Our New Blog
W. Robert Godfrey
Many viewers of Ken Burns’ series on the Civil War, broadcast on PBS, were very affected by readings from various letters written by soldiers from the battlefield to family members at home. The letters were amazingly literate, eloquent, and full of allusions to Scripture and history. And many of those viewers commented on the serious decline of letter-writing in our time (as well as a serious decline of the kind of culture and education that led to such literacy). Clearly the invention of the telephone has tended to be the death-knell of letter-writing.
Such reflections are only one example of the ways in which changes in technology significantly change a culture. Technology in recent years has greatly increased the speed of communication and in the process changed the nature of communication. For example the television and the internet are now a serious threat to the survival of printed newspapers. These papers that once brought the news with amazing speed – daily! – now seem sadly slow in a world that can bring us news in minutes rather than days. These changes have themselves accumulated in recent years with amazing speed.
This summer I was reading Hilary Mantel’s splendid novel, Wolf Hall, about Thomas Cromwell and Tudor England in the sixteenth century. Cromwell complains about the speed with which news traveled in Europe: “He feels a moment of jealousy toward the dead, to those who served kings in slower times than these; nowadays the products of some bought or poisoned brain can be disseminated through Europe in a month.” We smile today at the thought that a month is speedy, yet early in the twentieth century H.L. Mencken as a newspaper editor sometimes still had to wait two weeks for news from Asia. (In his impatience he occasionally made up the news to scoop his competitors). Today we feel impatient at the few seconds of delay in a television satellite interview from one side of the world to another.
Blogs are part of that new speed of communication. They are here to stay, at least until some new technology comes along that is even faster. Blogs exist as a form of communication somewhere between a telephone call and a magazine article. They are more personal and immediate than a magazine but more general and informative than a telephone call. Their strength and weakness is the same: they are usually the expression of a quick response to a recent event. They can be very timely; they can also be insufficiently reflective and analytical.
Recognizing the benefits and dangers of blogging the faculty of Westminster Seminary California begins this blog with the intention and hope that it will be a help to the Christian community. We plan to comment on what is going on in the world around us in a form that can be briefer and quicker, than if we tried to publish our thoughts. We run the risk of running off at the mouth, but we will try to be fair and responsible. When you tell us we are wrong, we will do our best to set things right (if you are right!).
We hope to comment on big issues and little ones. We hope to encourage better understanding of the Bible and theological issues. From time to time we may be controversial as we engage with cultural and theological ideas and happenings. Our aim will always be to be stimulating and helpful.