Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Monetizing Your Jesus

Given that my blogging is more personal journaling than it is a public resource, I rarely even notice the repeated nudgings from Google, which suggest I consider "monetizing" my blog. That means google ads, targeted specifically to the interests of the dozen or so human beings who stop by here on a daily basis. There are two reasons I just don't want to do this.

First, the practical. I just don't have enough traffic to justify it. My technorati rating is functionally nonexistent. If I "monetized" my blogging, I'd be surprised if it generated enough income in a year to get me a cup of coffee. Seven Eleven coffee.

Second, I just don't want to go that route. I do not blog because I expect it to be an income stream. I blog because I want to blog. I enjoy the occasional dialogue it generates, and writing helps me frame my thoughts. Pastors are supposed to journal, and supposed to make their thinking and meditation public. That's the point of writing and preaching, after all. If you're serving a community as a pastor, my strong feeling is that you're already kinda sorta committing yourself to doing this...and getting paid to do it, too.

There are those that do run ads, of course, and I don't begrudge them their income. Going ad-based certainly does provide a significantly higher level of motivation. But at some level, I just can't quite accept putting advertising anywhere near writing that frequently takes the form and function of articulating or proclaiming the Word. It feels a bit like interspersing ads in the different slides in your sermon Powerpoint, or dropping a few egregious product placements in your worship service.

"And when the meal was finished, Jesus took the Glen Ellen Cabernet Sauvignon, and poured it out in their presence, saying 'This is my body, which is inexpensive and surprisingly rich and full flavored.'"

If I'm talking about God, I'd really rather not go there. Advertising inherently desacralizes (ooh, a new word) both physical space and human discourse. Nothing wrong with it in the secular world, but I chafe at it's presence in conversations about our Creator.

That, I guess, is the challenge of blogging with your pastor hat on.