Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why blog?

Mississippi Fred MacDowell
An interesting post at the Biblical Theology blog called 'Why blog?'.

His three reasons:
Facts are facts, I think. The first fact that is inescapable, is that, no matter how long we live, we will all one day die. Given that fact, many of us of something of an intellectual bent or possessed by academic inclinations wish to produce something that will outlive us, validate our lives, and provide at least some sort of legacy and memory.

Fact two- none of the books we write or the papers we will present will be remembered, or read, in 50 years. Most of what we produce on paper will be unavailable except from obscure bookshops in 10 years. In 5 years, the books we must have and must read will be gathering dust. The fact that Luther and Calvin and Zwingli and Augustine are still read and valued proves this rule- since there scarcely seem to be any Luthers or Zwinglis around any more. Even Barth's memory is beginning to fade; his name is unknown to most people, most Christians, some theologians, and a ton of Biblical scholars. Brunner, too, suffers the same fate- but worse. In the next 30 years Bultmann and Strauss will be nothing more than mere historical curiosities. As much as it might pain us to think so, our much vaunted, highly priced, studies of the "entrails of the gnat" will rot in forgottenness before our own lives end.

Fact three- the birth of the internet and discussion lists and web publishing and yes, even blogs, has given many of the formerly voiceless a voice and those with a voice for a small and secluded local audience, a worldwide platform from which to share their ideas, research, and perspective. But as all of us know, the dreaded "page not found" error message shows that things once available become, in an instant, unavailable. That is, even the internet does not provide immortality (though it does offer the opportunity for data storage of a more permanent nature).

But what the internet does do is allow widespread dissemination of thought. And though that thought may one day be lost or discarded on the main server, someone, somewhere, may have "saved a copy" on their hard drive and thus one remains "alive" through one's work- immortal.

Immortality. That's why.
I'm not really sure that immortality comes into it much for me. I am not a published author or an academic who frets about months or even years of labor being consigned to nothing and I don't feel that the most important things in life are that strangers will know what I thought once I'm gone from this earth.

For me the third reasons ring especially familiar, with elements of the second as well.

I also have to mention that in our own communities, one doesn't have to go back to the 16th century or the 5th to find exceptions that prove the rule. This is indeed a major, major strength.

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