In so many ways, the web exposes us to voices that we might never hear otherwise. The stranger down the street, in another state or country, sometimes in our own home, is putting much of their life online - thoughts, hurts, opinions, attitude. Photos from the school dance, political protest, office party and campaign rally.
So many voices.
Companies have realized that they can listen to their customers online. Churches have discovered that students are sometimes more honest on Xanga than they are in small groups.
I track 85 blogs, many written by the best of the best, but the most powerful thing I've read online in the last month is this poem by a teenage girl in Georgia, NappyGrace [via her wonderful teacher, Amy, of Amy Loves Books].
Just considered a whore.
Everything is sex.
Everything is lust.
Every two words are cussed.
Most things are ungodly.
Pimps, sluts, and hos.
Kiss and tell.
Young wedding bells.
The devil offers hell
and we go.
Do we want the real deal? Do we want to hear voices that don't tell us what we want to hear?
Why? For what? Why don't we become part of the communities that already exist?
Here's an experiment. Write down 3-5 words that describe you in the most simplistic sense. I'll go first.
Male, white, Christian, web geek, conservative, middle class.
Now look at your blogroll, the list of blogs you regularly read. How many blogs don't share at least one of your core, simplistic characteristics? What do we gain from almost exclusively reading the words of people who are exactly like us? Who is going to challenge us, change us, and make us uncomfortable?
Our job as the church is to reach people who are lost. How is that possible if we don't step out of our comfort zone? How many people could we reach if we weren't spending our time reading yet another blog that confirms everything we believe? Does anyone think that the lost browse the list of Blogging Pastors and visit Blogs4God to find answers?
My blogroll should be a fluid stream of different views and perspectives. I need to find those whose world view and experience have no relation to my own, and join that conversation.