Blogger interview: Buster Morgan
This is the first in a series of posts in which I interview Christians who use blogging as a platform for ministry.
Buster Morgan is a contributor at Lugum, a website that discusses web design, church doctrine and other topics engineered to enhance their search engine ranking. There are frequent attempts at humor. Buster’s responses are presented as I received them, with only minor grammatical edits.
Explain briefly, please, who you are and what you do.
I’m a follower of Jesus. I like trying to figure out how things work, and how to make them work better. I fund my projects by working as an IT project manager and business modeling consultant.
What got you into the ministry?
I’m not a paid minister, and I don’t think that many ministry positions need to be paid in today’s world. I’ve had fun serving the poor and homeless in the past, and am a vocal advocate of home churches.
And, what got you into blogging?
I enjoy writing, and have had some outlet for my nonsense on web since the mid 90’s. The blog format is better than just putting some document out on the Web, because it is faster and permits reader feedback. I’ve always enjoyed having an audience. I remember writing articles and cartoons for my friends when I was in elementary school. I was the editor of my high school newspaper, and the Internet seemed like a natural, and cheap, way to get my message out.
What does blogging do for you?
Blogging gives me the false sense that people appreciate my work, and that I’m influencing them. The interaction with people has challenged me and made me a better writer and a better person.
Why blogging, as opposed to one of the older methods of getting your views out to a mass audience – radio, TV, magazines, books?
Other media require a much larger time investment, and the payoff can take many, many years, if it ever comes. With the Internet, you have the potential audience of about half the world, and it can happen overnight. The cost is practically nothing.
How has blogging been beneficial to you and your calling/ministry?
There’s a lot of crossover. Things that I’ve learned or refined online I’m able to carry to other live audiences. It lets me try out ideas in a safer environment than in front of people who might walk out or throw things at me. I’ve also been able to carry real life experiences to friends online, so that things that happen can have a broader impact. When one experiences the love of God in action, or sees the movement of the Spirit, these things need to published.
What have been some of the drawbacks?
The time factor, for one. I have a tendency to over commit, and I don’t have time to write as much as I’d like. I’ll get depressed if I’m not getting enough positive feedback, and I worry about how some of my positions, statements or humor will offend my friends, A lot of my viewpoints are well outside of the mainstream, so there’s certain to be something to offend any of my friends. In person, it’s just easier to avoid certain topics, or to approach them more subtly for the sake of the friendship. But with a blog, it’s just out there for anyone to read. I guess my hope is that they’ll become desensitized to me over time, so that the offending material doesn’t bother them so much any more. Or just that I won’t make anyone so mad that they’ll want to kill me in real life.
What are your impressions of how the church at large has engaged the Internet over the past decade?
The same way they’ve engaged any other new technology in the last 100 years: slowly, awkwardly, and ineffectively. I think most believers are clueless about what’s available for them on the Internet, and they have no vision for using it as a tool to enhance their relationship with God or fellow believers. Organized churches treat it either as a marketing vehicle or a gimmicky way to feed information to their congregants. Big parachurch ministries are doing better, simply because they’ve hired more expensive consultants. But it all sucks. The Internet is the greatest modern tool since the repeating rifle for empowering the individual, and Christians are just sitting watching their inboxes.
What do you make of the internet’s ability to give any number of voices a venue for expression, and a mass audience to hear those voices…no matter how solid or crazy they might be?
I think it’s great. The mass media have been deciding for us what we should read, see and hear, and spooning out bits and pieces that they think we’re able to consume. The Internet has totally blown past these dinosaurs, and they’re still trying to figure out where all the smoke is coming from. If you’ve been on any large social news/commentary sites when major news stories were breaking in the last decade, you’d see the great power for truth to crystalize out of all the noise, and for it to happen in almost real time. Crazy rumors and conspiracy theories make the rounds, but these are quickly countered, and the truth is evident for those who are not already committed to some non-truth. Days later, the major media are still spinning their wheels over some dead-end lead. I say give them all a voice, and let the reader judge for him/herself. Enough with the Walter Cronkites, Dan Rathers and Ted Turners deciding what version of the “truth” we should be hearing.
How do you see the church continuing to develop on the web over the next 10-15 years?
There will be improvements, but I doubt that we’ll ever be fully up to speed with the latest technological offerings. We’ll continue to copy innovations that are already in use by the general public. Organized churches will spend a larger portion of their budgets on the Internet, but most of that will be wasted. Big parachurch ministries will develop more clever ways to get you to send them more money. But by and large, I expect that Christians will just get better at insulating themselves from the general Internet population. They’ll stick to their own circles and web sites they feel safe at. Because of this, they won’t be clued in to new technologies as quickly, and the gap will probably widen.