Yesterday, I took my blogging life into my hands and dared to disagree with Hugh Hewitt's contention that blogging is a new reformation. This was spurred on by Tim Challies review of Hugh's book. A couple of good comments have come in that I thought were worth following up on. In a comment here, Jeff Clinton from the Dawn Treader says:
That said, however, there is a special kind of shift taking place in the spreading of an idea. Blogging changes the rules about how an idea gets spread ... and the speed with which an idea gets spread ... and the reach of an idea. Blogging has made using the web to spread ideas incredibly easy. Most do not realize just how easy it is ... and that it is free.
Having just read the book "Tipping Point", the rise of blogging could be the environmental context needed to spread idea "epidemics" at mind blazing speeds.
And, Blogotional agrees and disagrees with me:
When it comes to the church, David is dead nuts on. Blogging cannot and will not produce a reformation -- that will require some new and appealing idea. I for one am not hoping for nor desire a reformation in the church, most of what I see developing in the church that is "new" is the kind of stuff the the reformation of the 16th century came about to combat.
However, on a purely political level, Hugh's analogy is not so unsound. the 16th century reformation changed politics forever, both in governments and in the ecclesiastical circles. The political potency of Rome prior to the reformation cannot be understated. Every king and potentate in the western world drew their authority from Rome. The reformation changed all that.
I have yet to meet the perfect analogy. When pushed they all break down. Hugh's is no exception, but that does not invaildate its usefulness. In this case Hugh is right and David is right. Both of them should keep writing, and I am going to keep reading.
I'll split a hair with Blogotional and point out that it was the ideas of the reformation that changed th ecclesiastical and political landscape, not the printing press. Again, the printing press was just a vehicle for spreading ideas. But he is right that the advent of the printing press signalled something momentous.
I like Blogotional's last comment. In my own review of Blog I was much more positive than Tim and I share Hugh's enthusiasm for blogging. I am griping here about analogies and metaphors and Blogotional points out that there is no perfect analogy.
Having said that, I think any reformation that comes in the future will be of an ideological character, be it theological, political or something else. But, taking Jeff's and Blogotional's comments into account I do agree that blogging is symptomatic of a huge shift in the way ideas are spread. And I do think that is what Hugh was getting at and I agree.
My only concern is that we keep our mental energies focused in the right direction and not get so infatuated with a technology that we are diverted from focusing on the big ideas.