Category Archives: blogging

Band of Bloggers 2012 Audio Available: Bethke, Elephant Room & Trayvon

Audio from the 2012 Band of Bloggers panel is now live and listenable.  Justin Taylor, Collin Hansen, Tim Challies, and Timmy Brister all contributed wisdom to a diverse array of topics.  I moderated the panel.  We had a blast.

Here was the event’s central topic:

Six years ago, two movements began to gain significant traction–blogging and the young, restless, and reformed. Additionally, 2006 was the inauguration of the Band of Bloggers fellowship, and since that time God has brought gospel rental in many ways to evangelical life, including the development of organizations like Together for the Gospel and The Gospel Coalition, the upsurge of gospel literature in publishing houses, the growth of church planting and revitalization networks, and continued reformation in local churches. Throughout this period, the role of the internet, blogging, and advances in technology have played no small role. At the 2012 Band of Bloggers gathering, we will take a look back at the past six years and consider the impact–good and bad–of blogging and technology in the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement.

Apparently there’s been some dustup over the panel’s discussion of the Elephant Room.  I’m not sure I see the point, but I’ll invite you to listen in and form your own opinion.  I thought there were many helpful takeaways from the four panelists.

 

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A Blog Is a “Massive Open Online Seminar”

From a compelling article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Mr. DeMillo: The blog is essentially an expression of a master teacher’s understanding of a field to people that want to learn about it. We think that there are some very simple layers that can be built under the existing blogging format that can essentially turn it into a massive open online seminar. It’s also a way of conducting scientific research. When you think about what happens in this blog, it celebrates the process of scientific discovery. I’ll just give you one example. Last year about this time some industrial scientist claimed that he had solved one of the outstanding problems in this area. In the normal course of events, the scientist would have written up the paper, would have sent it to a conference. It would have been refereed. Nine months later the paper would have been presented at the conference. People would have talked about it. It would have been written up to submit to a journal. Refereeing would have taken a couple of years for that. Well, the paper got submitted to Lipton’s blog. It just caused a flurry of activity. So thousands and thousands of scientists flocked to this paper, and essentially speeded up the refereeing of the paper, shortening the time from five years to a couple of weeks. It turns out that people came to believe that the claim was not valid, and the paper was incorrect. But what an education for future research students. You get to see the process of scientific discovery in action.

If you want to think through some of the changes happening currently in American higher education, go no further than this piece (with thanks to SBTS librarian Bruce Keisling).

There are strengths and weaknesses to the academic model described above, in which far less refereeing happens with content.  Strength: ideas can spread quicker.  Weakness: ideas are less vetted.

That point aside, there’s something to think about here in regard to blogging.  If all blogs are “online seminars,” then bloggers must exercise stewardship in their writing.  That’s a sobering reminder, and an exciting one.  Knowledge, so to speak, is out of the bottle.  Who knows what the future will bring in terms of educational trends?

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Reflecting on the Reformed Resurgence: Band of Bloggers 2012

Timmy Brister, the mastermind/head/visionary behind Band of Bloggers, recently made this announcement:

We are excited about this year’s Band of Bloggers (on April 10, 2012, just before Together for the Gospel starts).  Each panelist has played a pivotal role with Band of Bloggers and the Young, Restless, and Reformed Movement.  At our first Band of Bloggers (April 2006), we were thrilled to have Tim Challies, Justin Taylor, Albert Mohler, and Russell Moore as panel speakers, and six years later we are even more happy to see that Justin and Tim will be joining us again.  Collin Hansen who coined the phrase “young, restless, and reformed” and wrote a journalistic book about it will also be joining us.  And for the first time, Kevin DeYoung, perhaps the most prominent Reformed blogger online has agreed to contribute his thoughts as well.  And I’m grateful for my good friend and fellow moderator, Owen Strachan, will be helping me lead the discussion at this year’s gathering.

If you want to go to BoB, you need to register ASAP.  Last I heard, the event was 2/3 full a day or two after it was announced.

I’m looking especially forward to this year’s gathering, because we’re going to reflect on the reformed resurgence and how blogging has contributed to it.  It will be fun to do that with some young leaders, and I know that many who join us will have made meaningful contributions to the broader movement.  The whole point of this is that we’ve witnessed “a thousand points of light” come to life in the last 5-6 years, a development that has allowed the books, talks, sermons, and discussions of the reformed world to spread like wildfire all over the world.

That, my friends, is a beautiful thing, one worth celebrating in six weeks’ time.

By the way, I think Southern Seminary still has some spots open in the special Together for the Gospel class.  It’s led by Russell Moore, Dean of SBTS, and will allow students to hear some great material, attend some pre-conference panels with a range of Southern faculty, and then attend the full conference.  You get three credit hours from SBTS.  It’s a fantastic bargain and has people enrolled from all over the country.

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Turn the Lights Back On–A Blog Reawakening

It’s been a while.  But it’s time to come back.  Turn the lights back on.

This blog has never been about my personal life, and it’s not going to be.  But in resuming blogging, I will say this: it has been a busy 2010-11 for me (I think in terms of school years as a college prof).  In the final year of my doctorate, I have had teaching, comprehensive exams, dissertation research, and dissertation writing on my plate.  I still have a bit to go.  It has been a big help to take some pressure off by cutting some things from my life in order to care well for my family.

I also took some time to think through the issue of social media self-promotion.  I’ve tried to avoid that in the past by not making this blog about me, but I became concerned about this issue some time ago.  I continue to think about it, but I can say very quickly that writing on a blog can be a good way of exercising leadership that, hopefully, glorifies the Lord and blesses his people.  I want to write more about this and plan to do so soon.

I can’t lie, though.  I’ve been itching to return for months now.  So here we go.  Starting Monday, I’ve got a bunch of good content for you.  In the tradition of my New England Puritan forebears, this is a blog reawakening.  This is exciting to approximately twelve of you.  But no worries.  The lights are back on, and that’s what matters.

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The End

Well, it’s been a good ride.

After a long blogging run on this site, I’m calling it quits.  I enjoy blogging and will do so in other places, but I no longer desire to keep my own site running.  This has been a hard decision for me; I’ve prayed about it a good bit and talked it over with some.  In news that will rock the blogging community right to its foundations (to use a great Matt Labash line), I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to end this humble little blog.

I have wrestled over the course of blogging with the forum.  I like it.  But it does have some weaknesses.  It strikes me that right now, at this point in my life, I would probably rather be part of a group-blog or an institution (maybe The Gospel Coalition, B&H, BibleMesh, Gospel Coalition–something like that) instead of my own deal.  Individually-run blogs do great things.  However, I do want to guard against pride in my own heart and against being a “personality.”  You can have an individual blog and not fall prey here; you can have an individual blog and not be a self-promoter.  But I can also see how I myself can be tempted in these areas.  Franky Schaeffer–no theological role model of mine–has some strong words on the nature of self-promoting evangelical culture that have resonated with me.

On top of theological stuff, there is also the weight that comes with being responsible on a constant basis for content.  Sometimes it’s good to take weight off, even when–hopefully–you’re working towards kingdom ends.  That’s another problem area for many of us, myself included, and so I’m taking an opportunity to step back.

I don’t like personal public declarations like this; it’s rather silly.  Who cares?  But it seems wise to say something after five years of blogging.  Many folks have been kind to read and interact with this blog; thank you kindly for doing so.  I’m sincerely grateful.  This has been fun.  I appreciate the encouragement, sharpening, and mutual pursuit of the magnification of Christ in all things.  I’ve made friends through this blog, had stimulating discussions, and have gotten to participate in a very small way in ministry.

I’m not sure whether I’ll take the blog all the way down or leave it up.  Not sure right now what’s better.  There is also the possibility of an unretirement at some point.  I love basketball, so I’m well familiar with such a decision.  No plans for this, of course.  Considerably less people will fret about my decision than did with Michael Jordan, I’m guessing.

Anyway, enough prattling.  Thanks for reading this–and I’ll hopefully engage with you in other places, all for the greater glory of Christ.

***********

By the way, James Grant just kindly published an interview on the Essential Edwards Collection.

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Band of Bloggers at Together for the Gospel

Have you heard about the upcoming Band of Bloggers event at Together for the Gospel in just under a month’s time?  Timmy Brister, the event’s planner, recently announced it.  Here’s the essential information:

The theme for this year’s meeting is Internet Idolatry and Gospel Fidelity.” With the advent of new media and the increasing influence of technology on our lives, it is important to address the relationship of the gospel to technology, especially the areas where we are tempted with idolatrous desire (power, identity, influence, acceptance, control, etc.).  While the internet, with all of its platforms (such as blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can be a powerful tool to leverage our lives for the gospel impact, we want to examine our hearts to bring to light the various ways in which the idol factory of our hearts challenges and subverts the very gospel which we long to embrace.

The format for this year’s gathering will be similar to last year.  We will begin with a catered lunch, listen to 4 speakers address a subtopic on the theme, and transition to a moderated panel discussion with questions fielded from attendees.  The guys I have asked to speak this year are: Justin Taylor, Jonathan McIntosh, Trevin Wax, and Jared Wilson. I am thrilled that these guys have agreed to lead the discussion, and I believe you will be blessed and challenged by their contributions to this important topic.

The meeting will take place at The Galt House (the Archibald Room) on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 from 11:00am-12:45pm.  The Galt House is located just two blocks away from the Louisville Convention Center and is connected to the Center via a skywalk.  Due to limited seating, we encourage you to register early as every BoB gathering to date has reached capacity prior to the event. Registration for this gathering is $25 and simply covers the cost of the catered lunch.

This is exciting news.  I’m thrilled to be a small part of this event through moderating the panel.  I’m also looking forward to the free books that Timmy magically procures for this event year-after-year.  I haven’t seen any hard figures, but I’ve heard that those who pay the $25 cover will receive around $200 worth of free books.  If that is not economics working for you, show me what is.

If you’ll be at T4G, make it a part of your plans to come to BoB.  It’s a very fun gathering and is a rare opportunity for the blogging community to get together.  Hope to see you there in a few weeks’ time.

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Carl Trueman on Monkeys, Fools, and Web Morality

Historical theologian Carl Trueman has a great post up on Reformation21 entitled, hilariously, “Fools Rush In Where Monkeys Fear to Tread” on the way in which Christians puff themselves up on the web and transgress traditional codes of humility and morality. (HT: Naselli) The whole thing is worth reading; here’s a snatch:

Now, it is one thing to have others write commendations of you for a book cover or conference brochure – perhaps necessary evils in the cut-throat world of publishing and conferences; and nobody should believe them, least of all the objects of such patent flannel; but to say it about yourself implies that you might actually believe the propaganda, that maybe you yourself are just a wee bit arrogant and smug. And, remember, this chap wasn’t even Reformed.  I shudder to think how much worse he might be if he endorsed the Westminster Standards or the Three Forms of Unity. One can only assume that the kind of man who describes himself on his own website as “witty” is likely to be the same kind of man who laughs at his own jokes and, quite probably, claps himself at the end of his own speeches – behaviour that was previously the exclusive preserve of politicians, Hollywood stars, and chimpanzees.

Read it all.

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10 Million Words: Or, Something Only Tim Challies Would Attempt

timthumb.phpThe latest from Ben Peays and The Gospel Coalition:

The Gospel Coalition is pleased to welcome 10 Million Wordsa new blog by Tim Challies.

Over the next year Challies will read and review all of The New York Times bestsellers (nearly 200!). The aim of this project is to learn about American culture through the pages of the country’s best-selling books. We at TGC trust this project will serve pastors by providing insight into what Americans are thinking and feeling through an analysis of the popular literature of the day.

The TGC revolution continues.  This should be a big project, one worth checking regularly.  Tim is a terrific writer, a sharp thinker, and, most importantly, a guy who loves a big God and His gospel.  I’m personally looking forward to reading his thoughts on today’s bestseller’s.

And keep your eye on Ben Peays–seriously, what else is he going to pull off?

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You Link to Me, I’ll Gladly Link to You

Update on Tuesday, January 15: If anyone else wants to be linked on my blog, please let me know. I’ll check out your blog and then link to it provided everything makes sense. Then, if you could link to me, that would be great. I’ll leave this up today in order to see if anyone else wants to be linked on this blog. Thanks to everyone who has already left their names and addresses–my blog will be the stronger for your links.

Short post from Deerfield, IL today (my first ever from here). If you read my blog regularly and would like me to link to your blog, please leave your blog name and address in the comments section. The one caveat is this: if I link to you, you link to me. The more blogs that link to your blog, the higher up your blog will appear in online searching. I have wanted to do this for a long time but have not found the time to do so. Don’t be shy–I will link to your blog if it checks out. There are a lot of good blogs out there that could use some exposure. I don’t have much, but what I have, I will gladly use to help fellow bloggers of like mind.

So, feel free to leave me your blog’s name and address. I will add a bunch of links in days to come, and you can add my blog to your link list, and everyone will benefit, and we’ll slowly take over the world together, one Google search at a time.

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