Trevin thinks that when it comes down to it, the curiosity of the blogger makes the blog:
The best blogs are a combination of the two. The blogger has a curious nature, and this curiosity manifests itself naturally in his or her writing interesting material that grabs the attention of readers. Cultivating a sense of curiosity, a sense of wonder and awe at the world we live in, is vitally important for delivering interesting content day after day.
I have found that interesting blogs are written by interesting people. What makes an interesting person? The ability to be continually fascinated by ideas.
I think Trevin is almost right, and is one of the best exemplars of the principle. Both of his regular blogging and his daily links demonstrate a wide range of interests.
But there’s a corollary that he doesn’t much develop, that I think he is an even better representative of.
Curiosity can only be sustained if it’s constantly going deeper, searching for that elusive bedrock that is the heart of the matter. It is a nearly irresistible impulse to probe beneath the surfaces, to look for something that has not yet been discovered or has not yet been articulated. And when you find it, the gold rush is on and the people will follow. Because people who go into the depths will not be boring long.
If I may take the application broader, one pervasive myth of evangelical preaching (in practice, if not in theory) is that the way to keep people engaged is to keep the content on the bottom shelf. The paradox, of course, is that the exact opposite is true–at least if you want people to hang around longer than the sermon goes. To capture people’s hearts, you must at some point capture their minds, and to keep their hands busy working they must at some point be fed with meat. Yes, you might lose some. But not nearly as many as you might think.
I don’t know how to make a blog work, but I definitely think you’re right on preaching (also applies to teaching).
“Keep the cookies on the bottom shelf” was drummed into us relentlessly when I was a seminarian at Dallas Seminary. To judge by what I’ve seen over the past 40 years since those days, DTS most certainly did not have a monopoly on that philosophy of ministry. Look into any corner of broadly evangelical American Protestantism over the past two generations and you’ll see the same relentless trend: churches which have abandoned the Great Commision to “teach them to observe everything I have commanded you” in favor of promoting Your Best Life Now And Not A Second Later. As is usual for evangelicals, Osteen’s book is a grand exercise in staking out a position in front of a rampaging mob.
So, where does a Christian turn for serious discipleship? Or, at a minimum, serious instruction in the faith once delivered to the saints?
Books? Well, perhaps, though the market for serious books of theology and Bible exposition is small and expensive. Visit any “Christian” bookstore and survey its contents. It’ll give you a good idea of where the ostensibly Christian publishing industry is pushing with its shoulder.
Seminaries? Over four decades of pastoral ministry, I have almost never recommended serminary training to anyone. Again, it has become prohibitively expensive, and what it delivers is now often more toxic than edifying.
Blogs? Well, there are blogs, and then there are blogs. Most readers of this blog will be able to name serious blogs, contentful blogs and similar web sites that contain a wealth of serious theological and Biblical exposition. And, all is available for the cost of the computer and a dependable access point to the Web. Moreover, a student may find excellent compilations of Baptist theology, Roman theology, Calvinist theology, Anglican theology, and so forth — again, all of them as inexpensive and accessible as any of the rest of them.
The chief drawback to all this is its divorce from the church, the way in which all this theological/Biblical education may be had in utter isolation from a tangible space/time relationship to a living congregation of Christians.