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Band of Bloggers Reflections

Band of Bloggers

I’d like to share my reflections from Band of Bloggers 2008.

Now, since this gathering is really an informal gathering of bloggers, we don’t truly have a program. This gathering was conceived by my dear brother Timmy Brister as a way for all the bloggers who were attending the original Together for the Gospel conference in 2006 to come together for fellowship and networking. There is no budget, no formal structure, no mission statement beyond that. It is simply an opportunity for us to glorify God by putting faces with names and blogs, encouraging and praying for one another, and feeding each other spiritually during our time together. I am privileged to have participated in both the 2006 and 2008 meetings, and I deeply long for 2010. Since Timmy is moving to Florida in answer of a call to become an associate pastor, I have made myself available to him for as long as I am in Louisville to facilitate anything that needs doing should there be a third BoB in 2010.

This year we were graced to hear from Thabiti Anyabwile, Abraham Piper, Phil Johnson and Tim Challies, each speaking to the theme “The Gospel Trust.” Owen Strachan moderated the discussion. As I noted, BoB is more or less an informal gathering, hence I did not take it upon myself to diligently take notes of those who spoke. I’m sure there are others who did, and when I find them I will link to them. But I did make note of several things our presenters said which struck chords with me. I didn’t really keep track of who said what, so this will be a very general reflection.

One of the biggest helps I received dealt with blog content. As a general rule, we must let our salvation (i.e. the Gospel) shape everything we think about and write about. We must ask ourselves: “Does the Gospel clearly shine forth in what I have written? Does my writing point towards the Christ? Am I representing Christ correctly?” When writing, the Gospel must be our underlying foundation else we run the risk of becoming trivial. Even if the only reason we blog is to put up pictures of our kids for our family to see, our content must be Gospel-centered and Christ-honoring.

We need to have a focus for our blogs. What is the main thing we want to communicate through our blogs? Discover that focus and write about it, apply the Gospel to it, seek to educate, edify, and encourage others about it. For example, this blog began as a way to allow my family to keep up with me while I was in seminary. Some time ago I felt that I wanted the focus of my blog to be Deaf ministry. I wanted to share with my hearing friends just what it is I do, to make them aware of a quiet, hidden ministry taking place in their backyards; and also to provide a place for Deaf ministers to contribute to my own learning and growth as a Deaf minister. Yet I don’t blog about that as much as I ought! Instead this continued to be a forum to share with family and friends what I am learning through my studies, what I am preaching, what I am reading as I solidify my doctrinal foundations. I do strongly believe that Deaf people and Deaf ministers need this kind of communication from one of their own, but I have veered from the specific focus I attempted to set.

Not to downplay or criticize my current focus, Abraham Piper encouraged us to be willing to write about other things that interest you. As you might have gathered from reading this blog, I am deeply interested in books and theology. Therefore I write mainly about these things. The only real failure I have had is in not applying these interests to my primary focus, Deaf ministry. I also write about other things of interest, such as sports. Piper encouraged us to take frequent breaks from our primary focus and write about other things of interest to us. If we become a one-track blog we will probably not be very interesting to anyone but ourselves. Be willing to have variety around your center.

Phil Johnson gave what I thought was the most sound, most practical suggestion of all. Be willing to walk away from your blog when necessary. It may be that you need rest. You may have other duties to address, such as family responsibilities, work responsibilities, etc. Never let your blog dominate your life to the point where it supersedes your pastoral duties, your duties as a believer, and your duties as a husband and father. Simply walk away. It is, after all, merely a blog. It is not your life!

It is this exhortation I found most helpful. I am the kind of person who, when reading, writing or doing sermon prep and research, can completely tune out the world around me. If I am distracted by someone or something I can easily become irritated. What I need most is to step back and realize that the blog (computer, etc.) is not my wife nor my daughter nor my chihuahua. I can’t hug and kiss it nor play with it. Besides, I could easily delete the blog today and it would be gone forever. I can’t delete my wife, daughter, and dog.

And on that note, I will close this reflection. My wife, daughter, and dog are awaiting my presence to watch “The Gameplan.” 😉

  1. ytaylor
    April 22, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Sweet! Good reflections to take home.

    Yogi

  1. April 23, 2008 at 2:19 pm

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