about who’s in charge of the blogosphere: an ongoing conversation

Who’s in charge of the blogosphere?

That’s what they were asking up and down the streets last week, asking it around all the online watering holes.

Who gives anyone the keys to wander in to the blogosphere and tap out a few words? Who says any of us have the right or authority to be in here? Who died and made us the king of anything?

Yeah, I don’t know much of anything, except that we all need each other, that we all belong to each other, but seems like maybe God has always chosen women who felt less than, women that no one thought were enough: Tamar was harlot, Ruth was an outsider, the wife of Uriah , who became the wife of David, was an adulteress, and Rahab was a woman of the night.

And sometimes those who don’t seem to measure up, are part of changing the world beyond measure, are the unlikely who are called to be part of the unbelievable, so that God gets all the glory alone.

Yeah, I don’t know much of anything — but maybe ask D.L. Moody who was convinced: “If this world is going to be reached, I am convinced that it must be done by men and women of average talent. After all, there are comparatively few people in this world who have great talents.”

Moody had no degree, nothing but the equivalent of 5th grade, but pointed more than 100 million people to hope in Jesus, founded Moody Press, the Moody Bible Institute, the Moody radio stations and don’t ever count out those whom God has counted as His.

And Moody doesn’t stand alone: Charles Spurgeon preached to a weekly congregation of more than 5,000, preached over 600 times before he was twenty years old, and his sermons sold about 20,000 copies a week — and he had no seminary training.

Fanny Crosby wrote more than 9,000 hymns, some of which are among the most popular in every Christian denomination, and she had no formal theological education.

Hudson Taylor had no formal degree whatsoever, but the organization that he founded supported 800 missionaries, established 125 schools, and directly resulted in over 18,000 Christian conversions — and historian Ruth Tucker said of him, “No other missionary in the nineteen centuries since the Apostle Paul has had a wider vision and has carried out a more systematized plan of evangelizing a broad geographical area than Hudson Taylor.”

God enlisted nobody Gideon, gave him a nobody army that He then cut down to a ridiculous, nothing size. And then God took that army of nobodies, led by a nobody, and conquered everybody.

Yeah, I don’t know much of anything here, really, but I know that Amos was a farmer.

Amos was a farmer who knew dirt and sky, sheep and trees and yield, and he knew what it was stand in the fields under a universe of stars and give glory to His Maker.

Like Moses and David and John the Baptist before him — Amos didn’t know the halls and walls of privilege and power —he came from a long line of plain old farmers and herders and God-witnesses who knew paths through the wilderness.  

When calling anyone to go somewhere with His message — God often chooses those known as nobodies from nowhere, who simply have chosen to be alone with Him.  Wildernesses can be where God woos.” {The Broken Way} 

Sometimes God calls those from the backside of nowhere, because they’ve learned how to walk beside Him anywhere.

All I know was that Amos’s father wasn’t a prophet, nor were his people, nor was he connected to the powerful prophets before him and none of that mattered. Whether one is degreed or important, isn’t the most important to God. What’s most important to God is that one knows the importance of being called by God.

Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 MSG

All I know is that Amos said: ’The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?’ Amos 3:8

When a shepherd hears the roar of a lion, how can he act as if he had not heard it; when one hears the call of God, how can one act as if she has not heard it?  

Sure, others may have said to simple Amos, “Do not go around talking of God” — but Amos answered them straight up: ‘The Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”‘ (7:15-16).

God’s Word repeats it: God’s call matters more than any man’s credentials.

Walter Brueggemann was once asked, “So who were the prophets?”

And Brueggemann answered: ”Well, I think… they are completely uncredentialed and without pedigree, so they just rise up in the landscape….

I just think they are moved the way every good poet is moved to have to describe the world differently according to the gifts of their insight.

And, of course, in their own time and every time since, the people that control the power structure do not know what to make of them, so they characteristically try to silence them. What power people always discover is that you cannot finally silence poets. They just keep coming at you in … transformative ways.” ~ Walter Brueggemann

There may not be prophets of old now and the canon of Scripture is clearly closed, and there may not be a call to silence voices, but a careful gathering of concerns — but there, in the quiet corners of things, there is the legacy of Word-wielders and poets, the unlikely and uncredentialed, a quiet rising of Amoses, who have heard the roar of the Lion of Judah and cannot be silent now, wordsmiths who have experienced the charged and living Word and their tongue and their pen simply cannot be silenced now.

Who’s in charge of the Blogosphere?

Well,  the blogosphere isn’t one church, with one globally agreed on doctrine, the blogosphere isn’t a pulpit with one espoused theology, and it isn’t a hospital where one goes when desperately needing surgery —- the blogosphere is a library.

The blogosphere is a library of storytellers, and while I may — and definitely do — profoundly disagree with other voices in the blogosphere — the point is:

 We don’t censor a library, we learn how to venture through the library.

Because who could ever decide exactly who and what doctrine is in charge of the library? The Catholics or the Methodists or the Atheists or the Reformed or the United Informed, Conformed, and Transformed?

Advocating for all believers to be under the wing and roof and authority of local and national leaders is a wise and Biblically needful position — and many Word witnesses have long been humbly and willingly putting themselves in precisely that needed position.

Accountability is always the believer’s responsibility, and is always necessary for healthy vitality. Only when you’ve stayed under a wing, can you learn how to fly.

For the last twelve years, this farmer has, on the welcome page of this corner of the blogosphere, shared a statement of faith, linked to her faith community where our family gathers weekly around the communion table, and has shared our local church’s evangelical statement of faith.

Like many in the blogosphere, I too have sought out pastors within the larger church and asked for their mentorship, guidance, wisdom, accountability because if we lose our teachability, we lose our credibility.  

But each storyteller in the library of the blogosphere may be held accountable by their leadership to a different set of beliefs, that may or may not agree with one’s own faith.

So we may adamantly disagree with perspectives in the blogosphere, but don’t we have to adamantly defend the right for those perspectives to be voiced, or don’t we ourselves risk losing the right to voice our own perspective? 

 If the blogosphere is a library, then perhaps what is needed is not so much deterrents to voices within the blogosphere — but rather thoughtful discernment in the readers? 

Maybe it’s never about who’s in charge of the library — but about how does one search the library?

Maybe it’s never about how to control or patrol the library — but about how to hold Truth in the Library.

Maybe it’s never about how to eradicate voices from the library — but about how to navigate through the library.

Maybe it’s not about who’s in charge of the library — but who gets to choose what we read in the library? And we do — we discern and we wrestle and we listen and we pray and we open the Word and measure all words against His Word, because if someone’s truth isn’t His Truth — then it ultimately has missed the Truth.

And it’s us, the readers, who have the responsibility to bring kind, gracious and humble accountability to the blogosphere. To leave prayerful comments, add considered words, His Words, to threads, and virtual streams, so that the conversation around Truth runs like a torrent of transformation and healing beyond screens. 

Who’s in charge of the blogosphere? It’s always the charged Story.

It’s always the charged Story, the electrifying Truth and the blazing light of Beauty that’s what’s in charge of the blogosphere.

It’s the Spirit who moves like the wind that can’t be controlled by human hands, but obeys His beck and call alone, it’s Him, the Word who writes all the world’s Story, who is the Spirit of the Word, who woos His people not with flashy strategy or slick marketing or massive platform, but with the beauty of solid orthodoxy and the tried and true Cross that is foolishness to the world.

Because the dark and despair and the devil has always been overcome and defeated by this, and this alone:  “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, by the bold word of their witness(Revelation 12:11)— so how can we always let the words of the witnesses rise?

We aren’t doctors, but those who know the Wounded Healer.

And we may not be teachers, but those who have been taught by Grace and Truth and lessoned in cruciform love and by the blood of the Lamb and how can the mouths of the evangels now be shut?

How can the starving who have tasted bread not use any and all means to share the relief they have tasted, and how can we gag the story that burns in our bones of the only One that ever loved us to death and back to the realest life?

Who died and made any of us the kings of anything? He did– and when He died, by His death, blood and destruction of death and cosmic-shattering resurrection?  

He made us the daughters of kings and a people of priests, servants who go lower to wash the feet of the hurting, He made us a collective of storytellers and a circle of witnesses and somebody, tell us, how can those who have tasted and seen now not stand and testify?

We are the ones who come from a long line of storytellers and Jesus-pointers, the women who have inherited the legacy of the runners — the ones who have stood in the damp chill of the empty tomb and how can we not run so that the world may know?

Without risk-taking women witnesses, how would the world have known of the breathtaking resurrection? 

How can the runners not run, the Amoses not tell of the roaring Lion of Judah, and the women not bear witness to the Only one who bears any Light and Hope through the darkest years, the ache of the blogosphere, through all the begging, waiting atmosphere?

Listen, slow and listen — Hope comes to the upside-down kingdom in ways you’d least expect it.