Faceless Critics: The State of Christian Blogging

“It’s high time we developed a Christian ethic of blogging.  Bad temper is bad temper even in the apparent privacy of your own hard drive, and harsh and unjust words, when released into the wild, rampage around and do real damage.  And for the practice of saying mean and untrue things while hiding behind a pseudonym – well, if I get a letter like that it goes straight into the bin.  But the cyberspace equivalents of road rage don’t happen by accident.  People who type vicious, angry, slanderous and inaccurate accusations do so because they feel their worldview to be under attack.”

NT Wright. Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision. Pp. 27.

Obviously this quote has nothing to do with justification, but it does touch on a very important subject. Wright often puts these nice little side topics into his books that make you go, “Hmmmm…” or, in this case, “Well, I just got schooled.”

Now, in the last two years I’ve had this blog, I’d like to think I didn’t act like a jerk.  I’d like to think that my posts weren’t inflammatory (though some were certainly controversial), but I’m sure that, somewhere in my archives, there lies a statement where I said something pretty nasty about someone (maybe Glenn Beck)…but let’s not make this about me.

I’ve read a lot of not-so-nice Christian blog posts, not unlike Wright.  None of them have been about me, fortunately, but with someone as much in the public eye as Wright, they’re pretty commonplace from what he implies. While I don’t think he felt wounded, necessarily (these people sound rather childish), he does bring about a good point.  If you’re a Christian, and you’re going to blog, you probably shouldn’t act like a complete tool.  The commands Jesus gave us apply to EVERY aspect of our lives, including the Internet. It’s a common thing for people to develop internet-cajones and rage away on whatever thing remotely piqued their short, short temper, but as Christians, we can do better.  We can still talk about things that bother us, and offer up solutions and call people out on their crap, but we must do so with love, and in a way that contributes to the great conversation that is life.

However, the next part of the quote goes like this:

Yes, I have a pastoral concern for such people (And, for that matter, a pastoral concern for anyone who spends more than a few minutes a day taking part in blogsite discussions, especially when they all use code names: was it for this that the creator God made human beings?)…

Wright, NT. Ibid.

You know, it’s more than a little ironic that I’d blog about the above comment, in case you can’t notice it right in front of your face (go to a humor coach if you can’t). I like what blogging has done, in some ways.  It’s a new way to give people a voice on subjects they normally wouldn’t have the chance to talk about with more people across the world (apparently people in NEW ZEALAND have read my blog) than ever was possible before.  This SHOULD provide an opportunity for greater dialogue, greater collaboration, greater research, and in some places it has.

Obviously, this hasn’t even touched some people.

Blogging is the new way to complain, to whine about the state of the world, and to do so without human contact. Sit in your mom’s basement, watch TV, and gripe about the fact that Firefly got cancelled 10 years ago, or that The Hunger Games had non-white characters in it (NOT JOKING). None of this is exactly helpful to the human race, but since blog hosting is free at basic level, people get to do this.

So, in light of Wright’s words, here’s what I’d call the three cardinal rules of Christian blogging (or non-Christian too, just for the sake of mankind).

1) Communicate about what you want, but don’t slander others in the process. Mockery and hatred do not bring about positive change.

2) If something rocks your worldview, talk about it, but give credence to the other individual  for taking the time to think about what they’ve said.  If need be, DIALOGUE with said person and talk about their point of view without making them sound stupid.

3) Make sure what you’re doing is followed up by direct action wherever you are. Philosophy without action is mere speculation. What you say should contribute to a better world in some way.

4) Get off your butt and go meet the people you talk to!  There’s a big stigma against meeting people you talk to online (no one wants to get abducted), but I’ve had the privilege in the past of meeting online friends and we’ve had a blast.  An internet connection is NOT as good as a human connection!

Alright, enough ranting from me for now. I managed to get the flu, so I’ve been feeling pretty bad in the last day or two (hope it passes before I go back to work tonight).  See you guys Thursday!

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