Why blog: Interaction (Part 2)


<— Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 3 —>

The blogosphere is just another communication channel for bloggers. That sounds obvious doesn’t it but let me explain why I think it’s a relevant observation. Introverts tend to propagate introverted blogs; they battle to form alliances, attract readership and build a community. Extroverts tend proliferate extroverted blogs; they just connect easily, their readership flourishes and they end up belonging. *

Normative Christianity is characterised by social and communal behaviour. We call it Christian fellowship, brotherly love and practising the one another’s. ** Right from the start Christians were identifiably as connected to one another. Consider Acts 2:41 – 47,

41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Want to hear the verse in context? Acts 2
What is this about?

I guess my point is that many Christian bloggers see the blogosphere as a wider platform for interaction. This is good. They do this for a number of differing reasons: Some seek fellowship (Blogroll Guy), some seek diversity (Comment-all-over-the-place Guy), some seek uniformity (Denomination-Upfront Guy) and some just seek a platform (although Bullhorn Guy might not be a form of interaction as it’s not two way communication).

The platform can be a useful tool to facilitate interaction and I believe this is a natural progression from the blogger who writes out of a motivation of Introspection (see https://markpenrith.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/why-blog-introspection-part-1/).

* Does anyone know if there’s any research to support this?

** Do I need to point out that fellowship stands with worship, teaching and evangelism as pillars of the New Testament Church?

South Christian African Bloggers who I believe really get this right:

Angus Kelly

Angus Kelly and I spend a lot more time disagreeing on things than agreeing (oh Lord bring more Calvinistic, Pre-trib, Pre-Rapture, Dispensationalist, Fundementalists across my path ;) ) but I appreciate his openess to debate. John van de Laar from Sacredise is top of this category too.

For some great examples of interaction check out http://gruntleblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/profile-for-my-churchs-website.html?showComment=1273571802959#c8415165032976866184 and http://sacredise.blogspot.com/2010/03/consistency.html?showComment=1267764591216#c8180813531555402382

Angus Kelly

Sharkbait was the fish I wrote to when I decided I wanted to blog. He steered me through setting up. He’s Anglican and worships with my family down in the Eastern Cape. He has a surprisingly large following of woman (I follow his comments RSS and am frequently struck by how popular he is).

Others I believe are in this category are: Dion’s random ramblings, Khanya, Ryan Peter Blogs and stuff and .

<— Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 3 —>

Digital vacation


This is the longest I’ve gone with nothing to say.

*blush* OK, I admit, I have plenty to say but I’ve been gagged. My PC crashed, I went from XP to Windows 7 and my 3G card isn’t compatible or something so I’m left without internet access at home. Hence the time of silence.

I’ll be back, just not for a while.

The blogosphere as a battleground for the truth (Part 4 of 4)


<— Click here for Part 3
false teachers apostate blasphemy Jude Ioudas warning

False teachers are everywhere nowadays. This is part of a series revolving around a review of Ioudas’ book. Click image to enlarge.

This is tightly connected to last week’s blog posts.

Jude desired to write a letter concerning salvation but was compelled instead to pen an epistle rebutting the apostasy which was rife in the early church. In it he describes false teachers, articulates their impending judgment and cautions of the dangers that they represent. After reading it one might be left thinking, “With these guys being so bad surely I’d best avoid them?”

Jude responds, “No!” In fact he goes even further than that and exhorts us to, “contend earnestly for the faith.”

I think it’s fair to say, as far as Christian trends go, ‘tolerance’ is the new black and any ‘contending’ is seriously last season, out of vogue, no longer fashionable. Christian doctrine, orthodox theology and Biblical truth have been sacrificed on the altar of cultural relevance and any defense of them comes off looking fascist. The modern Christianese mantra is, “Never challenge, Never exhort, Never correct and Never ever offend!”

The blogosphere however offers us the opportunity to break the shackles of sluggishness because by nature it encourages us to present our thoughts and ideas on issues to the public domain and then solicit a response. This bold new approach in interactivity results in one of three responses from Christian bloggers (hat tip Walter Cannon):

Fright: Frozen, unable to choose left or right, flight or fight. Neutrality is the default stance of most Christians on any issue of faith. Maybe as a whole we’ve become incapably equipped and so cannot enter into debate being inadequately prepared for any kind of hand to hand combat that might ensue.

And so the majority never comments for or against issues in front of them, philosophically appeasing themselves by hiding behind the facade of brotherly love. In Biblical terms the word “lukewarm” and the phrase, “I will spit you out of My mouth,” spring to mind.

Flight: Rather than rise to the challenge of a heretical statement or erroneous post people will quickly move off the blog or only ever browse blogs of authors that they know to be universally acceptable to their denomination or doctrinal slant (people from my ilk might stick to gty or desiringGod).

Safely cocooned in the comfort of familiarity some bloggers have ideological blinkers on ignoring the savage storm of false teaching that rages around them. Ostriches with their heads buried deeply into the sand.

Fight: Battle worn saints of God “contend earnestly for the faith”. All Christians have been divinely charged and commissioned to, “take up the full armor of God” and equip themselves with, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. The battle is fierce and savage but the victory is certainly guaranteed because our Captain cannot be overwhelmed or defeated. Listen to Jude’s own words,

Want to hear the verse in context? Jude
What is this about?

http://librivox.org/the-epistle-of-jude
<— Click here for Part 3

The battle isn’t clean but a messy mire of muck. For some examples of online “contending” check out the fruitful discussion here and the fruitless discuss here.

For a list of people who are blogging in the South African Christian community click here.

My WatchList


My Watchlist
Blog Name
(click on a blog to link to it)
Calvinism Arminianism Universalism Dispensationalism New Covenantal Theology Conenantalism Conservatism Liberalism
Anglican
Shark Bait’s Reef  RSS  Link Love   almost Arminianism         Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Chris Ebden  RSS Calvinism           Covenantalism   ?  
Contact Online Weblog  RSS Calvinism           Covenantalism Conservatism    
davidsshortstories’ photostream  RSS   almost Arminianism         Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
St John’s Anglican Church  RSS   almost Arminianism         Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Baptist
Called. Convicted. Converted.  RSS Calvinism         New Covenantal Theology   Conservatism    
Conservative Christianity  RSS Calvinism       Dispensationalism     Conservatism    
Congregational
Urban Ministry Live…  RSS   almost Arminianism         Covenantalism Conservatism    
Dutch Reformed Church
my contemplations  RSS  Twitter   ?         Covenantalism   ?  
Methodist
Carpenter’s Shoes  RSS  Twitter  Link Love     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
gruntleblog…  RSS  Twitter  Link Love     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Keeping Up…with the Joneses  RSS  Link Love     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Matthew 6 : 25 – 34  RSS  Link Love     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Along “The Way”  RSS  Twitter     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
An uncommon path  RSS  Twitter     Arminianism       Covenantalism     Liberalism
Living In Grace  RSS  Twitter     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Rock in the Grass  RSS     Arminianism       Covenantalism     Liberalism
Sacredise  RSS  Twitter     Arminianism       Covenantalism     Liberalism
Tongue In Cheek Stew  RSS     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Wessel’s place  RSS     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Non-Denominational
Because He Lives  RSS  Twitter  Link Love Calvinism       Dispensationalism     Conservatism    
Christian Diary  RSS  Link Love   ?     Dispensationalism     Conservatism    
Reformed and Renewed  RSS  Link Love Calvinism       Dispensationalism     Conservatism    
…daylight  RSS Calvinism         New Covenantal Theology     almost Conservatism  
Non-Institutional
Ryan Peter Blogs and stuff  RSS   ?       ?     ?  
Watch and Pray  RSS   almost Arminianism       New Covenantal Theology   Conservatism    
Orthodox
Khanya  RSS  Link Love   ?         Covenantalism   ?  
Unknown
fresh expressions…  RSS                    
a piece of my mind….  RSS                    
BiblioPolit  RSS Calvinism         New Covenantal Theology   Conservatism    
Just thinking…  RSS Calvinism         New Covenantal Theology   Conservatism    

Key
Symbol Description
RSS Not using RSS to follow your favourite blogs is like trying to dig a garden pond equipped with a spoon. Want more information about RSS? Click here.
Twitter Everyone’s on Twitter… or should be. Click the Twitter image to go to the persons Twitter page.
Link Love Thanks for linking to me from your blogroll. I really appreciate it. This is my way of giving you cred.
Um, you’ve been boxed. Check the column. How close am I?
? I’m not sure where you stand. Maybe you could drop me a note and correct me?

A blogroll is really just a “blogger’s list of hyperlinks to other blogs”. More often than not it quickly degenerates into a you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours rewards mechanism. I decided to drop it from my sidebar because I was concerned that by linking without prudence I’d give unfettered consent to views disparate from my own and I had a deep sense of discomfort with that thought.

Enter My Watchlist. These are the South African blogs monitored by my RSS feed. These are not blogs I necessarily always (or even ever) agree with, these are blogs purporting to be Christian which I subscribe to. To emphasize discernment I’ve categorised each of them according to criteria which I deem to be important. Of course the categorization is subjective and my perception may well be incorrect. If you become a casualty of my zealous endeavour I apologise, it is done without malice. Please correct me in the comments section below.

As always I’d encourage you to excise discernment, amongst those listed are savage wolves seeking to draw away disciples after themselves.

It was my blogging friend Jenny Hillebrand who pointed out the need for me to lay down some of the guidelines to how the categorisation was done. The tables below are an attempt to make clear the thinking above. Most of the silly, dusty, Theological words are hyperlinks that you could press on to link to wikipedia articles giving you more information.

Salvation
Calvinism Arminianism Universalism
Total depravity Humans are naturally unable to make any effort towards salvation. No works of human effort can cause or contribute to salvation. Salvation is possible only by God’s grace, which cannot be merited. God plans to redeem, restore, and transform all people through Christ. This is in conflict with the clear teachings of Scripture and is an apostate belief system.
Unconditional election God’s election is conditional on faith in the sacrifice and Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Limited atonement Christ’s atonement was made on behalf of all people.
Irresistible grace God allows his grace to be resisted by those who freely reject Christ.
Perseverance of the saints Believers are able to resist sin but are not beyond the possibility of falling from grace through persistent, unrepented-of sin.
It is my observation that Calvinists will view “To the Glory of God” as the preeminent theme running through Scripture. I’d imagine that Arminianists would view “The scarlet-colored blood-red thread of God’s redemptive plan and purpose” as the chief end and purpose of the Biblical account?
The Big Picture
Dispensationalism New Covanent Theology Covenantalism
Dispensationalism is a Protestant evangelical tradition and theology based on a biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive “dispensations” or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants. A middle-ground between a Reformed and Dispensationalist view of how the Old Testament, and in particular the Mosaic Covenant, apply to the Christian today. Covenant theology (also known as Covenantalism or Federal theology or Federalism) is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible. It uses the theological concept of covenant as an organizing principle for Christian theology.
Some Important Nitty Gritties
Conservatism * Liberalism
The inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit and the inerrancy of Scripture as a result of this.
The virgin birth of Christ.
The belief that Christ’s death was the atonement for sin. Ransom view or the moral influence view
The bodily resurrection of Christ.
The historical reality of Christ’s miracles.
Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”).
Sola fide (“by faith alone”).
Sola gratia (“by grace alone”).
Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”).
Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”).
Creationism. Evolution, Ruin-Restoration Creationism or Progressive Creationism.
Cessationism Spiritualism (not to be confused with Spirituality) or Mysticism

* Conservatism: I’ve chosen to adopt this word because in fairness Fundamentalism, the word I used originally, is too narrow in scope for what I wish to describe.

Anyone I’m missing?

Much to my own amusement I’ve just realized that neither Wayne Grudem nor John Piper would make it into the conservative column because they’re not Cessationists ?. I’m a bit double handed. Sorry.

High, low, everywhere we go


Me, in kinda of a dress with † Bishop Bruce Evans in the background at St Alban's Cathedral in Pretoria.

At one stage the pungent smell of the incense made me want to vomit. 6 year olds have little appreciation for tradition. Me, in kinda of a dress (I know, I know), with Bishop Bruce Evans in the background at St Alban’s Cathedral in Pretoria. Click image to enlarge.

I started out life as an Anglican. Here’s the proof, the kid in the front of the procession, the Boat Boy or junior Acolyte, is me. This is a fond memory of a wedding service held at St Alban’s Cathedral in Pretoria. Nostalgia.

The nice thing about being Anglican is you have a sense of belonging. It’s a massive communion and there’re people all over the place. You can go to any city, town or village, even Pofadder, and there will be one or two Anglican churches to pick from.

There’re two vibrant and growing Christian blogging communities in South Africa and I’ve realised that this time I’m the outsider looking in. I feel like I’m back at school wishing I was “down” with the cool kids. Basically the Methodists (Jenny, Dion, Pete et al.) and the Emergents (Steve (is this a fair categorisation? I know you’re Orthodox but you seem to be so many things to so many people), Graeme, Roger et al.) own the space… and I think I know why.

They’re often times so much more missionally focused than folk like me. And because the internet is really just a big idea megaphone it’s the perfect vehicle for missionally geared minds to have something to say. They dominate the conversation because of early adoption and saturated use. The emergents appeal to the Post-Post-Modern world and the Methodist are, well, they are… Armenians [sic] :).

Why is this an issue for me? Well in some ways it’s not. I’ve enjoyed the dialogue with Christians that are not exactly cut out of the same mould as me. Although, on the other hand I’m feeling a bit isolated. For now, Psalm 119 nicely summerises a good place to kick Christian friendships and interaction off, online or not,

63 I am a companion of all those who fear You, And of those who keep Your precepts.

Want to hear the verse in context? Psalm 107 – 121
What is this about?

Three things bashed together tonight to get me to this place. Firstly I commented in my About section about a person I didn’t want to associate with online. Secondly I was reminded of my roots by a passerby. Lastly I’ve been constantly turning over a conversation I had with Jenny and Thomas regarding a distinctive I hold to (it wasn’t vestry shelves).

Am I being overly sensitive? Is the depth of the various Christian communities on the web actually a whole lot more superficial than that? Would like to know your opinion. Oh, btw, I have a new job which is taking up a whole lot of my time which is why I’ve been less active of late. Can’t see myself writting more than once a week for the foreseeable future.

What are the “Track Because He Lives” buttons all about?


What I'm talking about.

What I’m talking about.

So I’m slowly coming to grips with the technology of blogging. It’s not a difficult thing to get into but it’s rather harder to understand the ins and outs of how it works. Over a period of time I’ve begun to put a few helpful ways of interacting with this blog together. I thought a post explaining the basic technologies would be helpful.

If you blog about Christianity in the South African sphere drop me a line through the Contact Me section if you’ve got any questions relating to what works and what doesn’t. Also if you’ve got some advise for me jot a note down in the comments section.

RSS

RSS feed to track Because He Lives.

You’ve probably seen this icon on loads of websites in the past. It represents the RSS feed and will allow you to subscribe to a blog or website.

So maybe you’re thinking this site is for you and you’d like to keep up with articles posted? That’s great. There’s a few ways you could do it.

Firstly RSS. When I started blogging I had an incredibly long list of sites that I’d visit everyday. It was painstaking and time consuming. Sometimes a site would update just after I’d visited it and I wouldn’t know until the next day.

RSS is the answer. Basically you can tell the blogs you like to inform you you when they’ve changed, automatically, no need to do anything on your part. How cool is that!

All you’ll need is a RSS reader, then subscribe to as many blogs as you like and they’ll start to notifying your RSS reader. Simple. If you’re using Internet Explorer 7 or above (and most of my readers are) then everything is already built into the browser. Give it a bash, click on the image in this post.

Technorati

Technorati link to fav Because He Lives.

Everyone likes a bit of advertising. Fav my blog on Technorati and you’ll make my day.

Technorati is a way of introducing the world to the stuff you like. It showcases good blog content.

If you’re a member why not write a review of this site or even an article. Fav this blog and you’ll make my day.







Twitter

Tweets keep you updated on what I'm doing.

People either love or hate Twitter.

Maybe RSS seems a bit involved and Technorati like a bit too much effort? Twitter is a good in between.

Basically I update my status on Twitter with a short message. I do this when I’ve posted an article or made a significant change to the site, like a new banner or additional widgets in the right hand column. If you’re a follower of my tweets then that message is automatically sent on to you. It’s a “Simple Simon” way of keeping in touch with what I’m doing on the blog.

Facebook

Facebook allows you to link directly to me.

Facebook is a social networking site.

Have you heard of Facebook? It’s like a family braai, except anyone’s invited and everyone has a pocket photo album that they want to share. You can see what’s happening in peoples lives and generally keep up to date with folk.

I love it. Checking out what’s going on in the lives of my friends is my favorite online activity.




Any other follow/track me things I should be using?