A couple weeks ago at the Gospel Coalition Conference, I was fortunate to attend the Band of Bloggers lunch and hear some high profile bloggers speak a bit about different aspects of blogging as a Christian. For some reason, I couldn’t help but think of what I might share, given such an opportunity. What follows is the result of that pondering.
To The Band of Bloggers,
One of the most exciting aspects of creating and keeping Web sites that have a large, engaged user base is seeing an immediate impact from even small changes. Our traffic and profits can rise from a well-executed interface change, but they can also plummet from a misstep. This makes it incredibly important to consider all of our design modifications very carefully, taking into account research, convention, and intuition that comes from years of training.
This phenomenon extends into the business and social spheres as well. A bad product review from a high-profile site can cause stock prices to fall (a good one can cause them to soar), and it can be argued that vicious blogger paparazzi were responsible for the downfall of Britney, and other pop stars. Relentless photographing, cataloging and commentary on a star’s every move can lead to a destroyed life.
I am reminded of one of the most difficult to swallow (personally) sections of the New Testament.
“…no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
With the same tongue we curse…
As bloggers, we can be especially guilty of this. We are very quick to criticize, judge, and state our opinion on how the latest author or speaker is “off” doctrinally or in practice. We often sensationalize their error, creating the sense that they are extremely far from orthodoxy and perhaps even heretics. In fact, we wield the word heretic in a very cavalier fashion, discouraging and wounding the reputation of people who are not only made in the likeness of God, but are coworkers in the gospel, co-heirs to salvation and glory.
My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
When words are many…
Indeed, there is much godless preaching, possibly even heresy coming from some pulpits in the American church. There is unsound doctrine being written every day (and our “Christian” bookstores are full of it.) Some bloggers, perhaps desiring to protect the flock of God, call it out at every opportunity, but, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking…” (Prov 10:19a). Lacking the benefit of context, relationship, or perhaps understanding and discernment, harsh criticism is aimed in the wrong direction from time to time.
In an abundance of counselors…
When wielding pastoral authority (which is given by God and recognized by a council of other leaders, and is not assumed based on blog readership, and for which the one who wields it will answer to God), especially in the area of pronouncements of doctrinal positions and error, community and an abundance of counsel is critical. “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Prov. 11:14).
Major industry leading blogs are already moving to a team-blogging model. I believe this is the future of blogging. A team of individuals who together are able to produce a much higher quality product than the individual.
When deciding on theological positions, church leaders submit their ideas to counsel. Bloggers would be wise to do the same when they venture outside the realm of observation or commentary into the area of pronouncing error. Submitting one’s writing to this type of counsel will go a long way in avoiding cutting down a brother who is earnestly trying to do God’s work.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”