Monday, June 18, 2012

Pastors Who Blog

There seems to be a growing number of pastors who are blogging as a way of reflecting on their pastoral work. Two great blogs come to mind - both by Vineyard pastors: Ahren Summach's The Afterthought and Scott Roe's A-Mazing Monday Mornings. What is fascinating to me is that both of these guys, and I'm sure there are many other great examples, are doing practical theology in a public place. 

Theology at its best is a second step - that is it is a reflection on what we have experienced or come to know about God. When we reflect on our experiences we gain invaluable insights into faith and life. Sometimes our initial interpretations are challenged, other times we find even more meaning than we had first suspected. This reflecting on our experiences and beliefs is a key part of how we grow as leaders, actually of how we all grow as Christians. When we do this reflection in the context of a community, such as the online community that reads and comments on our blogs, then we have the opportunity to move from the tempting place of private interpretation to enter the enriching messiness of the interpreting community.

I've talked about the nature of blogs before. Having been a blogger for quite a few years now I know how helpful (and sometimes frustrating to be honest) blogging can be. It is especially helpful when other people jump into the conversation. This is where the frustrations can come, but more often than not comments are a great way for us to have out ideas challenged and pushed. I always try to welcome comments, even when I strongly disagree with them. I have to be careful of not caring too much about changing the ideas of other people - but rather focus on hearing them and navigating my own way through the questions they raise. The thing we need to keep in mind is that blogs are a very public space and online people tend to feel less inhibited about commenting. Ze Frank did a video blurb about this recently, worth checking out (also his episode about exformation is excellent as well). This is part of the messiness that is the interpreting community.

The other side of what these pastors are doing is what I call practical theology. That is they are looking to make their church experiences find relevance in their own lives. This is incredibly helpful for those who sit in on their sermons and might be trying to find a way to make the messages work for their lives. It is also a sign that these bloggers are not just spouting messages they aren't willing to engage with themselves - that, I believe, is a mark of a good leader. Ultimately, the best theology is practical theology. No one really cares how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but what is really important is understanding what it means for us that Jesus showed preference to the least or that His disciples prayed for the sick and saw them healed. Practical theology works those things out - not always in a definitive way but definitely in a living and meaningful way.

Do you frequent any pastors' blogs to join them in their practical theology? If so why not share a link in the comments. 

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