Several people have written lately with some mixed feelings about Quaker blogging: why do we do it; is there really any value in it; because of its dependency on high technology, and because high technology can have negative environmental impacts, is it even ethical to indulge in this; etc.?
As I've buried myself in the writings of early Friends, I am astounded at what prolific writers they were. They wrote letters and tracts. They took great pains to respond to the criticisms the movement was receiving. Their writings were sometimes fiery and passionate; other times very carefully worded and argued.
Quaker blogging seems to me the contemporary version of tract writing. Yes, it uses a different medium, and a medium not accessible to everyone. But the writing of the early Quakers also had limited circulation and was not accessible to everyone. The point for them and to us is to reach who we can. I doubt that any of us bloggers only blogs. I suspect that we also talk to friends and colleagues, minister in Meeting, travel amongst Friends, and present writing through other media as well. Some also teach, give lectures, lead workshops. In all of this, we who blog share not only ideas we have developed in our own blog writing, but ideas we've read in others' blogs too. And so in all of this, we are very much following on in the spirit of the early Friends.
The questions about the ethics of high technology (its human as well as its environmental cost) are a matter of concern. But such questions are not just about computers, but about transportation, housing, the production and distribution of the food we eat and the clothes we wear, the nature of our jobs and the value of what we actually "produce" in our work, etc. We live in a complexly interdependent world. John Woolman would be racked with agony today, because it is unavoidable to rely to some extent on the products of war and environmental damage.
I console myself with the belief that it doesn't have to be this way. I can imagine a creative, thriving world that creates such possibilities without war or environmental damage. Just because this broken world has mixed seeds of pain into every human endeavor does not mean we should -- or even can -- reject it all. The loving and redemptive response is to keep looking for what yet is good, and keep drawing that forth, and keep trying to weave those shining threads into new tapestries of hope and joy and love.
6 years ago