The bloggernacle, the world of LDS blogging, became just a little smaller for me yesterday.
I had lunch with jmb275, a perma at Wheat & Tares. It was nice to put a name and face with a blogger id. Thanks to jmb for the suggestion we meet.
It happened that I mentioned Ann Arbor, Michigan in a comment on a post at W&T a while ago, and jmb asked if I lived there. Turns out I live east of Ann Arbor and he is just west. We met for lunch at a sandwich place and learned a little bit about one another. I learned, for instance, that although I complained about the cold weather on my mission in Germany, I had nothing on jmb who served his mission in Russia (yikes). And I learned a bit more about Wheat & Tares.
Of course the blogging community is huge, and even the LDS blogging community is unwieldy for me. I’ve identified a few blogs (some listed on the blog roll to the right of and below this post -- scroll down past the archive if you're dying to see it) that I like. Some are subject- or point of view-specific, authored by one person, like Keepapitchinin or Middle-aged Mormon Man.
Others are “group” blogs that feature multiple authors and many themes and ideas. Wheat & Tares is one of those. It has a fairly diverse group of regular bloggers who are linked by their connection to the LDS community. Some would be change agents in the church; some seem to like to stir up discussion; some blog from specific personal experience.
Frankly, I’m not wild about every voice at W&T or at the other group blogs I follow, but I like the fact that there are a variety of voices from which I can choose. Even the voices I don’t agree with provide me a different point of view, and perhaps a window into how others in my faith community may feel. Understanding those divergent points of view, I believe, puts me in a better position to mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort.
And sometimes they move me to think differently than I have before.
jmb mentioned to me that he didn’t blog for others but more for himself. I suspect a lot of us blog for therapy to some extent. I believe there are others who blog in order to convince others of a point of view (otherwise, how could there be all those political debates?), but my observation is that most of us are not swayed by an opposing argument no matter how well reasoned. Instead we tend to look for self-confirming evidence of opinions we bring with us. I’m no different, I suppose.
What does move me, however, particularly when I read a point of view I had not considered, is when that new point of view acknowledges what I may already know and feel, and adds a new dimension to my experience. Often (usually) it is not an admonition that I must change my thinking (I don’t want to be told how to think any more than the next guy), but an account of someone else’s faith journey that differs from my own can be compelling and deserves my respect.
Anyway, it was great to meet jmb. At least for a while, I’ll likely read his posts and comments a little differently since he is no longer completely anonymous to me.