Don't Stop Believing

July 13, 2007

Michael Erard has an excellent article in The Texas Observer. It is entitled "Don't Stop Believing" and talks about the impact of bloggers in Southern Baptist life. Here is the part where he quoted me:

People like Land dismiss blogs because "they can't control them, it's that pure and simple," says Duren. This isn't surprising--blogs have had a similar effect in electoral politics, business, and health care. But among the hundreds of thousands of so-called "faith blogs," the Baptist bloggers can have a bigger impact on denominational policy, says Brian Kaylor, a graduate student in communications at the University of Missouri. He says there's a natural fit between the democracy of blogs and the individualism of Baptists. Catholic bloggers can merely rail against a bishop; enough Baptist bloggers can get an elected leader displaced.

If blogging exemplifies some essential Baptistness, the reactions against it magnify how often Baptist life isn't so Baptist. "Many of the older leaders--some of them like the fact they have a position of influence, and I don't think they want to give up that power, even though it's not theirs to control," Kaylor says. This contradiction was captured perfectly in a comment on a blog by Hershael York, a seminary professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. "Blogging has often stripped away a respect for older men of God that we used to value," he wrote. "It has created a false sense of intimacy and led some to mistakenly believe that they have a right to criticize, to critique, and to challenge men who have done great things for God."
It is a long but interesting piece that is worthy of reading in its entirety.

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