So, I went to a blogging conference. Since this isn’t really a blog about blogging, I’m not going to go into piles of detail. But this is a blog where I occasionally talk about Jesus. And faith. And some social commentary on the church, at times. What, you might ask, does blogging have to do with those topics, though? Let me begin.
As I sat in the back of the big sessions with my baby* at the mama/baby table conveniently provided, I had some suprising observations.
You must understand going into this that most people who know me in real life have no idea I write a blog. I suppose I’ve considered it something of an indulgence. A hobby of sorts. But maybe one that might appear to others to be glory-seeking. Or time-sucking. Or just silly. Or maybe all three.
We know that the Church is the body of Christ; It’s spoken of in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12 (starting in verse 12):
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ….14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body…
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Since there is a bit of anatomy of the Church Body in the way it’s discussed in scriptures, and since I’ve taken Gross Anatomy, even tutured it, back in my med school days, I had some thoughts on where the growing community of Christian woman bloggers, such as the women at Allume with me, currently fit in the church body.
It seems to me they have the most in common with the Nervous System.
(Image from http://visual.merriam-webster.com/human-being/anatomy/nervous-system/peripheral-nervous-system.php)
The human nervous system transmits thousands of impulses a minute across an intricate web through the body and the brain, and back out again. There are branches and long axons that create a complex and intricate network of rapid and mysterious communication, helping to keep the entire body in check. If there is pain in a foot that steps on a nail, the rest of the body finds out with lightning speed. When there’s a need to to move the body out of danger, the nervous system will cooridnate the thousands of small impulses needed to accomplish this apparently simple feat.
Let me ask you this: How many hundreds of thousands of Christian homes in America have a women who opens a computer, or tablet, or even phone to pop onto even one of these many blogs written by Christian women each day? I’m willing to bet this fluid and ‘unofficial’ network of writers online reach into the millions of households across the country.
There are among these bloggers many who tell stories of pain in the Church. Of orphans in need of homes, of impoverished family who need simple compassion, of injustice, and of those held in bondage. The messages are sent out, and wells are dug, children find homes, families are sponsered, brothel doors are kicked down, and countless prayers are uplifted from the hearts of believers who have read the stories of need across the globe. Christ, the Head, hears these prayers.
They are truth-proclaimers, story-tellers. None would claim they are perfect or have it all figured out, but they overcome their fear of their critics to storm the web. When has the Christian church had the ability to know the needs of it’s members so quickly and thoroughly and easily? And by those who aren’t considered the experts, but rather simply the sheep?
Certainly the Internet carries much, much evil and darkness within its void. But there is a rising tide of voices, some large, some small, some with many listeners, others with only a handful. Together, they whisper and speak and even shout the stories of Redemption. Of Grace. Of Resurrection. The little keys on a thousand keyboards typed by farmer’s wives and busy moms and former lawyers and doctors and seasoned homeschooling mamas and tired, worn out new moms, and single Christian ladies can and have created a thundering cascade of comminication across this Body we call the Church.
The nerves have nothing if not connected to the head. And there are diseases that strike the nervous system as sure as any other.
The body can suffer paralysis if a severing occurs. Or if a partial damage occurs in certain parts of the spinal cord, numbness can be an issue as well. There are diseases that find their worst effect by travelling slowly, creeping up the axons from the point of infection back up to the brain. Rabies for instance, can start at the hand where an animal bite transmitted, and creep along the nerves for months to reach the brain and cause death. Then there is leprosy– because a body part doesn’t sense pain, it can be lost.
Sin can have the same effect among these Christians communicating on the internet. Channels of communication can close because of ill-written words or self-seeking gain. Could a finger, or small joint, or even a whole hand in the Body find it’s whole function impaired from such a breech? Perhaps so.
So can blogging be self-glory-seeking? Of course. But I’ve now seen it can also be GOD-Glory-seeking and God-Glory-telling and God-Glory-proclaiming about the splendor of Christ and the beauty of his Body. So that’s why I had to just say a little something about Allume.
*Given that I have a 4-and-a-half-week-old baby, I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to attend. I live less than two hours driving distance from Greenvile, however. So I figured when I bought the ticket, that I’d just sell it if the little man was a colicky one. Thankfully, he’s actually my most mellow baby yet. So he happily slept or quietly nursed through all the conference sessions. Given my germophobia, I’d calculated that he would actually be exposed to fewer germs in a conference where the women, most of whom have been mothers, know better than to say, sneeze on his face, as opposed to being home with 2- and 5- year old siblings who do exactly that, among other things.