Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bloggers vs. Traditional Religious Authority Structures

Interesting article on the impact of religious blogging here (HT).
Now, thanks to Web logs (called blogs) and other Internet postings, critics in every faith tradition are getting a hearing far beyond the synagogue, church or mosque parking lot. Forced to listen because others are, religious leaders are responding in ways that show how religious authority is shifting in the 21st century.

All authority structures deriving power from beliefs or creeds are getting tested, it seems, as bloggers match wits with established vessels of information. The news media provide a case in point. The hastened retirements of CBS News anchorman Dan Rather and New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines were attributed at least in part to bloggers who showcased information that proved more accurate than what appeared in news reports.

In religion, bloggers well-versed in Scripture and church rules as well as in offering personal testimonies are challenging official policies and winning followers of their own. Traditional authorities, meanwhile, are seeing problems and opportunities alike in the new milieu. How they respond depends to a large degree on what their respective theologies say about the value of voices from the proverbial peanut gallery.


Derek Makri said...

Indeed, we live in a different time. A time of great possiblities and potential. What you talked about can also be used for great wrong too. What a stewardship God has given us. What a responsibilty to use it wisely and for good.

Nikolai said...

I was just talking with Angela Morris about blogs and how it seems that they may actually be overused by pastors and others in ministry. After our conversation, she emailed me these comments, which I believe are very insightful, though perhaps a bit off-topic from your post.

"I'm not anti-blog. My concern is the excessive blogging by some of those in ministry. Good articles which feed the mind and the spirit can be stretching. But I fear that too much computer time by many will disallow other much needed ministries (counselling, discipleship, door-to-door, sermon preparation.) When I see the numerous postings in a day, I wonder how much time can be spent on other things.

Blogging, like any habit, can be beneficial or can be detrimental. The key is ownership - does the blogging own you, or do you own the blogging?"