Friday, December 11, 2009

Collaborative Blogging (For Regent alums)

These days, I have been thinking about the Cs of life. Community, Cooperation, Common, Collaboration. The word 'community' is a really big part of the Regent ethos. Regent people will be familiar with this, especially when President Rod Wilson calls it as the C word. Each year, the Regent faculty will talk about community. In fact the award winning course in Regent-College is the "Christian Thought and Culture" led by Professor Iain Provan and faculty members across the entire college. It still ranks as one of my favourite classes to attend.

Building Community - Regent style
We have 'community groups' that meet at least once every week. Mind you, to meet together once is already a challenge for those of us who live far away from the expensive city of Vancouver. Soup days on Tuesdays are also geared to support this community ethos. The Well Cafe, which incidentally is celebrating its 12th Anniversary today and tomorrow has helped facilitate a nice community environment both at its Dunbar branch as well as its Regent-College stall. I learned that for today and tomorrow, drip coffee is free, and lattes/cappucinos are priced at a loonie. If you are around Dunbar in Vancouver, go for it!

Building Community - Collaborative Blogging
This brings me to my main point. What happens after graduation? I have heard many fellow graduates feeling out-of-place when they return to their respective countries, churches or colonies. Oh no, I just used another 3 C words. A common (another C) lament is that Regent alums find it difficult to network with people who share the Regent ethos. The Regent experience cannot be easily created outside Regent. I was thinking, what about collaborative blogging? What if Regent alums can band together to blog regularly on common concerns surrounding the culture? Stuff like how technology is affecting family, relationships etc. Stuff like how we tackle the mental divide between lay & clergy; Sacred & Secular; Work & Ministry; Independence/Interdependent. The word 'Interdependent' has been much on my mind these days.

After writing my latest Sabbathwalk reflection this week, I cannot help thinking that the key to running the long marathon is through an 'interdependent' format. Like what they used to say in leadership circles,
"If you want to run a short distance, do it alone. If you want to run a marathon, do it TOGETHER."

Here is my humble suggestion. To all Regent alums, let's start what I call 'collaborative blogging.'
  • To create a platform for extending the 'Regent ethos' for alums;
  • To contribute insightful articles that is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-perspectival, multi-nationality.
  • It will be different from social networking tools like Facebook, because it does not merely report news updates, but gives a critical analysis of happenings around. (For example, Rosie Perera's 'FaithandTechnology blog' is an example of engagement)
  • This collaborative blogging platform can also be a launchpad for Regent alums who blog. A bloglist can be established.  
  • Each week, a blogger can give his/her perspective not only as a Regent alum, but also as one who understands the Regent ethos.
  • The purpose of 'collaborative' blogging is not to enforce any one particular view, but to appreciate the multiple perspectives from different countries, different ethnicities and different denominational persuasions.
  • It will be something more than what Facebook/Twitter/mySpace can offer. It will be something more substantial, adhere to a common template, and invites reflections about cultural issues and worldwide matters. The views remain the responsibility of the contributors. Collaborative blogging allows a platform for Regent alums to contribute.
  • It can even be a forum for Regent alums to pose questions of queries and any of the collaborative blogging members can answer or give their opinions.
  • Book reviews can also be requested.

Let me give another example. Let's take the homosexuality debate (hot potato!). Can we create a platform to give a Regent view that is in line with our ethos? Where do Asians and Americans differ in their interpretations? This debate has split nearly every single Christian entity worldwide. I'm not asking for all to agree. My main purpose is to create a platform for a fair perspective to UNDERSTAND all. Another example would be what do we think of Rick Warren's delayed declaration of the homosexuality law in Uganda?

Kenneth Thomas is well known on his work on conflict management. In his Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode instrument, he offers us 5 conflict-handling models using a 2x2 matrix.

1) Avoiding (one is unassertive and uncooperative)
2) Accomodating (one is unassertive and cooperative)
3) Competing (one is assertive and uncooperative)
4) Compromising(one is part assertive and part cooperative)
5) Collaborating (one is assertive and cooperative)

(Credit: "All Things Conflict Management" web site)

Collaborative blogging aims toward allowing people to be both assertive as well as cooperative. I know that there are many different groups already going on right now. Yet, I cannot help feel that there are many others who are not involved in anyway, and would like to be involved in a platform for alums.

Let me know your thoughts. I am open to suggestions.



Jackie Bolen said...

Interesting idea. I like Regent. I like blogging. I'd be happy to join in.

YAPdates said...

That's great. In the meantime, can you help suggest some names for the blog. You can email me.

Rosie Perera said...

Hi Conrade, there's a list of Regent alumni bloggers on the Regent website:

I used to be included in a previous incarnation of that list with my photography blog, but I seem to have dropped off the list. Perhaps it didn't qualify as "thoughtful" enough, or was too personal. Whoever is maintaining the list (Sharon?) doesn't know about my Faith & Technology blog. Maybe you could nominate it... ;-)

YAPdates said...

I know about the Regent directory. "collaborative blogging" is more than that. A Blogroll will be a subset within this initiative. It'll be great to start a Collaborative Blogging with a few and invite others in as we go along.

I am not sure what criteria the Regent website uses, but I can certainly nominate.

Thanks for your comment.

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