VBT: Devil in the Details

Bridge blogs and global voices

I'm at Global Voices today, in a room full of fantastic smart people from around the world, talking about blogs as bridges between cultures and the possibility that blogs might be, or become, something that could connect us worldwide.

I find myself thinking about how Velveteen Rabbi is a bridge blog: not between cultures, but between faiths. I can't say with certainty who all my readers are (stats and referrers only tell me so much!) but of those of you who participate in conversations here, I know many are Jewish (of varying flavors) and many are Christian (of varying flavors), and a few of you are Buddhist and Muslim. That makes me really happy.

As I said in the article I wrote for Bitch earlier this year, I live in a small town where I can't necessarily pull together a regular salon of people psyched about theology, liturgy, or holiday practices. Here at VR, though, I can talk about the things that excite me, knowing that people will listen and often respond. And best of all, the reading-and-commenting community that's growing here comes from a range of religious (and non-religious) perspectives.

The gulf between faiths can seem tremendous. Even the gulf between Jews of different denominations can (and clearly similar rifts manifest in other faith-traditions too). To be clear, I don't want to ignore or elide these differences. But just because we're different shouldn't mean we can't converse, right?

So, three things: first, thank you all for being a part of the conversation. Secondly, if any of my readers who don't usually comment would like to pipe up and introduce yourselves, or if any of my regular commenters want to say more about who you are, I would love that. And thirdly, I'd love to do some brainstorming about ways that godblogs can serve as bridges: not in a proselytizing way, but in a spirit of genuine dialogue between people on different paths.

The Iraqi bloggers at the front of the room right now are saying things like, "Before I started blogging if I had come to America I would have felt like a stranger, but now I feel like I am home because I am among so many friends," and "Through blogging, we can spread love." Incredibly inspiring stuff. How can we in the godblog world learn from this, and how can we do our part to make connections?