I wrote a post earlier this week that you will never read, but this cartoon illustrates the gist of it.
Here’s what happened. I heard about some Christians who did something that I thought unwise, that I thought hurt the church. So I wrote what I hoped was a kind post warning others from doing the same.
Then, instead of uploading the post, I did an odd thing. I paused to think. I asked my wife Courtney what she thought (“Um…you called out a lot of people”). I asked some other friends of mine who kinda know the people in question. Amazingly, they didn’t yell at me–they even agreed with some of what I was saying. But they also told me some things I didn’t know.
This post is less exciting than the one I wrote earlier in the week. That one had some names that everyone knows. I was even going to use a name in the title–a sure way to draw people from Facebook to my blog.
We have a significant problem when our theological discussions are increasingly characterized by frenzied, reactionary responses to something that’s only been online for a few hours. The immediacy of the internet age seems to lead more and more of us to fear that failing to offer instant commentary renders one obsolete, out of touch, and destined to forlornly discuss yesterday’s topics with an empty room.
The internet has stripped patience from the theological landscape.
To what effect? I wonder if a blog ever changes minds–or simply reinforces a preconceived viewpoint. My guess is that most blogs have roughly the same power of reconciliation that Bill Maher or Glenn Beck wield over their detractors. And here’s the rub–Beck and Maher are not Christians, and both make a living almost entirely from titillation. So it’s fine for them to be polarizing and inflammatory–in fact, that’s exactly what they’re paid to do. But that’s not what we’re paid to do.
What does it say when when our theologians mirror the methods of our entertainers? Why are we shocked when that same political divisiveness invades the Church?
Love compels us to react less and listen more, write less and read more, critique less and seek answers more.
We are called to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. This should probably include our blogs.