS WAS A BLACK MAN LYNCHED ITALIAN STYLE. The link was provided to their church website. Check it out: http://www.tucc.org. I think the world has gone nuts!

April 9, 2008 at 8:46 AM

I'm thinking....

April 9, 2008 at 10:05 PM

"bluzzle" - an adverb I suppose. The definition still to be determined by its' use. The heart (essence of being) of a blog is a bluzzlement to many, but loved by a few.

As you infer, we as humans are limited in capacity. We have a predetermined about of time and energy to accomplish all God has planned for us. So the answer to the question, "Do I continue to flip the switch with expectation that the light will come on, some day?" is really quite simple. What does God want?

For me personally, I look at the concept of blogging as being a single spoke in a wheel that God has spinning in my life. I use the blog as a method of communication for those that have an ear to hear or at least an interest in what I have to say.

It is safe to say, most of the world could care less what I have to say. There are a few who have a passing interest in my thoughts. There are even fewer that have a active interest in my thoughts. After all, it's not about me. It's all about you. Right?

For me to have an interest in your thoughts, I must have a reason. For example: If you are my boss, I will read your blog because I want you to know what a great employee I am. If you are the president of Microsoft, I might read your blog hoping to gain insight into business.

If you are a pastor with a passion for discipleship, I might read your blog because I too have a passion for discipleship. But I don't. I read your blog, because I desire to know the person Mike Sharrow more intimately. I want to know what makes him tick. I want to know if God is real in his life. I want to know how God is using him because it encourages me in my walk.

As discipleship goes, I think the mechanics of it are overrated. Ultimately, God prepares the heart of a person and creates a hunger for righteous living. Our responsibility lies in being available to encourage. I think the blog format provides the opportunity to communicate the message that God is real in my life and I am available to allow God to work through me in adding real value to your life.

We toss the coin. God controls the outcome. But first, we must toss the coin.

April 10, 2008 at 8:24 AM

I looked up disciple on dictionary.com and interestingly the last definition came back as 6.Obsolete. to teach; train. In my experience, teaching and training has been lost. When I was searching for something I approached many "christian" people. To a person, the first words were "find a good church." The second most common response was "read the Bible." Both responses are like telling me to find a good mechanic or read the manual when my car is broken down. What's missing? The personal "Follow Me." I didn't know how to find a good church, I didn't know what to read, verses made no sense or did not relate to what I was going through. The original 12 were told to follow, every day they had someone to watch, question, and discuss with. They saw what their Leader did, they were able to question why He did things. They participated in what He did. Reading is fine, blogging online is ok, as it may peak an interest like a billboard on the hiway, but how do you go from an anonymous disciple to a teacher and trainer with a personal relationship with those new in the faith? Discipleship and Ministry should be hands on and up close and personal. Personally those who I have spoken to about Christ have my home phone number, cell number and know my home address. I call them, I make the effort to go see and speak with them. When they are in trouble they don't want verses, they want answers to how to get through the tough times. If they knew the verses and how to apply them, they would be ready to disciple someone else. I dunno to me disciple=relationship.

Just some thoughts

April 15, 2008 at 10:22 AM

As you know I've asked a similar question, but not so bloguzzly. I read a smattering of blogs for their content and interaction. I am stretched by those that push me beyond the constructs of my understanding. I'm bored by those that consist of people talking to themselves (of which my own blog seems.) I'm taught and challenged by blogs such as this one, as well as by the lives of those who share....Blogs share some great stuff and can function at one level of fellowship and encouragement, but they can't substitute for working together, praying together, worshipping together, enjoying together, etc. etc. in the way that real relationship does. Most of the blogs I pay attention to teach me and encourage me at a level even electronic words can maintain. I enjoy being (albeit remotely) a part of the Gracepoint community by checking in here. My understanding of my own connectivity with others through this medium is this...my output port is still parallel and if can get upgraded to USB I'll probably write more!

April 16, 2008 at 9:03 PM

can a blog be discipleship? not in and of itself. so, on that level, this will fail regardless.

what you can do is open your eyes and the eyes of others to incredible views of god that otherwise may never leave your heart - and that is the world's gain.

keep this. just revisit the "why" and change the "why" if it doesn't allow you to continue as you like.

April 18, 2008 at 5:56 PM

I think we as a society have gotten pretty lonely. We shop online, listen to church online, listen to radio online, we tithe to our favorite ministries online, we pay bills and bank online..we have lost the human connection.

It bothers me that we are such an information age. Cell phones are great except for the fact, someone can reach you ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. I really miss the days of the landline one line phone, if it was busy you call back.

And, do we really need the convenience of flipping the remote to the tv..what about getting UP off the couch and changing the channel?

Your post made me think and of course when I do that I have to respond.

--Sara Gwathmey

April 18, 2008 at 6:03 PM

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