Ok, I’m back. After a week in Chicago for EP and then another week vacationing in California with the always-dangerous Andrew Kooy, I am back. Stay tuned to the Valdenkor blog for some forthcoming recountings of the culinary chronicles of Andrew and myself from the past week.
In the meantime, here is a segment from the conclusion to the presentation I gave with Jana Bennett at EP on “blogging as theological discourse”:
So, in conclusion if I were to venture some guesses about how we might best go about this open-ended and uncertain work of “seeing how this will work”, I would offer four guidelines, which I offer no less to myself than to others:
- Blogging as a mode of faithful discourse must be open to critique, re-formation, and revision in light of the voices of others. Blogging, by its very nature is open and participatory towards a variety of discursive voices. Moreover, blogging tends to generate a variety of discussions outside of the medium of blogs themselves.
- Blogging generates a multi-level discussion. It is precisely in attending to these discussions with care for the voice of the other and allowing them to shape future discussions and explorations of the themes discussed that we blog faithfully. In short, blogging must be shaped by the conversation it generates if it is to be truly fruitful.
- Blogging as a mode of faithful discourse must embrace its open-ended and fundamentally itinerant nature. Blogging, if it attempts to accomplish the work of books and journal articles, will simply be a poor exercise. Blogging’s piecemeal, fragmentary, and dynamic nature must be embraced, and precisely so, be discovered as a mode of open and unpredictable discourse. It is a dialogical space for pilgrims, wayfarers, and strangers who are enabled in this space to discover unexpected conversations about the call of God on our lives. In this sort of itinerant space we have the opportunity to allow ourselves to be known, in all our facileness, haste, and vulnerability, and to simply be conversationally present without pretension to over-importance, establishment, or self-validation. This, at least, is what I believe theological blogging must aspire to be.
- Blogging as a mode of faithful discourse ought always to be shaped and birthed from a life of lived prayer in the context of the church in its mission to the world. Blogging, at its best should arise from reflection on the concrete life of the church for and in the world, and, precisely as such, it must be grounded in prayer, that is, in the cry for the kingdom which gives the church its shape, life, and calling. To seek any form of faithful theological discussion outside of a common life of prayer for the coming of the Triune God to transfigure, renew, and interrupt us, is to engage in false and futile pursuits. This is not a pious gloss. Prayer is essential for good conversation about God. This applies to blogging no less than to any other mode of theological conversation. Perhaps more so.Blogging as a mode of faithful discourse must, by the Spirit, learn proper patience in the midst of the immediacy of response that blogging tends to generate. Haste is perhaps the greatest temptation of blogging. Only by being given over to patience, the fruit of the Spirit which takes shape in our life together under Christ’s lordship, can we pursue this sort of discussion in a truly fruitful manner.
The discussion in the workshop was, I think, quite good, especially in that it allowed a number of folks who have been involved in the online discussions on this blog to engage in face-to-face conversation about the whole dynamic of theological discussion in the medium of blogs.