Creating and moderating a blog is sort of like throwing a big open-house party. As the host, it’s my responsibility to determine the theme of the event, to set the tone and atmosphere for it, to cater it, to make sure that the overall conversation remains lively, interesting, and moving in a positive direction, and to provide the music and/or entertainment for it. It’s even appropriate and necessary to circulate among the guests to have a little one-on-one communication, and to make sure that each person has everything that he or she needs. If I do my job as a good host, the guests will begin to open up and interact with one another on their own, and everyone will feel connected, and will have a good time.
Of course a blog is also a community, a think tank, a forum, and an idea exchange (among other things)…but it is definitely a party…at least this one is.
The evolution of BLOGINTHENOW has been very interesting to me, and I have learned a lot through the process of creating and maintaining it.
One thing that I find particularly remarkable (even though it could change today) is that after having answered a negative post a couple of weeks ago and seeing that turn into a positive thing, I made the decision to just go ahead and publish all negative comments from strangers in cyberspace and try to answer them. But when I made the decision to publish the negative feedback, all the negative feedback stopped! It’s so amazing to me how that principle works.
Anyway, I wanted to share something with you that isn’t about the blog, but it is in fact pertinent to what the blog is ultimately about. There is a gentleman who has visited our church on occasion, and he and I have just recently talked at length for the first time. He and his family attended CITN on Easter Sunday, and in the sermon that day I referred to something that he had said to me a couple of days before. Later, I worried a little that I might have offended him for calling him out in front of everyone like that, so I e-mailed him to make sure that I hadn’t.
Here’s an excerpt from his response…
Hey Bishop Swilley,
I also enjoyed our conversation the other day. I sort of miss having those type spiritual conversations. I am very analytical so I really enjoy exploring the hidden things of GOD. You and I seem to share a similar theology which is neat for me...it's not as common for me to find "believers" that I can have an "open" conversation with. Some have GOD all figured out and have placed HIM in a nice neat box. Then there are those of us who are crazy enough to ask questions and explore the possibility that just maybe GOD and his/her WILL or PLAN may not fit in the box we have created for him/her. I feel fortunate and grateful to GOD for the gift of our relationship...friendship.
I am not uncomfortable with you referring to me in any sermon. There are preachers and then there are pastors/shepherds. Preachers preach out to a crowd(which is fine, GOD is in that), while Pastors/Shepherds shepherd the flock. When you come to the pulpit you come to Shepherd the flock that is in the house that day...It feels almost like we are having a conversation with you. Your style is very present to the moment. By the way, this whole preacher vs Shepherd revelation/concept I just received/learned by observing you this Sunday...thanks for the revelation!
I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be a Shepherd the last couple of days, and I would like to say that this forum not only allows me to be the host of a party…it enables me to be a shepherd of a flock.
By the way, I’m perfectly fine with the way my friend used both gender pronouns to refer to God. As I have told you before, even though we use the masculine pronoun to refer to our heavenly Father, we know by the Spirit (and from the Scriptures) that He is as "female" as He is "male"…just as much our heavenly Mother as he is our Father.
Well now, that might start up some negative comments, after all. Could be. Could be not.
Do y’all need more chips and dip?