The Blogosphere

First of all, thanks to those of you who are sticking it out, continuing to check to see if I’ve strung together anything else. As all 11 or 12 of you know, it’s been a slow week. Traveling and work and all that. I’m also learning that blogging is hard– at least if you’re trying to put up things that are somewhat meaningful. Now, on with the first new post in a week…

You know those people who look for things to nitpick and like to lay out elaborate cases for why they’re right and other people are wrong? Well, I’m one of those people. Combine that with the fact that I like to talk and debate theology, and there can be trouble. For that reason, I’ve generally had a rule that I don’t get involved in many blog comment exchanges. (If you’re not familiar, there are about 750 million blogs out there, most of which have very few readers, like this one. But there are also several, like Between Two Worlds and, that have a bunch of readers, and if there’s a post about something controversial the feathers can really start to fly in the comments section.)

Yesterday I broke this rule, and it ended up making me feel stupid. Justin Taylor had a post referring to a promo that Mark Driscoll is doing for a new book. Driscoll is fairly controversial in the Reformed/evangelical world, and I don’t always like everything he does but I’m a fairly big fan. Anyway, someone took issue with a quote from the book where Driscoll said something characteristically colorful, and I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. In fact, I thought the guy was being really nitpicky, looking for something to criticize like a lot of bloggers do. So I wrote a brief comment saying I didn’t have a problem with what Driscoll said, offering a couple of Bible verses I thought supported it, and saying that I thought the other guy’s criticism was sort of over the top. The next morning he wrote back something else, and I still disagreed and wrote a little something else. (You can read it at the post if you’re interested, but I’m not really proud of it.)

Well, the guy writes back, seems to me to be somewhat hot & bothered, cuts & pastes some Bible verses and commentaries, says Driscoll is fabricating things that aren’t in the Bible, and advises me to base my beliefs on the Bible, not on what someone else says. Thanks, buddy. Of course, being the kind of guy I am (i.e. a sinner), this makes me mad. And I want to blow up everything he said, show everybody reading it how wrong and stupid he is and how right and smart I am. So I write back a lengthy and somewhat cutting reply. I mean, I think it was pretty devastating to his case. Then I looked at it (thank God for the “review your comment” feature) and thought, what am I doing? I don’t know this guy from Adam, neither of us is anything important, and we’re sitting here at our keyboards leaving comments on somebody else’s blog about whether one paragraph in another somebody else’s book is kosher or not. So I deleted the long post, told the guy to have a nice day, and swore off smart-a comments once more.

I think there’s potential for the blogosphere to be a good thing. Lord knows Christians could spend more time in genuine theological thought & reflection, and it can be a fun way to kick ideas around. But a lot of the time it’s so easy to hide behind the anonymity and say things we’d otherwise never say. I don’t want to be one of the “bloggers who live with their moms” & love to criticize people who are out there actually doing things for the Kingdom. If you ever catch me doing that, call me out on it.


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