The Power of the Pen, the Blogger's Keyboard, and the Way I Write

As you can see, I’ve been adding a few pictures to my sidebar in an attempt to make it look less cluttered – sorry if you noticed the mess as I moved the furniture around in here!

The pen has always been the tool of the writer. So, here is a picture of a pen in honor of the power that it has wielded for centuries. Words really do have power – Christians must believe that if they are to remain faithful to the Bible. Ours is the most book-friendly of all world religions, and it is no surprise to me that the Christian blogosphere is flourishing. Blogs are just one more way for WORDS to work their magic.

History affirms the power of words, and in particular the power of the written word, to communicate the ideas spoken by one man in order to create at times whole movements and revolutions.

But, of course, there are so many different ways of communicating or recording our words. There is a big difference between a calmly spoken word, a heated exchange, a quiet word of encouragement, a thunderous sermon, a telephone call, a book, a letter, an email, or even a blog post.

I would argue that the last of these – the blog – is as much a unique form of communication as the rest of them, although it borrows in its style from several of the older modes of exchanging words. Whilst it is an altogether new medium and its uniqueness cannot be overestimated, it does borrow from its older siblings.

Blogging can have much of the intimacy of a conversation, even more of the unlimited geographical reach of a telephone call, and at times the scholarly thought of a book. (OK – maybe not here on this blog!) A blog can sound thunderous at times, and often reads like it should really be spoken out loud. It can also draw you in and make you feel like the writer’s friend. Blogs should last forever, and will form an ever-growing repository for the world’s information. They will become ever more promising as a source of information and punchy sound bites. This is because bloggers read – and listen to – all the other forms of literature and communication. Being bloggers, they cannot just take in all these words – instead they reflect on them, and do what bloggers do best – quote the juicy bits. Bloggers also process large volumes of text and summarise, simplify, and interact with them – asking and answering questions about things even the writer had not thought of. A good example of this is the way Ed Stetzer recognised that blogger, Tim Challies, improved on his writings about worship! You have to listen to that sermon to get my point here.

There is also a slightly scary side to blogs, as anyone who has been an observer of or participant in a blog war knows. Blogs can make or break a reputation in a matter of hours.

Somehow the pen, to me, symbolizes blogging. A pen can be used for quick jottings, but once that letter is sealed in the envelope and posted, there is no going back! Google never forgets, even if you delete your blog post! So, I love the thoughts that the image of a pen evokes. Oddly, though, these days I rarely actually USE a pen! Having said that, now that I have my journaling Bible, I am using a pen (or rather a pencil) again. I am embarrassed to admit that I realized I had almost forgotten how to write! Well, OK not quite, but holding a pencil does seem quite strange as the keyboard is undoubtably my favorite weapon!

Different people have very different ways of writing. For me, I tend to write almost as I speak. There may be a long time of reflection, and even a few notes scribbled down, but every now and then the moment grabs me and the words just flow. I can spend hours looking at a blank piece of paper, or more usually a blank computer screen – then suddenly the words come tumbling out. I could almost be talking at the screen.

The best thing about a screen or a piece of paper is that, just like a congregation to whom I am preaching, and quite unlike an individual to whom I am speaking, it doesn’t answer back- at least not until I’m finished anyway! I find that I think whilst talking or writing, and the person who benefits most from this blog is me – ideas flow, preconceptions get challenged, and at times revelation from God’s Word comes to me.

You guys get to watch along with me and be swept along with me as the pressure for WORDS to flow builds up, and then they come tumbling out at a quicker and quicker rate, and then as the moment begins to leave me, the drive to hit PUBLISH becomes quite literally overwhelming. If you are quick, you may even get to see the mess I leave behind me for the ever trustworthy Annette to come and clear up!

I guess I will always leave other people to carefully polish their own words. Mine – even after Annette has finished with them – will always have a rough feel to them. They will often seem almost as if I have said them aloud.

In some ways, that’s how I believe a blog should be – somewhere between the truly written form and the oral form of words. I may not have the incomplete sentences and the mid-sentence corrections of the spoken word, but at times I might just as well have them! So, unlike the polished finished form of a book where an error and a retraction are extremely costly, I hope you will indulge me a little here with the odd blemish, and even (dare I say it?) the occasional error! If I do make a mistake, and it is pointed out, then I will, of course, endeavour to correct it. But remember, I was only blogging!

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