Thursday, June 30, 2005

all in the (blogging) family?

In John's weekly profile of Methodist bloggers for Locusts and Honey, one of the questions he always asks is: Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you've changed your mind?I responded saying that most of my views on issues have changed at least somewhat over time, been nuanced differently, matured in ways. I think all of us probably change and grow, sometimes for better, sometimes in less positive ways.

I began thinking: what makes us change? What influences us to take a step in a new direction? For example, I used to think vegetarians were silly. Then I became one. And now I'm a vegan. My prostletizing-vegan brother was one big influence in that decision, and other things led to this decision as well - many factors, to make a gradual shift in my thinking.

Then I think about the conversations that go on in blogs in the comments section. I love blogging, and I love reading the blogs of others of all different viewpoints. Some of my favorite blogs are those with views who are most different than my own - I'm drawn by intelligent and/or hilariously witting writing. And readers of my own blog often comment that they don't agree with much I say, but still enjoy my blog. In my mind, this is one of the most valuable parts of blogging - bringing together of people who otherwise aren't usually together.

Where I turn less appreciate of blog conversations is when it seems like we're all saying the same things all the time. Talking, posting, commenting at each other instead of with each other. I hold myself part of this group, of course. Recently I've been joining in (a little) and following (a lot) a post Shane made at Wesleyblog, since, as a board member, my ears always perk up for GBCS-related posts. My comments and the comments of others are interesting, but the same, it seems, as the comments and posts we make about other related things. If Jim Winkler says something, some will have one (predictable) reaction and others will have a different (predictable) one. If George Bush says something, I'll have one (predictable) reaction and others will have a different (predictable) one.

This is when I get frustrated. Do we have anything new to say? Can even blogs be a channel of growth and change instead of a channel for having the same conversations over and over again?

What makes you change your views on things? How have others opened your eyes to a different way of thinking? Maybe blogs don't need to be agents of change, but it'd be cool if they could be...
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