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So I’ve been away for a bit, and for that I apologize; some things in life really are more important than blogging! And it didn’t help that I had absolutely nothing to blog about…or should I say I wasn’t particularly inspired to write about anything of significance. But this stuff here is certainly blogworthy — the Gospel and Culture Project of Westminster Theological Seminary is now hosting TalkHouse, a venue for conversations concerning a variety of issues relevant to, you guessed it: the gospel and culture. Recently I had the privilege of attending a conversation on how blogging is affecting church community, how we can be responsible and effective bloggers, and how we can be missional with our blogial endeavors. Check it out at the link provided above.

At the risk of encriminating myself do I write this current post. It is an issue that has occupied the recesses of my mind for months, making it’s way to conscious thought only sporadically. But now I find little else demanding my cognitive energy, so I’ll take that as my cue to discuss the issue of responsiblogity. I should say from the outset, that I am referring quite exclusively to those debates of potentially caustic nature that exist in our theological bubbles.

It occurred to me when I was writing my very first post in the blogosphere last year that a certain pretension was accompanying my words. There was a powerful element to it, and it was sweet. Perhaps it’s because I’m the youngest in my family and always feel my words are never quite taken seriously, perhaps it’s because of simply arrogance and pride; whatever the reason, it made me feel important to know that other people, random people would be reading what I had to say. And when I received recognition from other bloggers, my gosh there’s something seductive about that wine. Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t link to blogs we find interesting, informative, perplexing, etc. But I am confessing this, and likewise charging others to look into themselves concerning what and how they blog.

The experience gave me a sense of authority that I did not deserve. People, most of us are not professionals in our fields, so why do we get recognition as such? Most of us are not professionals, so why do we speak as if we are? There needs to be a humility accompanying our words concerning issues of delicate manner that naturally occur only when speaking face to face with our opponents. Let us remember, blogging is BY FAR THE WORST MEDIUM POSSIBLE for debate. THE ABSOLUTE WORST! We are more apt to write things to nameless, faceless entities that we would not (and should not) otherwise write out of mere respect for our peers and elders.

Again, I am not advocating that we avoid the touchy issues, but rather that we engage in what I’ve termed “responsiblogity”. While the word doesn’t actually exist, I don’t think I really need to go too far into defining it. But some simple guidelines may suffice concerning our theological debates:

  1. Pray before you write.
  2. Pretend the person (your opponent) is sitting right next to you.
  3. Don’t say anything that would prevent you from later being able to say, “I love you brother (or sister) and may God bless you and our discussion.”
  4. Remember the possibility that when we get to heaven, there’s a great possibility that ALL of us will say, “Oh, crap! I was way off!”
  5. Consider others better than yourself (sound familiar?).
  6. If your intent isn’t for the edification of the kingdom, it isn’t worth writing.
  7. Guess what: most of this stuff only enters the conscious thought of about .000001% of the world’s population.
  8. Ask yourself, “Is this issue worth dividing between me and a brother (or sister)?” Your answer to that question better be “No.” the majority of the time. Write with that in mind.
  9. Write what you want, show it to someone who you trust to deal honestly with you and discuss it, sleep on it, then re-write it.
  10. Be slow to speak, slow to anger; be quick to love and serve.

Now surely there are others, much of which can be categorized under “common sense”, but others perhaps not so much. I guess what I’m trying to say is we must constantly seek to keep peace if at all possible amongst ourselves and make sure our love for each other shines through even more in the midst of our disagreements, lest the world look at us and say, “They’re just like us.”