For the last month and a half, I have been conducting my own experiment in on-line study groups. I have used this space to help a group of us look at the book When Christians Get it Wrong by Adam Hamilton. I tried this as a lark, and I found it to be highly effective and frustrating at the same time. Many people were able to be involved that would not have ordinarily participated. This space provided a forum for people to gather with different ideas and beliefs.
I chose this book for many reasons. First I have a deep respect and admiration for Reverend Hamilton as a pastor and a leader. Secondly, I have used other books that he has written in “face to face” studies and they have always been interesting. Third, this was an “easy” read, there was no need to spend large amounts of time explaining passages the author had written. Fourth but not last, I liked the idea of people who claim Jesus as their leader looking closer at how they live out their faiths and lives.
All of these thoughts proved to be true, but I still learned some additional things.
1. No matter how moderate you think a writer is, those with strong beliefs will label those who do not exactly agree with them, as either too conservative or liberal. There are those in this world who want to prove their own point, at the expense of every other opinion.
2. In a “face to face” group we can watch body language and facial expression as a leader and prevent problems or pull someone into a conversation if the appear to becoming lost or angry. In this medium that is not always possible.
3. Many more people read this space than comment here.
4. Blogging is like preaching, if you are not making everybody a little uncomfortable at times, you may not be doing your job. We need to be pushed at times to better understand what God wants us to hear.
5. This provided easy subject matter to write about. Prior to this my posts were sporadic and all over the board. The direction that this provided was nice. I need to decide for myself where this page is going. Is it best used as a blog for my congregation? Should I use it to push my viewpoints? Or is it better utilized by highlighting other blogs and stories maybe relating them to my context here? Many more questions than I have answers.
6. Overall this went well. After I toughened my skin some, it went well for me. Depending on how I answer number 5, I may do this again in some format.
Thanks for staying with me this many weeks. Your input was and is appreciated. If you have ideas about where to go with this space I look forward to your advice.