Friday, July 26, 2002

babeltower or community

i've only been blogging for ab a month now and though I've been an enthusiastic and heavy internet user for some time now, this blogging thing - writing one, exploring others - has added yet another nuance to my online experience. pre-blogging I had gotten to know some great folks thru, the faithmaps discussion group, and some of the other faithstory groups. In these forums I've gotten to meet and become friends with John O'Keefe, jordon cooper, david hopkins and many other webmasters and online leaders. I recently even had the pleasure of facetime with daniel miller, which was just delightful and also nuanced my sense of who he was. And I can mention other friends I've met online who've become very dear to me, such as Lorna Forrester, an Irish lost somewhere in England, Dan Brennan, who has amazing insight and learning, and Jon Gold, who has taught me and befriended me so much. Even tomorrow morning, I'm having breakfast with one of the 'mappers to talk about his interest in becoming a better leader. And I could mention others who have enriched me so.

Tonight I was reading Australian Martin Roth's tribute to Bene Diction, a Canadian who's been helping Martin keep up with his impressive blogroll which will soon be separately located at Blogs4God (right now it points you back to Martin's site). His tribute is worth reading. That motivated me to check out Bene Diction's own site. There you can read about how in creating Blogs4God, Bene (who wishes to remain anonymous) has partnered with New Zealander Rachel Cunliffe, Dean Peters in Rockville, MD, and with Joshua Claybourn in Indiana.

There is an online community developing here that is as strong or stronger than many facetime faith communities I've seen! I find this very, very exciting.

A few of us are in another online small group discussing the church and the web. There Jordon Cooper asked,

"I have brought up the point that we come online to connect with people. Does that align itself with how you see the net? If it doesn't, what draws us online in your opinion? "

I wrote:

"...I must also say I'm fascinated with the depth of richness that's possible with online relationships. Lately I've been struck by how [an online group I'm in] has proven such a helpful forum for [x] and how he's opened up in such a large group of folks. And that has precipitated others opening up in a way usually only seen in our faithstories. This has been beautiful.

And then some of you who've been in the faithstories have personally seen some of the incredible things that happen in there. No one will *ever* convince me that online rels can't be significant after what I've seen and personally experienced." (Also see an earlier post on facetime and online rels)

Yet we must never get so psyched by this wonderful medium that we make it a babeltower. Rather it's value to us is directly proportional to the extent that we let it take us - as Lewis beautifully expressed - "farther up and deeper in" and to the degree that it moves us toward one another.

As God allows us to traverse great distances through this new medium, may we never forget that which enriches it: our connection with Him and others.

I'm excited at the possibilities.

No comments: