Another Way To Express MetaCatholic's Trickle Down Note
One of the newer blogs in the biblioblogosphere is MetaCatholic, which I’m sure a lot of you know by now (that is, those that try to keep up with it...). He posted an entry called "Blogs and trickle-down knowledge" which is quite good. If you haven’t read it, do so, and read on.
That the trickle exists, and is slow, is both correct and sad. And it exists in probably most that goes on in the sphere of church thinking (if we want to go really broadly), unless the subject is one of those annoying, fad-ish ones that don’t generally have any substance. You mention specifically historical knowledge, though you could really lump a lot more into the category of that which doesn’t trickle quickly. Advances in Greek syntax trickle very slowly. Theology trickles pretty slowly as well, though not as much. I think that the one that I find most annoying is the same one you point out: historical knowledge. For another example, the "New Perspective on Paul" has been all the rage in Pauline studies for a while now, and practically no-one outside of academia has heard of it. I think that is unfortunate.
Blogs will help alleviate this. I agree. This blog thing seems to be taking off :)
In general, I’ve come to a conclusion that I think is a very good conclusion to come to. I’ve decided, when I teach sunday school, teach Bible studies, blog, etc., to not treat people like their idiots and can’t handle real data. There have been times when I’ve been afraid of data overload or creating significant offense, and sometimes that can be a problem (though I used to be way too reticent). But, as a general rule, I assume that those listening are not complete idiots and that I don’t have to completely dumb down real issues for them to understand them. If we do that, as many of the blogs do, we’ll be doing a world of good.