Voice is the value-add of blogging

I was reading Tim Bednar of e-church’s paper on blogging and religion, “We Know More Than Our Pastors,” (highly recommended, btw), when I ran into this quotation. I call it out since I think it resonates with what I fumblingly tried to say yesterday. If you are looking at the PDF draft of the paper, the quote is on page 10 (emphasis and hyperlinks added):

Steve Collins explains that his blog is “not spiritual, except that everything human is.” Andrew Careaga reinforces this idea; “I try to consider most of the conscious activities as spiritual activities, even if not exactly religious.”

This passion to live incarnationally unites these bloggers. Jordon Cooper writes about his blog and describes what I mean:

Many of the sites 20,000 monthly visitors can’t seem to get their head around how a site that has so much about postmodern thought and the church can also have links to the Calgary Flames and the Saskatchewan Roughriders […] I started to get e-mail back saying, “wait a minute, it is knowing about you that gives the site some character and credibility.” […] People went on to say that without the personal stuff, the site just became a collection of links posted by someone they don’t know. My stories about my life gave it some context and something to judge it by for good or bad.

This holistic engagement between author and audience is what makes blogging unique and compelling. In this respect, these “Christian bloggers” are no different than all the other opinionated bloggers except that they intentionally bring their faith in Christ to bare [sic] on everything that interests them: hockey, Microsoft, George W. Bush, Jennifer Lopez or Strongbad.

Without the personal stuff, this site is a collection of links posted by someone they don’t know. I don’t know if anyone has articulated it this way before, but I think it points to something important that I’ve discussed before: personal voice. Specifically, personal voice isn’t just a defining characteristic of blogging, it’s the whole value proposition.