29 December 2009

Why I believe in blogging

by Dan Phillips

Preface. It's always popular in some circles to disdain blogging. Certain concerned souls seem ever to be coming up with dour reports on the state of blogging and grim predictions as to its future. It isn't hard to find writers fond of tut-tutting their alarm, and of delivering grave and deep expressions of angst and woe as to the evils and pitfalls of blogging.

Ironically, they often do so in blogs. Have you noticed? At heart, I think, some folks' real concern with blogging is that commoners are doing it, and doing it so artlessly. Too many bloggers (they seem to think) use all ten fingers while typing — or, even if they use only two, do not raise their pinkies.

This comes from the Raised-Pinkie Blogging mentality (hereafter RPB).

This mentality places a high premium on being dubbed "thoughtful" and "balanced" and "deep" and "non-reactionary." Betimes, these honorifics are extended by apostates, heretics, and false (or dubious) teachers who, were they to speak so of us, would send us to our knees, asking God if we'd lost something literally crucial. Such isn't the response of the RPBer.

But, see — oops. By using those terms (the A-word, the H-word) I just disqualified myself as an RPBer. That is likely at least one reason why this blog is not popular in such coteries, why even our posts on otherwise-beloved themes seem to escape notice. It is très vulgar and déclassé and hoi-polloi to employ such labels.


Bare-knuckled blogging, both rhetorically and temperamentally, is the opposite of the RPB mindset. Perhaps we should call it "plain-speech blogging" ( cf. Proverbs 29:5; 1 Corinthians 1:17; 2 Corinthians 3:12; 4:2; 11:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:5). It is frank, open and pointed about damnable heresies, ruinous errors, and the apostates who promote them. It does not flatter perversions of the Gospel, nor the twisting of Scripture.

To some, this approach is repugnant. One can be an RPBer and be completely sound on the Gospel. But what concerns me would be apparently courting the admiration of apostates and heretics, perhaps welcoming them and shielding them from criticism and rebuke and (let's just say it) confrontational evangelism.

I am certain that Phil and Frank each could pick posts of their own that they had believed would start broad discussions — yet didn't. I could as well. This one would be my most recent pick. It is classic non-RPB material. Without nasty name-calling or insinuations, by the use of Biblically-based questions, it was relentlessly-focused, confrontive, and hard-to-wiggle-around — just the sort of thing an RPBer would abominate, while insisting on the centrality of the Gospel and the need for plain speech.

Transition: this has not been a vent. Now we can see, at the same time, both precisely why blogging is crucial and valuable, and precisely why certain individuals constantly denounce blogging and compose its obituary: because blogging provides instant, unedited access to the entire online world.

The potential. Take my smaller, more eclectic blog. Since March of this year, I have had visitors from well over 160 countries, ranging from the US and Canada to China, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Kenya, Botswana, Sudan, and places I haven't even heard of. PyroManiacs' reach is still broader.

You think Paul wouldn't have dived into something like that — or, at the very least, assigned his apprentices to exploit the opportunity to get the Word out?


Statist and other totalitarians are working even now on ways to censor and control The Intrawebs, but at present the field is still wide-open. You and I can take the Gospel, which is God's power resulting in salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16), and broadcast it to places Paul did not even know existed. With a few clickety-clacks. We can participate in the Word racing about and being glorified (2 Thessalonians 3:1). We can get a Gospel witness and a barrage of Bible-teaching where Christianity is either against the law, or severely restricted.

And nobody can stop us.

You think that isn't a golden opportunity?

The problem. Ah, but the RPBers and the others I've mentioned will point out that this makes room for abuse. Indeed and alas, so it does. Liberty occasions abuse. All open communication makes room for abuse. Wide-open means wide-open. Seasoned, savvy souls like Phil Johnson and rapier wits like Frank Turk are joined by heretics, idiots, fast-draw artists, GBAers, and countless other single-helix pre-limbic mutoids who ended up on the short end of the size-of-mouth/quality-of-brain ratio stick. Undeniably so.

The answer. So what is the answer? I think Thabiti Anyabwile responded exactly on-target when confronting a similar question during a panel discussion at T4G 2008. I wish I had his exact words and fear misquoting him, but his answer was to this effect: Thabiti believed in the openness of blogs, because they allow for self-correction. The "mainstream media" existed for decades in lofty isolation, uncorrected, unaccountable, peddling misinformation and lies mixed with truth. Blogging and alternative media opened the possibility of criticism — and blogging provides that same corrective to itself.

If I get something wrong, thousands of pairs of eyes see it, and thousands of pairs of hands (potentially) can launch into action to set the record straight.

"But they won't be seen by as many, and they aren't as inflammatory" one might object. Thus is the nature of the free market of information, and I see it as a good thing.


Let's say for the sake of argument that you think I occasionally say something of value. And who am I? Absolutely nobody. I started a blog in 2004, and had a handful of readers. Then there were a few more. Then bro Johnson thought we might combine with Frank (who I barely knew and did not understand) to make a team, and we pooled resources. Now I've got a much wider platform than I did. (Thank You, God.)

How did all that happen? God's providence, chiefly, using the means of my decades of study and dues-paying combining with X-degrees-Fahrenheit of passion and conviction, and letting loose. And here we are.

If thus with me, then potentially thus with anyone.


The sum. That's the great promise of blogging. Of course I believe in it. It has provided me with the broadest and most effective means of reaching out with the Word in thirty-plus years of striving, searching, and casting about, using tracts, pamphlets, book manuscripts, radio, and newspaper columns. I couldn't not believe in it.

And so, while others sniff that blogging is a humbug, I take the words of Scrooge's nephew Fred and say, "God bless it."

Dan Phillips's signature

57 comments:

DJP said...

BTW, if you were about to list off who you think are RPBers, please don't. That's not the aim here, and I'd probably delete such comments.

Coram Deo said...

Dan,

Thanks to you, Phil, and iTurk for being non-RPBers.

Soli Deo Gloria!

In Christ,
CD

Rachael Starke said...

Classic Dannish goodness.

And the matador graphic title is just dead on.

Sir Aaron said...

Many of us would probably write very little if it weren't for blogging. In addition to the benefits you already mentioned, you and the commentors are honing our skills, responding to arguments, formulating and organizing our thoughts, all of which have practical benefits for non-online interactions.

Penn Tomassetti said...

Amen!

Statist and other totalitarians are working even now on ways to censor and control The Intrawebs,

I don't know what you are talking about here (probably because I don't read enough news)?

Samwise said...

As a fledgling blogger, I have a great model in Team Pyro's in their quality and commitment to Truth--even if it upsets RPBers.

Remember Jesus took on the RPBers of His day (i.e., Pharisees, Herodians, Experts of the Law, and Sadducees of Matthew 22 & 24).

He upset them to the point they were plotting His death and trying to "Trap Him by what He said" (Matt 22:15).

"Jesus perceiving their malice" took them on honestly and truthfully with such gracious speech as "Why are you testing Me, hypocrites?" (Matt 22:18).

Now go and blog likewise!

Craig and Heather said...

So, what are you saying?






Actually, I think you've made an excellent point. If God has prompted you to say something, you'd better say it.

And get the message out by whatever means He's made available.

A lot of folks who would never step foot into a Church or bother to crack a Christ-centered book still surf the web. God certainly has the ability to direct them to an open blog forum and touch their heart via this medium.

Blog away, guys---just remember to keep listening for your marching orders as you do it :)

Heather

mike said...

BUT...
what if we hurt someones feelings?
or damage their psyche?
or cripple their little self esteems?

wouldn't you rather be humble than right?

theevangelicalcalvinist said...

I believe in blogging, too! In fact, given the season of life we're in right now; w/o it, I would not have even 3/4 of prayers we do right now --- that alone validates blogging and the connections made because of it.

Bobby G.

mike said...

Dan & CO.
thanks for faithfully doing what you do.
you have blessed some, challenged some, annoyed some, educated many, and entertaned those of us not smart enough to know which catagory to be in.
May our Good Lord keep and bless you and your families in this new year.

Martin Downes said...

"Bare knuckle blogging," that is one classy description.

Craig and Heather said...

wouldn't you rather be humble than right?

Ideally, both elements should be present, if I properly understand Paul's first letter to the Corinthians.

Being "right" is irrelevant if it is not tempered first by love for God. And, that requires true humility of mind and heart.

The "proof" of the existence of that love is the manifestation of Christ-like, self-sacrificing love for others. In the absence of true (as opposed to self-fashioned) humility, it is questionable whether there has been a truly God-wrought change of heart.

Heather

Frank Turk said...

Mike --

To your first comment, no.

To your second comment, without Dan this blog would have dried up years ago for lack of interest. Phil may theoretically get top billing, but Dan is our franchise player.

Paula said...

I think that in addition to RPBers there is a segment that despises the general free marketplace of ideas. That is, they would rather focus on 'doing ministry' than debating doctrine or ecclesiology. Or having their ideas questioned.

In many ways this lack of thoughtful public debate made it easy for the seeker sensitive, pragmatic, & prosperity movements to gain a foothold and take over a good segment of the American church. There was no forum to question/debate bad doctrine or methodology beyond a local level, even though there were/are movements that were/are national trends with national networks. In some ways, people were as ignorant as the Roman church in Martin Luther's time and the church followed (almost) wholesale into these movements without questioning.

Once the blogosphere exploded, it became more than '15 people at Seeker-Sensitive Central' wondering how their church went astray. It became a source of knowledge & encouragement to those who were/are desperately seeking to be faithful to scriptural principals in their churches and their families.

Can it be abused? Of course, just as there was abuse during the Reformation as man is desperately sinful and there is no cure for that condition (not suggesting that the blogosphere is another Reformation, just that there are some similarities in the dissemination of knowledge). But the overall result when people have more knowledge is always better than when they have less knowledge.

mike said...

Frank,
#1 praise God
i am almost positive that the postle Paul would be linched today for lack of tolerance

#2 hang in there, and we will organize a grass roots effort to respond twice as often next year. i don't know if we can push you past Dan, but i think Phil is reachable

mike said...

Heather,

i am clear on what you mean, i think, and mostly agree, but...

being "right" is i believe impossible with out God.
the key is humility before God, not man
just as love for God comes first

I do not believe that a Barna polling of the scribes, pharisees, and saducees would produce a positive number on the "humility or lovingkindness" of Christ,

But The Father was pleased, Bueno!

DJP said...

Frank:

Oh foo. I'd much rather read a post by Phil than one of mine. Plus, mine own blog is around a third of the traffic of Pyro, where you and Phil hang out.

So thanks, but fooey. And write more, here. You're not off the hook that easily, brother of me.

Craig and Heather said...

being "right" is i believe impossible with out God.
the key is humility before God, not man just as love for God comes first


No argument here.

I'm not talking about the kind of "humility" that resembles a glassful of sewage sludge with the chunks strained out in order to make the slop go down easier.

I do not believe that a Barna polling of the scribes, pharisees, and saducees would produce a positive number on the "humility or lovingkindness" of Christ,

The thing is, Jesus was God incarnate chewing them out for their own lack of humility before Himself (certainly manifest in the way they behaved toward others). The Jewish leaders had turned obedience to the Law into a sort of "ladder" by which they could gain personal recognition for "piety". That same Law was intended by God to remind people of the essential nature of humility before the Lord and our desperate need for His mercy.

Technically, these men were "correct" because Jesus even told His listeners The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.
Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do. But do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
Matthew 23:2-3

In other words, pay careful attention to the teaching and obey...but don't follow their life example. It appears to me that they had the words right--but they didn't penetrate to a heart level.

That passage continues, describing the heavy burden that the leaders were piling on people's backs--and when the people started to stagger and cry out "It's too heavy--I can't carry this load any more!" The Pharisees basically had turned a deaf ear and tossed on yet another brick. There was no mercy for other sinners because they didn't see themselves as needy.

This wasn't directed necessarily at the Pyromaniacs, here. My thought was turned mainly toward the concept that there is a distinct difference between Godly humility and the spineless pinky-up "tolerance" that I saw described in the post.

I'll happily back away from my perspective if you can show me from Scripture where God has offered bonus points for the cultivation of an abrasive personality ;)

Heather

Bobby Grow said...

Heather,

You're onto something.

mike said...

Heather,
won't take this to far,
but,
Jesus spent a lot of time saying "you have heard it said... but I say..." for them to have had all the teaching correct.

as well as all "woe to you... stuff"

i would hesitantly state that if we represent God incorrectly, that is the personification of pride and arrogance, not humility. no matter how softly you speak, or bow your head or say :in all respect due...".

Christ spoke authoritatively because he was representing the Father correctly, He even said over and over "i only say what the Father tells me" he wa not using His diety card.

Peter stood firm and defiant before the sanhedran in Acts, that was not a sin of arrogance.

Love the brethern, honor the king, FEAR God.

thanks and Happt New Year.

Craig and Heather said...

Bobby Grow said:
Heather,

You're onto something.



Well, of course I am.

Because I'M RIGHT!!!! And I pity the poor, blind fools who cannot see the truth. (insert triumphant sneer of derision)


Oh, wait.....

Bobby Grow said...

Heather,

Be careful, you're walking on thin ice ;-).

Craig and Heather said...

Mike,

It's okay, I'm not trying to argue with you. Really.

You have made an excellent point. If we carelessly misrepresent God (in word or deed), we ought to be expected to have to answer for that.

And actually, that is what I've been trying to say. Our words and actions need to be consistent as we interact with others.


Christ spoke authoritatively because he was representing the Father correctly, He even said over and over "i only say what the Father tells me" he wa not using His diety card.

You are spot on. As a Jewish man Jesus learned the Jewish Law, Prophets, historical accounts and books of wisdom and correctly understood and applied them with Godly wisdom and humility.

He willingly stepped off of his glorious throne in order to come down into our pigsty and make a way for us to be reconciled to our Maker.

From a conception that was surrounded with suspicion of "illegitimacy" to burial in a borrowed tomb, Jesus' entire earthly pre-resurrection existence here was the very definition of "humble".

And, with the cross in full view,He stripped down to wash the feet of His disciples--including the ones who had been debating who would be greatest in the Kingdom and the one He knew would betray Him. Interestingly, He didn't single out Judas and mistreat him and the other friends apparently were clueless.

after He had washed their feet and had taken His garments and had reclined again, He said to them, Do you know what I have done to you?
You call Me the Teacher, and Lord, and you say well, for I AM.
If then I, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
Truly, truly, I say to you, A servant is not greater than his master, neither is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.
John 13:12-16


I'm not the judge over anyone else's heart.If God is prompting a righteous anger, then fine. Otherwise I think it is wise to remember that "the wrath of man does not work out the righteousness of God."

Happy New Year to you as well.
God Bless. :)

Heather

Craig and Heather said...

Be careful, you're walking on thin ice ;-).

I do tend to have a big mouth, don't I?

No offense intended Mike. I have to remember to not take myself too seriously when trying to share my thoughts.

H

mike said...

Heather,
I thought we settled that months ago. i am so convinced that everyone loves me that if you do say something mean, I will just assume you are kidding.

but seriously just for a moment,

when humans redefine terms, love grace, humility etc, we begin a great game that ends in disaster faster than shooting our kid brother with a BB gun.

might humility mean;
not inserting my opinion or random thoughts about who and what God is and wants, but actually allowing His words to be spoken even from our mouths. I think this may even be more important than the tone or delivery.

i think of the young Mormon boys who come to my house and offer to mow the grass or help clean the garage, so soft spoken and polite, yet no words of life come from them, God gives no bonus points for earnestness in representing self-righteousness.

and of course I do not advocate rudeness or boorishness. but a lifeguard standing on a pier, sternly yelling "grab the rope" should not be disparaged for not offering another tone or temperament.

The Truth can bring life, lies no matter how beautifully packaged cannot.
May God continue to have mercy on us all.

And now I will return to my customary banality,

word verification= gessime
no comment required

Craig and Heather said...

I thought we settled that months ago. i am so convinced that everyone loves me that if you do say something mean, I will just assume you are kidding.

I remember. And, right or wrong, I do love you as a brother in Christ :)

That's why I figured it was okay to harass you a bit. But this is a public forum. I'm a guest, and not all readers would "get" it.

might humility mean;
not inserting my opinion or random thoughts about who and what God is and wants, but actually allowing His words to be spoken even from our mouths. I think this may even be more important than the tone or delivery.


It certainly might.

But it doesn't excuse the messenger if he decides to be a jerk in hopes that God will use his efforts anyway.

I don't think you were actually saying this, but I personally know of at least one Calvinist who has actually said that since God's in control of hearts, it doesn't matter how he approaches people with the instruction to repent.

And, as far as the predestination of the listener goes, that may well be true. Jesus won't lose any of His precious lambs. On the other hand, I don't see that God ever smiles on bad behavior on the part of his children and expects all of us to be continually learning from Him even as we share the truth about where lack of repentance leads.

I like the way Paul Washer speaks of repentance. I have seen a video clip of him saying that as we grow in our walk of Faith, we should also expect to grow in repentance.

I know this is true. As I become more aware of the stuff of which God has been willing to forgive me, I'm far less likely to be harsh with others' shortcomings as I deal with them. That does not mean I have relaxed my stance at all on the need to be firm about Biblical truth.

Rather, it means that I have a much better appreciation of what it actually means to be forgiven and can see how easy it is to be totally blind for years to things that are absolutely not okay--but that God wanted to properly soften my heart before knocking me senseless.

Just sharing what I've had to learn the hard way. What you do with it is between you and the Lord.

(You know I just had to comment)

Heather

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

I personally don't think you can find a better team of writers anywhere on the Internet such as Frank, Phil and Dan. All three of them have a spark of genius. Notice I said, "spark" as not to ignite their egos. LOL!

I don't always post here, but I never miss reading their posts. And I truly hope this place does not start to wind down. I see where Frank is not here as much and now Phil may be blogging less....what's up with that????

Mary

mike said...

last word:P

mike said...

Mary,
this is one of those times when it pays to be a Calvinist, no point to worrying:)

trogdor said...

"The "mainstream media" existed for decades in lofty isolation, uncorrected, unaccountable, peddling misinformation and lies mixed with truth. Blogging and alternative media opened the possibility of criticism — and blogging provides that same corrective to itself."

This recent episode looks like a much, much less important echo of what happened around the Reformation. There were many attempted reformers before Luther, but he had the printing press to allow wide dissemination of information, especially the Bible. As hard as the RCC fought to keep scripture from the people, it's no wonder people fled in droves once they could see the original source material and compare for themselves. Those in power fear nothing more than the truth being widely available.

Trevor said...

A few things...

@Mike & @Craig & Heather
It is encouraging to see encouraging comments going back and forth. I say this as the contrasting experience comes to mind I recently had with when I attempted to, well, discern some of Rob Bell's teachings and his shenanigans and then dealt with some logical fallacy-laden supporters of his. On a Facebook comment thread. Not enjoyable.

Sorry, point being, I like helpful commenters.

Secondly, TROGDORRRRR!!!!!!! BURNINATING THE COUNTRYSIDE! BURNINATING FALSE DOCTRINE!!! Wait...

Keep it up you Pyro guys. Keep blagging it up in the blagosphere you bloggernauts.

PS: Should I switch to a wordpress blog or revive my blogspot? (Formatting and ease of use considerations...)

Craig and Heather said...

Mike: last word :P

:D


Trevor:
Pleased to meet you. Always happy to be of help :)

Blogger's simpler and seems to offer more video and widget customization options.

Wordpress is "funner" and offers better site monitoring. I recently transferred my main site to WP and the only complaint I've got is that it seems some non-WP readers get questionably appropriate ad-links showing up when they visit. Trying to decide what to do about that...

Craig and Heather said...

Oh, and if you move to Wordpress and visit a lot of Blogger blogs you'll want to keep your Blogger profile.

It makes pestering these guys so much easier!

Heather

Stephen said...

The problem with mike's reference to Christ and Peter is that no one here is Christ or Peter.

Heather said, "I'll happily back away from my perspective if you can show me from Scripture where God has offered bonus points for the cultivation of an abrasive personality."

That is exactly correct.

CR said...

Anyone know what GBAers stand for?

Steve Scott said...

Dan,

This is beautiful and a good outline of why I blog. Commoners can challenge our own theological "mainstream media" consisting of pulpits, seminaries and denominations. Theology in the hands of the pepole!

John said...

Good thoughts.

I've benefitted more from my blog than anyone has--it makes me think about what I'm reading, and it makes me write. But it is a blessing to know that God might use it for someone else's benefit.

It's also good to remember that we will give account for "every idle word."

Benjamin Nitu said...

Then bro Johnson thought we might combine with Frank (who I barely knew and did not understand) to make a team, and we pooled resources.
Dan, are you saying that you understand Frank now? :)

DJP said...

That would be one possible reading.

Benjamin Nitu said...

Dan, on a more serious note, you stated: "At heart, I think, some folks' real concern with blogging is that commoners are doing it, and doing it so artlessly."
I also get the feeling that the same folks are the same folks who don't like to be questioned by commoners like us. They want their ivory tower intact.

DJP said...

I think that's true, Benjamin. Recently, a big name well-regarded by people smarter and better than I wrote that he never reads blogs because he's bored by details of others' banal personal lives and thinking. This opened a fairly long article in which, having shared a couple of detail of his personal life, he explained his thinking.

Perhaps only I found that ironic. But I did.

Craig and Heather said...

This opened a fairly long article in which, having shared a couple of detail of his personal life, he explained his thinking.

People crack me up.

We are so predictably inconsistent.

Well, at least it's one good example of why we need to be anchored to the immovable Rock Who's told us from the beginning that we need Him.

Heather

Benjamin Nitu said...

Dan,

That reminds of someone who wrote a book about humility and had a picture of himself on almost every other page.

Apostle Paul had to explain to the Corinthians that fancy words mean nothing too:
"And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

Now that's power blogging :)

DJP said...

...though, in my case, a picture on every other page would be humbling.

(c;

Kim said...

Hey. I'm a lurker who has enjoyed this post and commentary. BTW, how did you get that woman to pose on your logo?

DJP said...

Very fast exposure, Kim. (c:

(As with all the best graphics on my posts, credit goes to Phil.)

Did you get the mouse-over caption?

JK said...

Dan,

Totally off point but fitting to the blogsphere - (at least I hope it is - now breathe in...inhale...slowly exhale)

Should Al Mohler still be "The Incomparable Al Mohler?" on the link list? I mean in light of it being the end of the year and so forth? New York...New York!! Or is it "Manhattan...Manhattan!!?"

Your humble servant - :)

Craig and Heather said...

Should Al Mohler still be "The Incomparable Al Mohler?" on the link list? I mean in light of it being the end of the year and so forth? New York...New York!! Or is it "Manhattan...Manhattan!!?"

Hopefully, that was a joke. I don't even read Mohler, but why would the link title be changed because of that?

Unless, of course, "incomparable" was intended to mean "infallible" or "his most honorable worship" or some such pedestalic designation.

He can still be unique in his own right and allowed to be human, right?

Heather

CR said...

Have any of the Team Pryo bloggers ever thought about directly communicating with some of these guys and ever ask them directly what's the problem? I don't mean just one of you contacting some of these folks but all three of you.

Some of these guys are respected evangelicals and members of the Christian blog community. Why not just employ the soft direct approach and ask them directly (if you haven't already) and ask them, what gives?

YnottonY said...

One of D. A. Carson's concerns is the nastiness that occurs in the blogosphere. That is surely something to caution against. He urges people to read more books and less blogs.

People are more likely to give you the middle finger when they are driving by you in a car than they are talking face to face. This medium or context, similarly, can cause some bloggers to reduce other human beings to distant impersonal abstractions and/or propositions, fit only to be insulted, refuted, silenced, marginalized, etc. There is something about this medium of communication that lends itself to that sort of behaviour, and others, like Carson, are noticing it and cautioning against it for at least that reason.

Carson also notices the lack of depth in the blogosphere. Some people post just for the sake of posting, or to produce hundreds of comments, or to be constantly patted on the back by like-minded individuals who constantly "Amen" them. All who blog know that it is very easy to post just to keep up traffic, or to vent, rather than because we actually have something substantive or studied to say.

Some people, like Ken Myers [of Mars Hill], just stick to reading a few select blogs, and they counsel against reading the comments. There is some wisdom in that as well.

I respect what these men [and others like them] have to say, but I and also bothered by the disdain that some of them have for the blogosphere. It's just a medium, as with anything, that requires wise discrimination. Some posts I read, some I ignore, for various reasons. I read the comments of some posts, at least to scan them, and others I ignore.

What is frightening to consider is that we might all be writing on one big etch-a-sketch. It may all be erased and in vain, in the long run :-) One thing is for sure: many bloggers are not thinking in the long term. Their posts are not timeless, so they are easily forgotten in a matter of weeks. Of what value now are all the posts on the Y2K scare, The Da Vinci Code nonsense, or similar posts on insignificant current events? It's easy for bloggers to be diverted in to these areas and neglect what really matters.

I'll certainly keep blogging, commenting and reading other select blogs, but I will also pay attention to and learn from some of the worthy critics.

Craig and Heather said...

This medium or context, similarly, can cause some bloggers to reduce other human beings to distant impersonal abstractions and/or propositions, fit only to be insulted, refuted, silenced, marginalized, etc. There is something about this medium of communication that lends itself to that sort of behaviour


Relative anonymity tends to lend itself to profound rudeness.

But, it is interesting how this medium encourages folks to set down the mask of propriety and allows others to see what we are like "inside".

I've read some real doozie posts/comments and they've made me stop cold and ask "Is THAT what I sound like?"

Not only that, but the Lord has actually used some bloggeriffically unbiblical information to cause me to examine for real the nature of my "faith". It was much needed pruning that I never would have gotten in "real life" or from a book.

And, when I was gasping on the floor, saying "I don't know, I'm too stupid to figure it out!" He allowed me to contact someone who had sound answers to my questions (circumstances under which I discovered this site, BTW).

One of the lessons I learned was that "fruit" counts. And if a blogger is consistently nasty or high-handed with his tone--or abusive of visitors--it is likely his message (regardless of how true) will end up getting completely ignored as people cattily snipe at each other from behind their laptop keyboards.

Like it or not, the world is always watching. And the way we publicly interact with each other speaks volumes about whether we actually know Him of whom we so energetically speak.

Heather

YnottonY said...

Good insight, Heather.

I also wanted to say that because of the blogosphere, like Dan, I have had the opportunity of reaching pastors throughout the world with my research, who have in turn influenced hundreds of people under their authority. My interactions on the Internet have changed my life and thinking for the better, and I have been able to edify others as well unto the glory of God.

It has always been a challenge, however, to try to refrain from squashing and demeaning others. We need to tremble at these words as we blog and comment:

2 Timothy 2:23-26 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Harsh rebukes are sometimes necessary, but our opponents should also get the impression that we are well-wishers to the souls of men. We want them to repent, know the truth, come to their senses, and escape the snare of the devil, and not simply to demonstrate that they are wrong and we can defeat them in debate. Watch and listen to some of the apologists. They frequently demean others on their blogs. There's no sense that the apologist wishes the ultimate well-being of his opponent, and that may be because He, in terms of his theology, doesn't think it likely that God wishes them well either. Consequently, only hate is conveyed and people are hardened against the truth. They are "scrappy," as Carson described the environment of the Internet. It's a good way to describe some apologists. They are just scrappers. They're not adorning the gospel and making it attractive to the enemies of it. It's an easy thing to fall prey to on the Internet, especially since scrapping draws attention and inevitably brings blog traffic.

Sir Aaron said...

I respectfully disagree with DA Carson. The value of the Y2K posts and other "nonsense" as he puts it, is that it gives us an opportunity to apply Scripture to events and situations we are experiencing presently.

YnottonY said...

Sir Aaron,

First, I blended my own comments with D. A. Carson's observations. All that Carson said [in a Q&A session linked above] is that 1) People need to read more books and less on the Internet, 2) That most are not learning to think well on it because it's like collecting little bits and pieces, and 3) that it is "such a scrappy environment." I should have set off my own commentary from his, since your really disagreeing with me [which is fine] than with him in what you've said.

Second, I did not call *the posts* on The Da Vinci Code "nonsense," but The Da Vinci Code itself is nonsense. My point about the posts on the DVC were that they are not timeless. They are not dealing with subjects that will be of lasting importance.

Anyway, sorry for any confusion. That was my fault.

candy said...

That RPB graphic totally cracked me up.

DJP said...

Thank you for noticing, Candy. Must confess: it cracked me up, too.

(c;

DJP said...

One closing observation. I've noticed that, as a rule, those who bleat most loudly about tone or niceness or what-have-you tend to fall into two categories:

1. Those whose doctrinal or personal misbehavior has earned and received appropriate, needed, and robust Biblical criticism; and

2. Bystanders who like to throw in hand-wringing interference so as to appear more sensitive and caring and deep, when really they're just ditherers.

In both cases, the real concern appears to be the same: image.