Friday, August 8, 2008

Some thoughts on blogging...

"Dance like nobody's watching, love like you've never been hurt.
Sing like nobody's listening, live like it's heaven on earth." -- Mark Twain

I have heard this quote years ago but didn't know who wrote it, so I decided to google it today to find who the author is. According to Wikipedia, Mark Twain was an American humorist, satirist, lecturer and writer. But anyways, I am going to apologize to him and make a little modification to his above quote:

"Dance like nobody's watching, love like you've never been hurt.
Sing like nobody's listening, live like it's heaven on earth. Write like nobody is reading"

We, humans have an inherent desire to express ourselves and we do it by talking, speaking, writing and thinking. And it looks like Christians have a lot more to express due to the fact that their true humanity has been restored by the work of Christ. If we don't express, who will?

But I shy away from expressing myself naked (on an emotional level) when I know people are watching (reading). In other words, I would express myself better in a personal journal which I know for sure nobody (not even my wife!) is going to read (ever!). Why? I don't want my negatives to be known and noticed. But at the same time I like to read the honest, raw, expressing, shameless, outspoken writings. Only then I can relate to my own struggles.

A quote from Anne Lamot on writing:

"The very first thing I tell my new students on the first day of the workshop is that good writing is about telling the truth"

If we can't tell the truth, it is better not to write. It is when a Christian comes and tells me that he struggles with atheism (at times), I can relate.

Bird by bird...

When I have a lot of things to say, I feel overwhelmed, and it kind of makes me immobilized unless I break it into little pieces and take piece by piece.

Another excerpt from Anne:

"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at that time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"

11 comments:

Nicole said...

Bino!

What a greag post. I have thought about the same things. That I can't write certain things because everyone and anyone can read it. However, I think I am beginning to step out of my shell and just write what Father puts on my heart even if no one reads it, it is just an expression of my heart and what I am going through at the time. I try to allow Father to show himself through me just in case someone comes along who needs to hear it, however, I don't do it to be noticed and there is a big difference. I am not 'blogging' to be known, but through what I write I am learning from others and learning from Father... I love what you had to say and the quotes are great! Mark Twain is awesome. Wasn't he a writer? I thought he wrote a lot of books! Anyways, Great post brother!

In Freedom, Nicole!

amy said...

Bino,

LOL - as I was reading your thoughts about being raw, honest and open while writing I thought, "I wonder if he's ever read Anne Lamott?" and then the very next sentence you start talking about her! LOL I remember something else she said, "If people you know didn't want you to write about them then they should have been nicer to you." Her honesty does make her a great writer.

IKWYM - I haven't shared my own blog with many people I know (even on some of my 'outside the box' lists there are too many doctrine police). Hope I'll get over that...

AmyC. said...

Bino,
Great Blog! I respect and honor your absolute honesty. I definitely don't think you're the only one with the struggles mentioned. When I started my Blog on my MySpace page, I definitely hesitated before posting my Life Story. It's that "fear" of being "found out," failures, foibles and all. But it was when I realized I'll never allow anyone to get close to me or know me...and the sadness which came from that revelation, that spurned me to click "Post." I desire true, real, relationship with others, and I know this means opening up myself to be bare. Those that are "spooked" by my past or whatever, unfortunately, won't be a part of my inner, intimate circle of friends. Those who accept me for me, ahh...these shall be those whom were meant to be. Yet, there are definitely still much growth in this area for me. It's really done by baby-steps I think. Opening our hearts little by little. As I'm beginning to see others accept me and embrace me, I'm learning to trust. Learning to trust God, the "process" and others.

As well, I understand the situation of being overwhelmed by a task-at-hand. Boy, have I been there zillions of times. Ha! Great story of the birds. Bit-by-bit is a reminder I personally must remember when faced with a new project.

~Amy :)
www.myspace.com/amyinsurprise

Joel B. said...

The main thing I want to express when I communicate with others, and this is especially true when I communicate online, is the message of the gospel. I have been doing this online ever since my wife and I first got the internet sometime around 1996. I went "incognito" in Christian chat rooms and forums for many years (anonymous nicknames, and being very careful not to give away any details about my true identity or location). My "reason" (excuse) for that was that I was a "public figure" (on air at a radio station) and I was hesitant to let people know my true identity when I was posting all this "controversial" stuff about the gospel. :)

I think the first time I "came out" with my true identity online was when I joined the grace walk forum in early 2005. For the first time I publicly posted my real name along with my website. My outlook had changed, and I figured that if I was going to be "real" about the gospel I also wanted to be real about who I am.

I've always noticed that preachers and teachers share personal stories to help with their teachings, and I just couldn't do that very well by remaining anonymous. At the same time, ever since I began sharing personal stories, I've been careful and selective about what I share. People don't need to know every detail of my life. :) But I've definitely grown in the freedom to express who I really am and what I really think, without worrying about what others may think about me.

My thought is that we don't need to be absolutely 'naked' in sharing our true selves, especially in a publicly accessible place such as a blog or forum, but I think I've learned to be comfortable wearing my 'swimming suit,' even if it reveals some unsightly flab. ;)

BTW, Mark Twain is probably most famous for his Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn adventures. Our family is planning a trip to Hannibal, Missouri, the now 'tourist town' where Mark Twain grew up and that served as the inspiration for many of the Tom and Huck stories.

Who Am I? said...

Bino,
I decided to finally create my own Blog. I hope you will come visit "me," add me to your Feeds, read my entries, and leave comments. I'd love that!!
By the way, your Blog is in my Blogroll!

http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/

Thanks!
~Amy :)

Bino M. said...

Nicole,

Yes, to me this is a great way of expressing myself. There is no guarantee that everything I write here is perfect in any sense. It's part of learning, growing and mutually encouraging.

Amy,
I have ordered Anne Lamott's 'Traveling Mercies'. The reviews are quite impressive, so I think I will like it.

"If people you know didn't want you to write about them then they should have been nicer to you." Lol! That's a great one!

I know one more thing now that you are not the same amy(below)! I am glad I found your blog the other day and I have greatly enjoyed what you had shared.

Amyc,
You mentioned about 'Opening our hearts little by little' and I know what it means. I am a guy who is not comfortable with opening up myself. I consider myself as an introvert. But blogging has helped me in a great deal. I don't think there is anyone called a 'perfect Christian' but there are people who act as if they are perfect in everything they do and honestly I am not comfortable with them. I like people with flaws, it's not that I like their flaws, but it is when they express their struggles I am able to relate.

I saw your second comment about your blog. I tell you, it is a great news that you decided to start your own blog. I am sure you will learn, encourage and be encouraged by a great many of fellow bloggers over here.

Bino M. said...

Joel,

Thank you for sharing!

Though my utmost intention is sharing gospel, I see a little more than that is happening on the blog community. It is also a place of sharing personal stories, struggles, confusion along with encouragements and solid teaching. We are able to appropriate the truths from the Word in an intimate way when it comes with a 'personal touch'.

My thought is that we don't need to be absolutely 'naked' in sharing our true selves, especially in a publicly accessible place such as a blog or forum

I agree with you. When I said 'naked', I didn't really mean all the personal details, but what is relevant to the context. In Apostle Paul's words: 'what is profitable'. It is like, when you open your heart to somebody, you feel less stressed out. I think today's pastors live under tremendous stress, because they expected to be all knowing, always encouraging, sinless and in a spiritual high all the time. It makes it hard for them to be who they really are. People may admire, respect and approve him but they will never 'know' him because of the mask he is forced to wear always.

Bible itself is a great encouragement for us to be real and vulnerable. One of the amazing fact about Bible (contrary to any other religious books) is, it doesn't hide the flaws of some of the great people of God. This is true in both OT and NT. Though people like to think of them as 'exceptions' or 'situational', in reality they all failed at times. It shows the flaws of humanity and tells us that only God is perfect and the only way we can be perfected is by receiving that gift of righteousness offered in Christ Jesus.

Joel B. said...

Bino,

I definitely appreciate the personal touch on blogs in which people share their lives. I remember when I first began my website 4 1/2 years ago and I wrote my first two "articles" for it. (I had no clue what "blogging" was back then). :)

While I liked what I had written, I look back now and I realize how impersonal it was. I think the theology may have been helpful to people, but yet I really do like how the 'nakedness' of blogging brings so much of it to life.

I think I was more stressed out when I began sharing my personal stories, not being sure how far I wanted to put myself out there to strangers, but yet my thinking was that people would hopefully relate to it, so that helped me to overcome my fears and worries, at least a little. And now, I truly do feel as if there's less weight (I feel less stressed) when I'm able to be open and honest about my life.

Thanks for bringing all this up... it's been wonderful thinking about it all and seeing what you and others have to say!

Aida said...

Bino, this is a great post. I can really relate to what Joel shared since I've been going through the same process. When I joined my first online group, I used a nickname since there are crazies out there on the internet and I didn't want to be too open. Fortunately, none of you fit in that category. LOL

Now, I use my first name and have changed most of my online groups to my first name. I haven't used my last name yet but Darin Hufford has posted some of my blogs on his website and he's posted my last name so it's really not a private thing any more. Also, I've posted an email address in case anyone wants to contact me.

I'm still working through being more open but I've started posting more personal things about myself here and on Darin's forum. That's a major step for me. Like Joel said, not everything needs to be posted but there is a freedom in letting people know who I really am and finding out that the blogging world accepts me - flaws and all.

Bino M. said...

Joel,
I was exactly like you. My first posts were kind of 'preachy' and you don't have to be authentic and vulnerable to be 'preachy'. But like you said, I conveyed my understanding of the doctrines/theology and I thought thats all it matters.After all, people want to hear the gospel, why would they care about my stories, I thought. But to my surprise I got connected to all you guys, the interaction slowly started growing and that put me in ease to share personal stories etc. And like you said in your previous comment, now I am not that uncomfortable in people seeing some 'unsightly flab'. :)

Aida,
I was wondering about you since you were quite silent for few days. I am glad you are back. Hope everything is ok.

What you have shared reminded me of something happened years ago. While I was in the IC, a friend of mine and I planned to start a website to share the gospel and while we were thinking about writing different articles and such, My friend told not to disclose our names on the internet. He even told me couple of incidents where some Muslim terrorists attacked some Christian evangelists by finding them by address on the internet. Though he sounded scared and all, it didn't really bother me. Years later when I started the blog, I used my full name. It may be that, I don't know all the implications of using full name on the internet. But I think if we want to connect to people we should be using our real name (I am still not sure about the last name though. Recently I took it out from my blogger profile because I thought it was kind a lengthy name and people find it hard to pronounce). Anyways, its interesting to see different perspectives. It is a public forum and I am still not sure to what extend we should 'reveal' ourselves. My thinking is whatever makes sense and relevant.

I remember Joel sharing some of his struggles such as panic attacks. I too was kind of a timid guy and when he shared it, the first thing I thought was there are others in the world who go through similar struggles like me. It was such stories what really hooked me with his blog. I do appreciate his teachings as well but when we are able to relate to others on a personal level, I bet there is a lot more to absorb from what they share.

Aida said...

Hi Bino,

I'm fine. Just super busy. Friday after I got home from work, we went out of town to help with my son's little boy so I've been doing grandbabies these last two week-ends. We just got home about an hour ago and I'll be mostly home this week so things should be easier. I HOPE!!!

I appreciate what you said. I'm starting to believe blogging is like any other relationship. We start opening up a little at a time as we get comfortable with people. Also, there are things I wouldn't share openly online just like there are things I wouldn't share with everyone locally. Those are things I share only with a few close friends either through face to face interaction or through email.