A guest post from my friend Sean after this brief introduction.
I’m a believer in at least the potential value of blogs as a way of Christians interacting (I’m writing one, right?). But usually I back off that view for a few days after there’s a long, controversial exchange on one of the blogs I read. If you think this is over the top, go to Between Two Worlds or Challies.com and look at pretty much any post with 20 or more comments. (Usually by that time the blog authors, who are great guys, have moved on to other work, like their real jobs.)
The Eleven Types of Christian Blog Commentators (blatant stereotypes to follow):
- The liberal/skeptic/atheist – This guy is always pretty off base because most of the arguments are based on a different world-view, but after 3-4 posts he always throws up his hands in disgust, says how stupid Christians are, and claims that these arguments are exactly why he doesn’t read Christian blogs (which is exactly what he he was doing at the time).
- The credentials guy – As the argument progresses, this guy likes to point out that he knows Greek and Hebrew/has a degree in X/is a professional X/has many non-Christian or minority friends, etc. This usually happens when his argument is no good, so to prove its good he adds some “credentials” to it.
- The guy who always calls for repentance – No explanation needed, except that he himself has never, nor will ever repent of anything on an internet message board.
- The “don’t judge me” guy – Almost everyone on the boards is afraid to by pigeonholed as anything, so as soon as someone calls them on what they’ve said (and usually the caller is dead on), the guy backs up and claims you don’t really know me (well buddy, what I do know is that you are a jerk on the internet, so you’re probably a jerk in the rest of your life). Sometimes this guy has some crazy made-up handle, because Phobiatos looks much cooler than Bob Davis. Ironically, this guy almost always passes judgment on his accusers.
- The Bible quoter – Just loves to quote random Bible passages without explaining their context or how they apply, as if the rest of us never considered the Bible but after reading 7 random phrases from the Scriptures, we’re completely convinced. This guy is also usually aghast that the argument keeps going after he obviously just solved the issue and has no concept that people could conceivably interpret passages differently.
- The dude who doesn’t read any comments – Look, if you go to a blog post with over 25 comments, then it is a given that the thread is no longer about the original post, but rather some dudes in a cat fight, so don’t interrupt their thrilling debate with some random comment about the original topic. This guy is usually redundant, and is always ignored.
- The guy pimping his blog – Just stop. If you made a good point on your blog about the issue at hand, then cut and paste it, don’t add a link to your insanely boring blog with white type on a black background with some lame title about your special Christian journey.
- The guy calling for mommy – See this all the time on BTW. Somebody can’t handle the debate so they call on JT to just swoop in and end it all. Are you kidding me? You want JT to police your idiotic comments? Let’s take away from his Christian ministry so he can tell you morons to just shut up.
- The indignant jerk – Always thinks his view is the only way, no matter how meaningless the topic. Usually after many mean posts, someone calls him on it, but he claims he has people who know him, like a pastor or an accountability partner. So even though he is a jerk, only his buddy can tell him so, and none of us. Just a hunch, but I bet his buddy is also a jerk.
- The “innocent” questioner – The worst. All he does is pose questions, all the while claiming he is not making any points or really saying anything. Probably loves Brian McLaren. His questions can only be answered one way, and that is the exact point he is making. The most frustrating is when you try to argue with him, he backs off and claims he never actually said anything, just questions. Talking to him is like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall, only that Jell-o is heretical poison that is falling into innocent children’s mouths. Can’t stand this guy.
- The actually innocent questioner – Usually some sort of wide-eyed student whose come to the mecca of Christian knowledge– the blog– to pick the greatest minds of our generation. Does this guys have any friends? Professors? Family? Church? If you are coming to a blog for advice, it is already too late for you, buddy.