Friday, June 08, 2007

Quoting on a Spirit-Filled Blog

A few days ago I shared some thoughts entitled, "The Ethics of Spirit-Filled Blogging" but I realised that I didn't say much about quoting. Quoting is almost a given in Christian blogging I think. Abraham Piper wrote an extremely helpful post recently called "Tips for Better Blogging" which I read with great interest and he made this point;

"With discretion, link to anything that will support your content. It's good when a link itself gives some idea what you will find at the other end. So, as a rule, it’s most user-friendly to connect links to meaningful words rather than words like “this” or “here.”

I realise that doesn't directly refer to quoting but I think I will be forgiven for seeing the two as closely linked. What interested me however was that phrase, "With discretion". I have come across a blog or two where the entirety of their posts consist of something like this; "This is a great post ...". They then go on to reproduce the entire body of the text of the original blog that they read from. I can't quite understand that and it puts me off that blog. If I want to read the said "great post" then I will follow the link they should have provided and read it for myself on the original blog. What I am interested in is exactly why that person thinks it's such a great post and whether there is anything that person disagrees with and again why.

To me, all that a blog full of quotes shows is that the blogger reads a lot. That's a good thing. But it doesn't show me whether he digests what he reads a lot. That's a bad thing.

I was in a church once where the pastor was in the habit of re-preaching sermons he had heard his heroes preach. And when I say "re-preach" I mean the lot. Even the illustrations and jokes were reproduced. Afterwards I heard a lady go up to him and ask him if she could get the tape of the original sermon. He wasn't particularly pleased but I saw her point. If I was to re-preach an Ern Baxter sermon (and I have done it once at our Full Faith church to my shame. Mark and Steph were very gracious!) it wouldn't be very good. Why? Because I am not Ern Baxter and I don't have the anointing that he had to preach a sermon like he did. The Bible says, "To each has been given". Doesn't that mean we've all got unique giftings and while we can draw on our heroes like Terry Virgo or Ern Baxter or John Piper or Gordon Fee we don't try and "be" them and certainly don't jam our blogs full of them and purely them.

I love the way that C H Spurgeon used to describe quotes. He called them "Smooth Stones from Ancient Brooks". What he meant was that a quote can be like a carefully selected stone by David used to kill Goliath. So we choose our quotes carefully and then comment on why that quote means so much to us. Abraham Piper had a really good point which convicted me;

"After I’m done writing, I go back and pretend I have to pay $100 for every word. Seriously".

Finally I think that we don't necessarily have to always quote Reformed scholars to make our blogs good. As I mentioned recently I have been spending a lot of time reading a selection of Charismatic books from the 1970's and 80's and I don't think Bryn Jones or Gerald Coates would have dreamt of describing themselves as theologians. But their writing remains prophetic and deeply challenging. Therefore here's a few quotes that have really struck me!

"It is my conviction that recognising apostles and prophets and letting them function will yet prove the most important restoration breakthrough of our time" - Arthur Wallis - "The Radical Christian".

"The baptism in the Holy Spirit and the fullness of the Spirit are directly related to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Agreeing that we need to be filled with the Spirit will not disturb anything - but once you are filled, anything and everything but God and His Word will be disturbed. He cannot change the future without disturbing the present" - Gerald Coates - "Divided We Stand?" - Kingsway (p116).

"Worship is like a river - it flows. It is not a stagnant pool but a flowing experience. As you pour your heart into the river of praise and worship, so others are provoked to do the same until, from all together there swells a fragrant song of love to God from the hearts of His people" - Bryn Jones - "Worship - A Heart for God" - Harvestime (p48).

Why do I share those quotes?

Really because they are bothering my heart at the moment. They are deepening my hunger for an increased restoration of these things in God's church. "Letting apostles and prophets function" - what else can explain why I get so excited when I see that Terry Virgo is going to be meeting Tyrone Daniels of NCMI? "Agreeing we need to be filled will not change anything" - doesn't this sound familar to Jesse and my discussion and concern with the term "Continuationism"? And as for the worship quote ... well that's one of the things I am most looking forward to being at "Together on a Mission"! Being led by the wonderful Kate Simmonds and Simon Brading and really and truly experiencing the torrent of the river that is worship there.

So let's carry on quoting! After all C H Spurgeon was adamant - we must read. And if we read, let's quote and share what we've been reading. But as Abraham Piper said, let's do so with discretion and share our hearts. After all these are our blogs designed and written for the glory of God and the extension of His Kingdom!


jul said...

What do you make of the meeting with Tyrone Daniels? It's interesting that it made an impression on you. Aaron and I are a little tempted to move to Hong Kong, but I'm pretty sure we won't...we're still sticking with Newfrontiers. A visit is inevitable though. I'm glad the two movements are in relationship because we love Rob Rufus and pretty much everything we've heard him preach/teach. Exciting days we're living in!

Dan Bowen said...

Aww do you know - I am SO excited by it. Mainly because I live in constant fear that Terry will go down the "functional cessationist" route and get cheesed off with charismatic life - even though I know that's HIGHLY unlikely! I've just seen too many heroes go down the reformed evangelical cessationist line.

So for him to be meeting with someone as on fire and awesome as Tyrone Daniels - that's good news for me!! New Covenant Ministries International just looks an incredible sounding family of churches and are moving in the sphere of the Spirit in ways I've only dreamt of. To me it's Greg Haslam's prophecy coming true in a way - the crucible one.

Well if you and Aaron move to Hong Kong then I'm DEFINATELY coming with you!! I've been working through the sermons on their church website and each one never fails to move me to tears in some way!!

Its interesting you mention that you are sticking with Newfrontiers. I've just made contact with the pastor of an NCMI church in Birmingham!! He's very graciously agreed to meet me for lunch and get to know me - so who knows it might be good to see how NCMI do it for a short time. But like you I think my heart is Newfrontiers through and through!!

James B said...

Yes I couldn't agree more but with one caveat ...

A blog like "Underlined Bits"!!!

Interestingly I left a comment on some guys blog recently who does exactly this. He writes some good stuff but copies the comment in full. I think it's a shame. Like you said, I'd be interested to know why he thinks it's so good!

The word is "discretion".

jul said...

Dan, have you listened to the one called "The Awesome Annointing Over
The Breaking of Bread (Communion"? I'd be interested to hear what you think of that one. I really really liked it, but it's a little different. It's the first preaching I've ever heard that made me excited to take communion. I'm going to listen to it more and probably post something on it, since that's an area I've been working through.

Dan Bowen said...

No I haven't actually heard that particular message - although I noticed it in the list. I will go listen to it as soon as I get a minute because Communion's always been some thing I've never been particularly excited about. The last one of Rob's that I listened to was his one at New Year 2007. It was INCREDIBLE!! The freedom and release he was bringing into letting go of legalistic bondage.

Look forward to hearing what you have to say on the Communion message!

jul said...

ohh, I think we just listened to that one. Was there an extended ministry time at the end and did he start going on about releasing women (startine with his wife) and repenting for keeping women down? It was very powerful to me and I couldn't sleep for hours afterward. Every time I thought about it the presence of God came on me. There's more to that story but I might post it sometime.