Recently, I was reading an essay by Tim Bednar at e-church.com. The essay itself was riddled with repetitive ideas and absolutely HIDEOUS grammar, but it was informative and understandable despite the rawness of the writing
Juleann’s recent post about blogging reminded me that I had wanted to post about Tim’s essay. It wasn’t completely related, but I did learn that those email/LJ/myspace surveys (the ones that everyone fills out and only three people read) are only one example of a meme.
According to Merriam Webster Online, the definition of a meme is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” Blogging itself could be considered a meme. “I blog because my friends blog.” “I have a myspace profile because my friends do.” You get it… Wikipedia has a more lengthy article about the origin of the term. (I haven’t read it all, but the writer/s seem to think that evangelical Christianity is a meme. Maybe I’ll have to check that our later.) You can read that on your own time, if you are interested in proving what a dork you really are.
Anyway, back to the real point of this post. Tim Bednar’s essay, entitled “We Know More Than Our Pastors,” addresses the way many people of faith (he deals particularly with Christians) have left established forms of religious practice and pursued spiritual growth through other avenues, specifically through blogging and other forms of electronic communication. It’s not that they want to leave their faith behind, they just don’t see their faith in the ceremonies and rituals they have been told represent it. The internet allows these people to find each other and create new worship styles to stimulate their spiritual growth. Community isn’t left behind. In fact, the resulting community is often more genuine, open, and mutually edifying than that found in most traditional churches.
The interaction amongst people in the worldwide church, made possible by new technology, is simply incredible. Any question one might have, someone else has talked about it already or you can start a new conversation. We have instant access to people facing the same struggles we are; A worldwide classroom discussion has been established. It’s encouraging to read about the questions, struggles and thoughts of like and unlike-minded people. It helps me to clarify my own thoughts and inspires me to contemplate new ideas.
Tim also points out that, as a body, bloggers have a wealth of knowledge that could never be rivaled by a single pastor or even a pastoral staff. Bloggers may not be the most educated theologians, but they tend to be more in touch with reality. We (I presume to include myself) write about our life experience and how faith works itself out in the real world.
One of these days I’m going to come up with a blog roll that includes some of my favorites. Today is not that day. Thanks for reading to the end!
UPDATE: Ha! Found Nic Hughes talking about Memes.