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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The mystery of blogging about the faith

When Lee Anne Millinger got the grim news that she needed a kidney transplant, prayers for her well-being began to flow from her family, her Presbyterian church and — because Millinger lives part of her life in the online world — from bloggers who live thousands of miles away.

"It was so encouraging to know that these people were thinking of me and my family. It was like someone from church calling to check in on us," said Millinger, of Royal Oak, Mich.

Similarly, the Rev. Andrew Bloomfield, a newly ordained Roman Catholic priest in Canton, Mich., has placed one foot firmly in his parish and another in the blogosphere, where he's trying to encourage interest in traditional Catholic teachings.

"The Gospel is relevant in today's world, and this is a way to share the Gospel with another community," he said.

Bloggers like these provide windows into the practical ways that faith shapes daily life. Similarities emerge, even between a Protestant mom and a Catholic priest.

Mystery has always been a key component of religion, and there's definitely a dose of mystery in the booming interest in religious blogging.
[source and rest of article]

The article goes on to speak of the difficulty getting the word out about many of these blogs about the faith and I would add that the difficulty is even more severe with podcasts about the faith. Unless you are fortunate, as Father Roderick of Catholic Insider was in being able to podcast the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict, it is hard to get the word out about what you do - especially as many don't have any idea what a blog is much less what you mean if you say podcast.

The article mentions the establishment of a site called Global Voices that is designed to try to expose people to lesser known blogs by people around the world - most of which are centered on faith issues. I also think that - especially among podcasters - there needs to be a greater focus on promoting the good work of others. Tech podcasts will always have promos about other tech oriented podcasts, but the Catholic podcasts I have heard [including my own] generally do not. I don't think that the lack of promotion is out of malicious tendencies, I think that many of us do not understand the nature of business advertisement the way those who sponsor tech blogs and podcasts do.

Established bloggers help promote each other by pointing out articles or information in other blogs that might be of interest to their readers and/or keeping lists of Catholic blogs on their sites. But unless you already look at one of these more popular blogs, you are not going to find out about the others. Perhaps bishops and priests could bring better attention to these media forms especially since they seem to be predominently coming from the Catholic laity.

In short, there needs to be a whole lot more getting the word out both about the existence of these blogs/podcasts as well as information as to how people can read/subscribe to these new media forms. As the article notes, the mystery of these blogs should be the mystery of the faith, not the mystery of their existence.


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