I've been hanging around the JBlog world for a couple of years now. Sometimes I find it very depressing, and need to hang out with my real world community to convince myself observant people who think and believe like me actually exist. Charlie Hall is always very helpful in this regard, as are a number of non-bloggers in my own community.
Here's one view of normative Judaism I get from J-Blogs:
There exist between 10 and 200 Jews on Earth who have full free will to make moral decisions. These are the Gedolim and poskim of our generation. They are the ones who when presented with new types of problems that Jews have not been faced with before actually make the decision for what the proper halachic response is. This responsibility humbles them, but the rest of us need not worry because the game is fixed - they get divine assistance so that the decision they make is the correct one. It is a matter of dispute whether they come to the correct answer, or whether they answer they come to becomes the correct one.
All other Jews exist to create the problems these great people solve, and to face their own lesser test - they can do as the gedolim bid, or they can sin.
Lakewood Yid, Ed, Gil, and others - is this summation correct according to your perspective?