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Off the top

A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Impressions of the GodBlogCon

It's kind of surreal to think that only a couple days ago, I was present at the first-ever GodBlog convention on the other side of the continent, and, just twenty-four hours ago, was pulling into my driveway at the conclusion of the trip home. Yet, on terrain completely different (though beautiful) from that of my home, I met a group of people among whom I indeed felt at home, though I had never met (in person) any of them before.

It was a bit intimidating to be among such luminaries as David Wayne, John Mark Reynolds, Mark Roberts and others, yet they were all tremendously nice, gracious, wonderful people. It was also intimidating to observe most of these folks to be founts of profound, articulate language pouring forth at all times – live-blogging, live-speaking, on and on...sheesh, no wonder they have such prodigious output on their blogs!

But it was encouraging to realize that (Christian) bloggers everywhere have much in common and that they face the same challenges. They are thoughtful, smart people who sincerely seek after God and have a passion for expressing what they know of Him so as to make Him known to others. All bloggers must consider the way they will define their blogging, respond to commenters, and keep blogging in its proper place in their lives. Charitable discussion is of utmost importance, indeed there's great need for the type of discussion that blogging is, and for community among bloggers and between bloggers and their “real-life” communities and churches.

Someone else has mentioned how interesting it was to note which bloggers appear similar in person to the way they are perceived via their blogging, and which do not. One of the latter is Joe Carter – I would have expected him to be more of a “presence,” I guess, yet the person I saw (if but briefly) was the one I see in posts like this one and this one. Joe really has a sense of the importance of all of the voices in the blogging world, not just the “biggies.” This became evident to me when he offered his support of Intellectuelle, yet I saw the depth to which this is a part of him in the things he said as a speaker at the conference. His support is the best kind – he encourages and gently promotes, yet stays out of the way so as to allow those he supports to do their thing. Though quiet and unassuming, he’s always ready with thoughtful, articulate answers. It was a privilege to meet him and hear him speak.

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I also got to meet and chat with other women bloggers including Jan Lynn of The View From Her, Amy Hall of the A-team blog, Suzanna Bond of Salvation Walls, and LaShawn Barber (everyone knows LaShawn!). Jan blogs on being single – a ministry much needed, Amy blogs apologetics, and Suzanna blogs inner reflections and her artwork. Then there was Laura Springer of Laura’s Writings, from whom I learned about California spiders, and Cecilia Henderson of Kicking Over My Traces, from whom I’m expecting a novel of intrigue concerning the inner workings of the Internet, sometime in the future...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSuzanna and I (not sure what was so funny but you can see I had a good time)

And of course it was great to meet Rusty Lopez, the person who introduced me to blogging in the first place.

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The speakers provided encouraging words as well as food for thought, such as John Mark Reynold’s picture of blogging as both preserved and live performance. Interaction afforded by the panel discussions and topical sessions allowed for good development of ideas. And, thanks to the volunteer efforts of Biola staff Matt Anderson and cohorts, the organization and flow of the conference were first-rate. Evident throughout was the sincerity of all involved (as JMR would probably say, “Feel the love, man!”) -- the prevailing “agenda” was the furthering of the cause of Christ via blogging, plain and simple.

At one point I found myself part of a round-table discussion including the likes of Reynolds, Joe Carter, Andrew Jackson, Tod Bolsinger, David Wayne, and Rusty Lopez (in no particular order). I was the lone female presence in that crowd. What was remarkable, though, besides the stimulating conversation, was the fact that I’ve never before found myself unable to get a word in edgewise in the company of a group of men! They would’ve yakked right through the dinner period had not a couple of us just gotten up to go. (I thought, hey, these are my kind of people – they’d rather talk than eat!)

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There was definitely no shortage of conversation at the Con, and plenty of humor as well. Both John Schroeder of Blogotional and John Mark Reynolds kept the LOL level high. And, speaking of laughter and general jollyness, I can say that the Jollyblogger, David Wayne, truly is jolly – either he’s always smiling or else manages to look like it! His workshop on blogging theology was both affirming and encouraging, and he succeeded in presenting what could have been a dry subject in an extremely relevant and engaging manner. (From now on I will read his blog in rapid-fire with a Southern accent...)

The presence of Hugh Hewitt certainly energized the conference; it was an event in itself to observe him at his craft. In observing two hours of his radio show's live broadcast, the musician in me really appreciated how he brought a “script” to life through impeccable timing and control of the momentum.

All in all, I think the conference was a success, and, while I hear that next year’s conference will be on the west coast again, I hope that an east coast division of the conference might be established in the future...

photo credits go to Rusty Lopez, who either took the photos or allowed his camera to be used to take the photos or posted them on his site so I could swipe them :-). I did, in fact, take my own camera to the conference, but it decided not to work.
correction: the round-table discussion photo hails from Mike’s Noise


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