One of the things that kept me from starting a blog is a sneaking suspicion that blogs are evil.
Mind you, not serious, Level 5, grab your crucifix and holy water kind of evil. But a little bit evil, in that blogs contribute to the massive erosion of physical, interpersonal contact that is engulfing our world.
Get on a subway in Tokyo, nearly everyone is texting or watching TV on their cell phones. If not, they're zoned out plugged into an IPod. A smattering of old-school nonconformists are reading manga or old-fashioned paperbacks.
The sidewalks aren't much better. People careen around, heads down, monads with their brains suctioned on to some sort of electronic device. There's always a moment of shock when they look up just before plowing into a person or stationery object.
Even friends, colleagues, couples sitting in a restaurant, at the slightest pause in the conversation whip out their cell phones to check for messages or whatever they do. Often there's no conversation at all, just two people texting next to each other.
This trend of virtualizing all human interactions is evil. Blogs are part of that.
I'm not saying that blog interactions aren't meaningful. I'm stimulated and encouraged and challenged by the blogs that I read. I feel a real connection with the people who write them. I pray for them when they're sick or pregnant. I'm sad when they experience a loss.
But there's a problem when we go to the blogosphere to engage in interactions instead of dealing with the warm, breathing human beings who are right next to us.
God places us in communities to stimulate and encourage us, yes, but also to frustrate and infuriate and confuse us. Dealing with people and all their warts, not just the parts they choose to publish, is part of how we grow in charity. Letting people deal with us and all our warts is part of how we grow in humility and grace.
But at the end of the day, it's not just about my stimulation or encouragement, or even my personal growth. God uses local communities of ill-equipped, stumbling and plodding men and women to bring transformation and healing and grace to whole districts and cities and nations.
So if a blog is a source of inspiration or encouragement or comfort or challenge, that is a good and godly thing. But if the blogosphere is the only place where you really engage with other human beings, I think that's a problem.
Note to self: Look up. Log off. Get out of the house. Get out into real life.