GodBlogCon 2006 Blog On
by Susan Bunts Wachtel
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This afternoon I returned from attending the 2006 GodBlogCon at Biola University. It was a wonderful experience…and I can truly say I am humbled to have had the privilege to attend.
2005 was the first year for the GodBlogCon…but I was still a newbie at this thing called blogging. Now I’ve had about a year and a half experience under my belt…and was able to gain and take away some challenges, good information and tips to employ as I continue to use this forum and gift that God has granted me.
The conference was three days…and hindsight being 20/20 I wish I had also gone on the first night…but I am grateful to have gone the following two days. My head is swimming with thoughts, ideas and inspiration that I came away with after spending a couple of days with fellow Christian bloggers. While like minded in many respects…we each had our own vision and sphere of influence that God has given us.
If we are but willing…He will use each of us to reach out to a lost and dying world to win souls with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to build up the church body. That in itself is a daunting, overwhelming and humbling task, privilege and responsibility. The question is…will I take it seriously and invest myself and time wisely?
It’s kind of hard to narrow down and express what I liked best about this experience. But one thing that struck me from the beginning and throughout is that I don’t meet fellow bloggers out there in everyday life. Of if I do…they are awfully silent and don’t talk shop much. After spending time with my new blogger buds…I find that a little hard to believe. If for no other reason…than the fact that bloggers are a pretty excited group of people. Excited about their latest project…or some comments and feedback they’ve received. Or they want to bounce a few ideas off of you and learn the latest technology to improve their blogs and making posting more interesting, easy and fun.
As I first arrived on the Biola campus…I looked expectantly and nervously for the God Bloggers. After all…I was going to be spending the next couple of days with these folks…complete strangers…but at least we shared a common interest. Would that commonality be enough to break through the barriers inherent when meeting complete strangers?
It didn’t take long for my fear or concerns to be laid to rest as I walked into the courtyard where a pre-conference breakfast was being served. I met Andy Rau and Donald McConnell who were very friendly and approachable. As it turns out Andy was out here from Michigan to attend the conference. Andy is part of a group blogging experience at Think Christian. He also lends his talents to Gospel Com and Bible Gateway…of which the later has become an invaluable resource to me and many, many Christians. Andy appears to be a quiet and thoughtful young man. Donald is the dean at Trinity Law School here in southern California. He blogs at Trinitarian Don and brings a rather unique perspective to blogging that of law and Christianity…a law background not something that your average blogger brings to the table. Thank you Don and Andy for making me feel welcome from the get go!
Soon the days conference was off and running with the first Plenary Panel discussing “Bridging the Christian Divide”. Panelists included: Joe Carter Director of Communications for the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity (Evangelical Outpost & FRC Blog); James Kushiner publisher of Touchstone Magazine a Journal of Mere Christianity and editor of his new venture Salvo magazine. James blogs at Mere Comments; Mark D. Roberts Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church (blogging at Mark Roberts); and Jimmy Akin bringing up the rear with a Catholic Evangelical perspective. Jimmy’s counsel and wisdom can be found at (Jimmy Akin). Moderating this group discussion was John Schroeder. John brought an unusual mix of a degree in chemistry and a Masters in Divinity to the table. John blogs at his site Blogotional.
The panel discussion that ensued was thought provoking and time went entirely too quickly and soon it was time for our first breakout session. While I didn’t take a lot of notes during this discussion…the one thought that struck me, remained with me throughout these last two days…and what I’m taking away is a challenge posed by Joe Carter.
When asked the question…what will help make you a better blogger? Joe replied…that “To be a better blogger…I need to be a better Christian. Be humble.” Simple, yet profound…and something that will challenge each Christian till the day he dies. Certainly not achievable on our own power. Something we can strive for when our focus is on Christ and not ourselves. When we seek to glorify God. By spending time in the Word of God…being washed in the Word.
As Mark D. Roberts would share on the last day…it wasn’t until late in the game he brought prayer into his blogging posts. Sounds obvious now doesn’t it? A Christian blogger…blogging about Christian issues. Why wouldn’t you pray about what you are writing about? I know personally…on some of my more controversial or delicate posts I’ve sought wisdom from God…and when responding (or not) to some ugly comments…I may pray. But honestly until Mark stated that…I didn’t think about it. Perhaps I need to plant the words from “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” firmly in my mind.
Before we knew it…we were off and running and going our separate ways into the Breakout Sessions. I chose to attend “Blogging as a Winsome Witness” taught by Melinda Penner from Stand to Reason. Not only something Melinda teaches about…but something that she and Greg Koukl and the folks at Stand to Reason live out daily. Long time listener to their radio show…but I’ve also followed Stand to Reason as they’ve continued to grow and use cutting edge technology to help equip the body of Christ.
It was informative and challenging to learn from Melinda as she shared tips on Christian blogging. I also found myself listening carefully to classmates as they shared their experiences. Skye Puppy was very excited as she shared about some of the connections that she’s been able to make…and bridges developed with unlikely people through the world of blogging. All made possible through the net.
Before we knew it…it was lunch time. With that being said…I think I’ll continue on in a separate post as not to make this too daunting to read.
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