Archive | Blogging

So What?: A Question on Blogging and Edification

(Lisa Robinson)

Yesterday, I got into a discussion with one of my classmates about The Bible mini-series. I wasn’t able to catch the first episode but I received some not so great feedback from multiple sources.  Sure enough, my classmate wasn’t impressed either and gave me his reasons. He noted how a number of people were commenting on Facebook about it but then indicated that he didn’t want to post anything about it because he didn’t want to be ‘that guy’.  You know ‘that guy’. It was the person who decided to give their two cents about everything that was wrong with the production. He observed that a number of folks were providing positive feedback and seemed to edified by it. Why burst their bubble? he reasoned.

It made me think of that post I had mostly written for my blog and intended to finish. It was a post about a very popular movie that probably every Christian has seen except for me though I have seen many clips. I wanted to write about why I could not bring myself to see the movie and why I thought the focus was wrong. Yet, the more I wrote the more I hesitated. So during the course of this conversation with my classmate, it hit me that maybe the reason my hesitation increased was because I would have deflated some enthusiasm from what most people found edifying. Now I believe my reasons were valid. But just because I could doesn’t mean I should, especially if it would have dimmed somebody’s hope unnecessarily.

It made me cognizant of asking the ‘so what’ question – what is the purpose of writing this? In the world of instant publishing of thoughts, ideas, challenges, instruction, critiques, etc. I think this is a question that must be at the forefront of posting. It is easy for bloggers to become ‘that guy’, making sure the audience knows everything that is wrong with a statement or a position or a person or a ministry. I’ve been ‘that guy’ (or rather that chick). Justification is easy enough because people need to be informed and it is our duty to inform them. Or so we reason. Continue Reading →

Social Media and the Deficiency Blitz

(Lisa Robinson)

I confess, I’m a social media addict. Not a day goes by that you can’t find me on Facebook. I love the connectivity, conversation and in same cases, the opportunity to just act plain silly. But moreover, I love the exposure it brings to blog links and other avenues of information. I avoided Twitter until recently. Once I signed on I wondered why on earth I had neglected it for so long. More connectivity, conversation …and more blog links.  Needless to say I love blogging and follow blogs.  Between the recent Twitter addition, starting my own blog, and my normal Facebook activity, I’ve been in social media heaven.

I’m always on the hunt for good blogs. I love hearing what people have to say about things, especially about theology, the bible and life.  I encounter different perspectives that maybe I hadn’t thought of before. In fact, Parchment and Pen was the first theology blog I followed and it served as the gateway into the blogging world.  I love that world. I learn things, all kinds of things. The exposure has been great. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I disagree.

But with the increased social media and blog activity, I’ve noticed something else I’ve been exposed to. Instruction, prescriptions, exhortations on who I can be or should be living the Christian life better.  I read on a regular basis how I should be holy, evangelize, represent Christianity, parent, pray, study scripture, handle forgiveness, support my pastor, leave a church, avoid this or that sin, recognize sin, fellowship, find a spouse, stay single, handle conflict…and the list goes on.  In the midst of it, I’m confronted with areas in my life that maybe aren’t so strong. Before long the deficiency can start snowballing into deflation where I don’t measure up. A deficiency blitz. Continue Reading →

100th Post: Some Thoughts on Blogs and Blogging

(Lisa Robinson)

Well, since TV shows do it, I thought I could too.  This marks the 100th episode, I mean post since I’ve been blogging here at Parchment and Pen since January 2009.  So it makes sense that I’d mark it with some thoughts on blogging.  A few may remember that I came on the scene following Michael’s writings and dropping comments here and there.  I had no idea that just over a year later, I’d actually be asked to be a regular contributor.  That was almost 3 1/2 years ago and it’s been quite a journey since then.

At the risk of sounding like a cheesy acceptance speech, I really am thankful for the support and words of affirmation that so many of you have given me.  Seriously, especially for a chick blogging with Michael and Tim, not to mention the likes of Dan Wallace, Sam Storms, Rob Bowman, Paul Copan and now Mike Licona,  the kudos mean much.  So mucho mucho gracias to anyone willing to listen to me.  I’m also grateful for the challenges that the more, um  fastidious readers have bought.  It can only sharpen me and we all need to be challenged, but in a good way

My Philosophy…

I like to think about God, His character and program for the ages.  I like to challenge deeply held culturally ingrained presuppositions that are inconsistent with authentic historic witness of Christian confession.  I like to ponder the parameters of legitimate diversity without losing Christian unity.  I want to encourage others to think about these things to optimize the worship of the triune God.  I’m not opposed to stepping outside of the box and looking in to see if what is in the box, should be.  That’s risky and disturbs the comfortable.  But it is never my intention to be unintentionally provocative for the sake of controversy.  That may draw crowds on other blogs but may possibly distract from the attention I hope to direct towards the Lord.

I try to be transparent because people hide amongst the incessant demand for perfection, both of themselves and of others.  We don’t want to admit our short comings, slip ups, inadequacies, and general humanness lest we be found to not measure up.  The truth is that we don’t measure up and that is why we need a Savior.  So to get people out of the shame box (not penalty because there is no condemnation to those who belong to Christ), I’ll take the risk of opening up my life along with my mars and missteps.  The purpose is not to be a sap on a blog to draw pity but to be real so others know they are not alone.  My goal is to point others to Christ, to understand that he alone has absorbed our shame and we can exult in his resurrection until He comes back and sets everything right.

I like the world of blogging but there are certain things that come with the territory.  Regardless of the good, bad or ugly of blogging, I believe that it will become increasingly relied upon as a venue of communication. Continue Reading →

How to Disciple 1.3 Million People: Episode #1

I’m sitting in a hotel room right now. A pastor friend of mine is asleep in the bed next to mine. Cars are whizzing by outside my room. My eyelids are starting to get pretty heavy. It’s about 1:30 in the morning. For the last two days I’ve been traveling, with 13 other people, to Nairobi, Kenya.

Why am I in Nairobi? If you cut those of us who are a part of the Credo House we will bleed discipleship. Several months ago a man named Scott Werner started coming into the Credo House. Scott is over an 8 state regional area for Compassion International. His job is to connect churches with the work Compassion is doing around the world.

As the weeks went by Scott and I had conversations about all sorts of topics. One day we started talking about discipleship. I’ve sponsored a kid through Compassion for more than 10 years, but I really don’t know what Compassion is doing to make disciples of the people they touch.

So here I am now in Kenya. In full disclosure Compassion has paid all of my expenses so I can report on the work they are doing. Please check this blog daily for the next several days as I report on, “How to Disciple 1.3 Million People.” That is how many people they are currently ministering to on a daily/weekly basis. In Kenya alone Compassion is actively ministering to around 71,000 people.

Continue Reading →

What I Have Learned About Blogging Five Years Later

It has been almost five years since I started blogging. Here is what I have learned.

1. Loneliness because of the “Blog Lobe”

This one is a joke with a bit of truth. My friends are sometimes scared to talk to me because they know that in the back of my mind there is a new “Blog Lobe” section of my brain. It is there . . . I promise. You can do an MRI and see it. I will upload pics later and blog on it. The blog lobe is that part of the brain that is unique to bloggers that is perpetually and involuntarily writing a blog out of every circumstance and conversation. I have a permanent disclaimer tattooed to my forehead that says, “Warning: this conversation has a very good chance of turning into a blog. Proceed at your own risk.” My closest friends just don’t want to talk to me anymore. My pastor is always scared about what I am going to broadcast about his sermon. My wife…well…Ahem. Moving on.

2. Count the cost: It takes a lot of time. . . a lot of time.

A blog can eat your lunch. To get one started, you really need to post often. If you are an original content type of blog, like this blog (not simply pointing people to others’ content) and you want the content to be meaningful and good (don’t we all?), it takes a big commitment of time that most people don’t have. Count the cost here.

3. Blogging provides some good accountability or “The Angel on Your Shoulder

If you are a teacher, you know that it is pretty easy to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Those who are being taught normally give you the benefit of the doubt that you know what you are talking about. In a small audience of 10 or 20, you can scope out how smart others are and then adjust accordingly. If most are uneducated in the topic of discussion, you can get away with quite a bit. Believe me, I know. A blog—this blog—has really helped to keep me honest and careful in every venue. I know that there are people out there in the blog world that know what they are talking about. I can count on the fact that there will be some who read my posts who know more than I do about the subject. I know that they will publicly give me a whipping if I try to pull rank. You never know who is going to show up. Continue Reading →

This Blog Does Have Rules

Yes, it is time again to remind our audience of the way we do things here at Parchment and Pen. We do have rules of engagement and there is a proper way for people to conduct themselves.

One thing that I want to make sure of is that the conversations here move in a meaningful way. It is very difficult to moderate the question “What is meaningful?” but I will take liberties to do so nonetheless.

What is Meaningful?

1. Not closed minded. If you already know everything, this is probably not the place for you. Hundreds of people together who already know everything yet differ about what they know can quickly detract from meaning. (My wife and I do this all the time.) In other words, if you have an agenda to use the blog comment area as a visible teaching venue to promote your teachings without intending to learn, this is not the place for you.

2. Not self-promoting. We don’t mind you letting others know about how smart you are, but do so sparingly. I will often allow links to other places so long as it does not look like you are stopping by just to tell others about your site or blog. And yes, I will be the judge as to whether this is taking place.

3. Not characterized by mass amounts of cut-and-paste proof-texting. We all love the Bible, but just posting Scriptures one after the other quickly becomes counter-productive and detractive. Use the Scriptures, but understand that even the cults can proof-text.

4. Irenic. Oh, there is that word. Just so there is no confusion, here is what we mean: To be irenic means that you are kind, gentle, respectful, and understanding, accurately representing opposing parties, even when you disagree. As hard as that seems, buffet your tongue (or keyboard) here.

5. Not slanderous. All slanderous content naturally violates #4. You will be quickly and eternally (relatively speaking) banned from the site for slander. Don’t slander the author or others who post here. Besides, slander just shows the weakness of your thinking and does nothing to promote the truth.

6. No Spamming. Spamming is starting multiple posts one after the other.  We limit the size of the comments so your comment is cut off when in violation. However, some people think themselves wise to just post another and another and another to make up for the limited space. If you do this, your posts will be deleted without warning.

Please note: You will not get banned for bad theology. Everyone is welcome to be wrong. Hopefully our community will be able to engage the bad theology meaningfully.

For a complete guide to perfect theology consult someone of the post-mortem variety. If none are available, please realize that you are limited in your understanding. If you don’t realize this, please start your own site.

Welcome and may God be glorified in how we conduct ourselves.

For more, see the blog post: “What if God Read Your Posts.”

How to Listen in Sunday School

When I first started teaching the Bible about fifteen years ago, I was given a Sunday School class at my church. It was a “college and career” class. I was inexperienced in teaching and was very nervous every Sunday, but I had such a strong desire to teach I was willing to endure the stress each week. I remember that I had red splotches all over my neck and my chest evidencing my green nervousness. (I still am nervous each time I teach, but just in a different way).

When teaching the class one Sunday (I don’t remember the subject), a certain gentleman raised his hand. I thought it was going to be a question concerning the subject we were on, but it was not. He began to complain to me and to everyone there how much he did not like the way I taught and how, exactly, he thought I should change. I was speechless, embarrassed, humiliated, angry, and hurt.

Looking back all these years I have been able to see his problems more objectively. In fact, I think he was right on in his criticism. Everything he said was true about my teaching style and it did need to change. However, he was also very wrong and he should not have said what he said. While nothing that he said was wrong, he lacked a great deal of wisdom in his tact and approach.

The point of this post is this: Saying the right thing without tact is wrong. This is true of Sunday school or any other venue. We are not only called to say the right things, but to say the right things at the right times in the right ways.

Here are a few things to remember when you are the learner.

You are not the teacher

No matter where you are when you are not the teacher, do not act as if you are. So many times I see people who are looking to spring board off other people’s platform. I have been in classrooms where I know who’s hand not to call on. Some people just take over and want to show the class how much they know. You may have the best intentions when you do this and what you say may be right, but, unless the venue expects this, you are not called by God to teach at that time. I am sorry. That is just the way it is.

If the teacher is wrong, and I mean dead wrong, you are still not called to teach. You are called to respect the teacher and listen. Even if the teacher asks you your opinion, you must be very careful not to dishonor the platform that this person has been given.

You don’t have the respect of the people

You must remember that people have gathered to listen to someone else, not you. No matter how smart you are, people don’t care that much about what you have to say. In fact, attempting to be the teacher will be counter-productive. No matter how learned you are in the subject, your arrogance will turn all the others against you and you will only serve to annoy the audience. Continue Reading →

Blog Rules

1. Do not use the blog to promote yourself, as your surrogate blog, or as an advertisement. I am sure you are interesting and have some really nice things to say, but you can get your own blog.

2. Do not call authors out for debate. You must count the cost (Lk. 14:31). You don’t want to get whipped up on anyway.

3. Keep your comments short. Like when your comments are longer than the blog, that is too long. Try to keep them to 100 words.

4. In everything, be courteous and respectful. This does not mean that you agree, but take the extra time to write with tact, making the most of the opportunity.

5. Do not spam a post with comments one right after the other. Stay focused . . . one comment at a time is helpful.

6. Try not use this blog as a forum. While I don’t mind you engaging each other soon, there is a fine line between this and the post turning into a forum thread. You can use the forum at Theologica (http://theologica.ning.com) for these type of conversations.

7. Keep things on topic!!

If you need more information read this post:

“What if God Read Your Posts: A Reminder About Christian Conduct on the Internet”

If anyone violates these rules, the blog administrators will be forced to suspend your privileges. While this has no effect on your salvation, we will send you a t-shirt that says “I got suspended from Parchment and Pen . . . Oh yeah baby.”