Tag Archives: blogging

Reading Blogs: The Lout with Six Bottles of Champagne

For whatever reason, I sometimes have to visit with people about blogging. These usually end up being one of two conversations. In the first, I have to justify why I waste time on such an enterprise in the first place. Or, occasionally, explain what blogging is and then justify why I do it. (Incidentally, this is probably because my short definition of a blog is “A place online where anyone can spout off about their opinions as if they were important and then other people play along and argue with their opions like they were important too.”)

The other conversation is the opposite. It’s usually something like “Wow, that’s really impressive. Have you read blog X? I think it’s the best thing ever.” I proceed to visit blog X, only to discover that the newest post is either “Obama, Hitler and Soylent Green: The Truth About Health Care Reform” or “FOX News and Cheney Use Hypnotism, Mind Control to Further Right-Wing Agenda.” Or occasionally, in Christian circles, “Bob Read Bill’s Book, Bill Once Favorably Quoted Tim the Heretic: Burn Bob the Heretic!” I’ve been noticing lately that this latter conversation seems to be happening more and more. In particular, as people who aren’t young and jaded enough to have all their filters up read blogs, it becomes a real problem. So, as someone who is both young and (unfortunately) jaded, I thought I’d put up a blog post about reading blog posts. (Notice the enormous irony of this behavior: I’m using a blog post to tell you not to trust blog posts. You’ve taken your first step into this new, more cynical world.) Continue reading

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Seven Thoughts on Blogging About Controversy

Lord knows there are plenty of issues in the modern church today ripe for criticism, satire and correction. Sometimes they’re not only ripe, they’re even fruitful. However, this is not usually the case. From my own meditations on how to approach criticism on the blogosphere, here’s my list of seven things to consider when blogging about issues. These were originally written by me, to me, so the “you” is meant to include me before it does anyone else. I know I haven’t always kept my own advice, but if I’m going to write in this medium at all, I want to wrestle with out how to do it in a Christ-honoring way. Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Pray for the problem/issue/ministry you have a concern with before doing anything else. If this isn’t your primary response, I can almost guarantee the criticism you’re about to level is just self-congratulation in disguise.

2. Quit trying to prove that everyone you disagree with is a false teacher. The only reason you work so hard to make them sound apostate is that otherwise you’d be accused of being divisive. This is because you are.

3. Make sure you realize that when you criticize the “modern American church”, everyone in the world except you considers you to be part of it. This is because you are.

4. If there is a specific ministry/individual you want to lambast by name, you probably shouldn’t. If you decide to anyway, you ought to e-mail them first in order to try to set up a time for an interview with someone from the organization, at which you can present your concerns to them. If they don’t have time to meet with you, it’s probably because they’re out ministering to people while you’re trying to set up an interview so that you can lambast them on your blog. If your priorities still seem in line with the gospel after all this, then you definitely shouldn’t post the criticism. Otherwise, go ahead.

5. Satire is fantastic, but only if you appreciate being satirized. If you consider beating people over the head with a stick to be an expression of love, you better say “thank you” when someone takes the cudgel to your own skull.

6. If you quote more Scripture on your blog trying to prove people wrong than you do praising God and encouraging people to love him, you might be abusing the Bible. This is kind of a big deal, and is probably grounds for someone to write a nasty blog post about you. Why don’t you beat them to it.

7. The church’s sin is your sin. Evangelicalism’s failings are your failings. “People who don’t understand the gospel” is another way of saying “you and everybody else.” Grace means that Jesus saves, loves and uses people who are doctrinally wrong, sin-sick and prone to wander. Like you. Especially you. Amen.

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