Weblogging and Anonymity

In a comment to my previous entry, Karen asked a question regarding anonymity, spirituality, and weblogging. My reply was too long. It deserved it’s own journal entry.

Do you see blogging as being antithetical to this sort of anonymity?

Yes and no. It depends on why you blog.

If you are into blogging to be famous (sounds funny, but some bloggers are), or to satisfy some need to show off, or to purposely badger people into heated debates, then the answer is yes. This seems to fall under the sin of pride, the devil’s favorite.

If you are into blogging to write down your thoughts, feelings, and ideas in order to share honestly with others, then the answer is no.

I do not think anonymity in the sense of Campbell’s quote is about other people knowing your name or knowing a little piece of your personality through your writing. It is more about trying to conform your will to God’s will. The closer you get, the more invisible you become. From this, one can begin to hold one aspect of the mystery: “You must lose your life in order to find it.”

There is much in Henri Nouwen’s quote, “Life is a gift, not to possess, but to share.” Jesus calls us by name to be part of a community. And in community, we must love, hope, share, help, touch, communicate, be human for each other through all of the pains and joys of life. The friction of being in community will help sanctify us. Anonymity can be found in loving others, by putting others before yourself. Anonymity can be found within community.

Blogging is a form of community. Karen, you are on your second weblog. You quit your first, but something has drawn you back (and many of us are glad). From your point of view, you sense the need or call or pull or push or something to write and share. Maybe your doubt about writing publicly about your faith sounds like the scruples Steve wrote about last week. But what you don’t know is that someone someday has/is/will read one of your posts, and they will make a choice, a small choice, that will lead them closer to God. It is the everyday, ordinary choices that make us extraordinary. They are the choices that bring us closer to God, not always the big ones (although they count too). Oh! The economy of God’s grace…

The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

— John 3:8

(Do not dwell too much on the paragraph before the quote. It can push you into the sinful side of pride. Pride of a job well done is okay, but there is a fine line where it can cross over into boastfulness. Find joy in the fact that you trying to follow God’s will.)

I was listening to this Switchfoot song this afternoon and this stanza jumped out at me. It may explain partly why you blog. It partly explains why I do.

So this is the way I say I need You
This is the way that I say I love You
This is the way that I say I’m Yours
This is the way, this is the way
Learning to breathe…in these abundant skies

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