Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blogging as a Supplemental Activity

I connect with people here (and on other personal and group blogs) in different ways than I connect with people at church. I connect intellectually on blogs more often than at church, but I usually connect at a deeper emotional level at church than I do on blogs. On blogs, when someone says something that I consider to be ridiculous, it is too easy to dismiss the person, while at church I have a much easier time “suffering the fool(ish statement)” - since I generally have had other interactions of a positive nature with that person. Each connection is real, but the connections at Church probably are the ones that have the most chance of becoming broader and deeper connections on multiple levels, if for no reason other than there is little chance of me ever putting a face and voice and broad personality to most of you with whom I converse here and on other blogs.

As much as I enjoy the interaction, I simply can't connect on as many levels on blogs as I do at church. For that reason, I hope those who frequent the Bloggernacle don't use it as a substitute for church - that they recognize the fellowship that is more tangible among the saints in person and not feel justified in the relative isolation of the Bloggernacle. I hope they supplement their church experience with these blogs, not vice versa.

12 comments:

Jami said...

I can hug a person in real life when I see them, but I might not always see that they need a hug. On the blogs I spend the most time on I know when people need a hug, but I'm not there to give it to them. I am grateful for the love of both groups.

backandthen said...

No pressure here Ray but I have given a link to your blog to a friend in my ward who is in need of something different from what we get at church in my ward. I mean, the problem is that it is not my ward that is spiritually and intellectually poor it is my whole country.
This poor sister cannot understand it now but someday she'll understand it and understand that if she wants some spiritual nourishment she should not expect it from people around.
Until then she can read your blog ;o)

Anonymous said...

I attended church because I know the church is true and that was what Heavenly Father commanded-and had more or less uplifting experiences over the years,and my fair share of being hurt and offended,and I'm sure doing the same to others.Illness has now kept me from church for 3 years,and in that time I have rarely been well enough to speak to anyone-unimaginable to those who have not been there.I have learnt to yearn for that ward,for the spiritual gifts of the individuals I saw on a regular basis,for what i learnt from them which was often unwelcome,but I realise,essential to my development as a daughter of God.Absence has certainly made the heart grow fonder,and i hope to live to find out so much more about these precious and challenging companions in the faith amongst whom the the Lord has placed me.Meanwhile I find precious and challenging souls here,and thank God for them and what they teach me every day.Never underestimate the impact of your integrity on a floundering soul.I realise that we live in faith communities for a myriad of reasons,and that we have a responsibility to share our spiritual growth with others.Love and honour be upon your heads.

Christy said...

Church? What is that? The weather has kept us away far too much - 3 times in the last month. This is unheard of. The fun thing for me is that it was women in my church that got me to start blogging. I get to see them in a different light than I see them at church - I get to know them on a more personal level. I agree, however, that nothing substitutes for personal interaction.

The biggest blessing of my relationships with my ward members is this: I have learned that when I am feeling less than tolerant of others' shortcomings, it is a good indicator of my spiritual health. When I start getting irritated, it reminds me to get back on track with prayer and scripture study. On the other hand, I know I am doing well when I am feeling love and understanding of those around me. I hope this doesn't make me sound like a terrible person. I was told (in therapy) that I am a "super sensor" (in other words, overly sensitive), which can be a blessing or a burden, depending on how you use it, but that's for another day.

Mama D said...

Speaking from personal experience: Jami, comments can be "hugs" when the hug is needed! Thank you for yours.

Ray, I understand what you are saying, and nothing should replace church (or specifically, the gospel) in our lives. Sometimes the need is greater for the personal connection, and other times our needs are fulfilled through our cyber friends. (Such as Anon is experiencing, due to illness.) I see a community of support and concern available in MOST situations, whether they are in person or through the bloggernacle. Personally, I am grateful to have both in my life.

Clean Cut said...

I completely agree with this post and it was a great reminder. I connected to it both intellectually AND emotionally. :)

Patty said...

I love this post. I especially agree with Christy- blogging has helped me to learn about and grow closer to sisters in the ward that I might not have otherwise gotten to know.
Mama's right- virtual hugs help too!

Tasha said...

Hmm this begs a quetion can you guess what it is? :o)

Papa D said...

Thanks, everyone, for the comments. I really enjoyed reading them - even yours, Tash. *grin*

Ardis Parshall said...

That pegs the difference I feel between blogging and direct interaction -- I hadn't really sorted out my reactions before this.

I think it also helps to explain some of the discombobulation I feel when someone I have come to "know" online introduces himself unexpectedly in person. If I've formed a poor opinion of someone online, even if I haven't necessarily expressed that publickly, a personal introduction is far more grating than when, say, I meet someone I've only heard of through other people's conversation. It's as though I've already dismissed and disposed of that person in my mind, in ways that I just don't do in face to face contacts. I'll have to watch that reaction.

Anonymous said...

Whilst I hope I've made it clear that I think blogging is a wonderful activity ,I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of it as a substitute to real world connection-eye to eye communication.I think one of the tests of our humanity is how we cope with human intimacy,and any substitute seems to me just that.Finding language for spiritual experience is a real challenge to me,but not the only challenge.I hope to use some of these concepts in my interaction with others,particularly my family and sisters.Still,i guess better said than unsaid in any situation.

Papa D said...

Anonymous, I REALLY appreciate your comments in this thread. They add a layer of meaning - a depth - that would be missing without them.

I think blogging can be a temporary substitute - and even a long-term substitute when circumstances make personal, face-to-face attendance impossible, but I agree that it never will be the ideal.