Alan Jacobs had an interesting article in the most recent Books & Culture about blogging. It was very well written and even-handed. His main point was that blogging is pretty cool, but has its downsides. It is good for information purposes: news, news-checking, updates on subjects of interest, etc. But it's not so good for conversations. He argues that the architecture of a blog prohibits really valuable conversations from taking place. Other than the inherent roadblocks of an inhuman interface, the blog world seems to be one where one must, like university professors, publish or die.
Discussing this with my wife, especially concerning the propriety of this here blog, she made the comment that this blog does seem to generate good conversation, just not on the internet. With relative frequency, people will strike up face-to-face conversations about something I've written on the blog. This is partly possible because I believe I know personally most of the people who read this blog (and would really like to meet the rest of you). This is, in my opinion, the answer to Mr. Jacobs' valid argument: if the thoughts and conversations on blogs, and cyberspace in general, remain there, it's likely that little has really been accomplished. But if we can take from there thoughtful comments and bring them to our face-to-face conversations, it would seem we've found a useful tool. This way, blogs become matches rather than the whole fire.
This clarifies the "user instructions" for this blog: it is far better to take material from here and use it to light real conversations than simply to engage in polemical "commenting" ad infinitum. Though I do love a good comment now and then.
Please read this by George Grant. I'm done being nice in my sermons. :)
Please read this by Barry York.