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'God bloggers' gather at Calif. conference


Some predict role in reforming modern church




LA MIRADA, Calif. --


What would Jesus blog? That and other pressing

questions drew 135 Christians to Southern California this weekend for

a national conference billed as the first-ever for "God bloggers," a

growing community of online writers who exchange information and

analyze current events from a Christian perspective.


The three-day conference at Biola University marked an important

benchmark for Christian bloggers, who have worked behind the scenes

for years to spread the Gospel and infuse politics with religion.


Topics included God bloggers' relationship with the traditional

church, their growing influence on mainstream politics and how to

manage outsiders' perceptions.


Some predicted bloggers could play a role in reforming the modern

church by keeping televangelists and other high-profile Christian

leaders honest.


Joe Carter, author of evangelicaloutpost.com., compared blogging to

the 95 Theses posted by Martin Luther nearly 500 years ago that

launched the Protestant Reformation.


"It's like putting 95 blogs out there," said Carter, who previously

said God bloggers offer an "uncensored and unadulterated" view of

contemporary Christian thought on politics and organized religion.


Many bloggers are now writing about religious oppression, poverty and

world hunger, instead of hot-button issues such as abortion,

homosexuality and assisted suicide, said the Rev. Andrew Jackson, a

seminary professor and pastor at the Word of Grace Church in Mesa, Ariz.


"With blogging you tend to break out of those circles and you see

other points of view," Carter said. "There's a bigger world out there

than gay marriage and abortion."


At one well-attended workshop -- "When Non-Christians Read Your Blog"

-- Biola University professor Timothy Muehlhoff gave instructions on

writing about faith without alienating nonbelievers.


He stressed that God blogging has the potential to be a "train wreck"

because done wrong it can reinforce stereotypes of evangelical

Christians as angry and close-minded "pit bulls of the culture wars."


"As Christians today we are embroiled in the argument culture and we

have forgotten this one thing: 'Blessed are the peacemakers.'," he

said. "Wouldn't it be nice if we could say we brought a level of

civility back to the conversation?"


Jackson, who blogs at smartchristian.com, said he wasn't as sure what

long-term influence blogging would have on evangelical Christians --

but he knew it would be important.


"We are just at the beginning of what is going on," he said. "We need

to start thinking about how we can harness and focus the Christian

blogosphere for greater impact."




On the Net:


GodBlogCon 2005: <http://www.godblogcon.com>http://www.godblogcon.com


Biola University: <http://www.biola.edu>http://www.biola.edu

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Saw this just now. I wonder when freethinker bloggers will make the news?

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