When Christians Act Like a Hot Mess

Gracebiskie —  February 18, 2013 — 14 Comments

prophetic pause

When I first started writing -really writing- I got my humble beginnings on my little MySpace blog with 40 readers.  I thought that in order to get people to read I had to say every doggone thing that came to mind about every teensy thing that made me angry or sad.  I wanted everyone to know how mad I was as I thrashed about judgements and silly arguments about a whole lotta nothin’.  It was terribly immature but I thought it was, ya know, “cute,” and “just me.”

Sadly, I see that a lot nowadays.  People tweeting and blogging in ways that celebrate them being sarcastic & b*tchy, snarky & judgmental.  Do they assume by owning up to it -even celebrating it- that it’s cute?  That ‘ish aint cute.  And certainly not worthy of celebration.  Yea, I get that it draws like-minded folks.  Yea, I get that one can draw tons of online attention by a showy splash of indecent exposure.  But to what end?


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Indeed, there seems to be a constant barrage of negativity online.

I spend a good deal of time online.  I’m a blogger, a self-proclaimed social media maven.  I ingest blogs and online news like a rabid smoker.  In the past few months, I realized quickly I had to let go of purely sensationalist garbage while carefully calculating what I could stomach in world news, local suffering and ongoing injustices.  But, I hadn’t thought to be overtly careful about the Christian blogs I was reading because…why?  I literally hadn’t considered -until recently- how deeply troubling a place this was.

I am disheartened lately by the barrage of negative Christian bloggers taking on everything and everyone…Driscoll to blog commenters to those of us who are pro-life.  Even more, there’s a certain level of acceptance of widespread posts of immaturity.

You may be thinking ‘now aren’t you taking them on, Grace?’ Yeah, I guess so.  Am I?  I’m trying to figure out how to come at this from a prophetic prospective by asking good questions and wondering if we could move forward with a commitment to righteousness in our online lives.

So.  What should happen differently in “conversations” online?  In other words, what’s the ideal?  If we could choose a way to deal with crappy stuff that happens in our world what would that look like online?

This issue is a bit more complex to whip out WWJB: What Would Jesus Blog?  But, how about WWEB: What Would Eugene Cho Blog?  Eugene Cho’s blog is generally the 1st I look to for the godliest, wisest, culturally relevant response on almost any issue from abortion to the objectification of women on Super Bowl Sunday to blackface to gun control to Manti Te’o.  Okay, now that we’ve established Eugene is my blogging hero let’s get back to the issue at hand.

Certainly not every blogger is going to handle Driscoll, or Manti’ or abortion the same way.  Nor would I want them to all be Eugene.  That said, how can the rest of us interact online in a way that honors God and honors people?  How can we emulate the folks who are getting it right?  How can we as wildly diverse people of faith “talk” online -in front of a watching world- about gun control, abortion, pre-maritial sex or LGBT issues without going ape-sh*t-cray all over the place?

Is this even possible? 

Believers wildly disagree on hot button issues.  Yet, we need accountability for our online words, tweets & updates.  We need to take it seriously & cautiously.  Holding each word, post, tweet & update with the consideration and respect it deserves.

I caution us to take seriously our life and words online:

1.  Loving God with all of our mind – How is what we are writing or portraying loving (as a verb!) our God?

2. Loving our neighbor as ourselves – this passage, so often taken out of context, applies especially to those we hate, dislike or who hate or dislike us.  How on earth do we do that?  Are we willing to?

3. Be holy as God is holy.  For example, with our words.  With our tweets.  With our blogs.  With our YouTube videos.

4. To complexify, at the same time we need to, sometimes, step in and speak up when injustices are happening.  Does that need to happen online?  I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.  We should all just ask Eugene. Or Jesus.  Probably not in that order.

Is the online world the place to call out Driscoll?  I’m guessing the answer is as complex is our God.  Maybe there is a time and a place for the right person who can also be obedient to God while doing so.  Some of us, can’t.  Bottom line.

The other day, I was communicating some of this to one of my besties, an evangelist herself & a godly woman I respect.  She left me with a nugget of truth that I’ll leave with you as we explore what we write and who we read online:

“I want to be known for the things I’m for, not merely what or who I’m against.” --Sidewalk Theologian

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Grace's passion is to share the hope she found in Jesus through relational leadership, writing, evangelistic speaking & advocacy.

14 responses to When Christians Act Like a Hot Mess

  1. ” In the past few months, I realized quickly I had to let go of purely sensationalist garbage while carefully calculating what I could stomach in world news, local suffering and ongoing injustices. But, I hadn’t thought to be overtly careful about the Christian blogs I was reading because…why?”

    I was thinking about this yesterday after a few solid rounds of mucking about in angering corners of the blogosphere. When I muttered my frustrations with the stuff I was reading, my buddy asked why I continued to read it.

    I didn’t have an answer for him. I don’t know why I feel compelled to read debates that I know will make me angry, to seek out stuff from the circles in which I grew up just to call them out for being legalistic and wrong. It’s a terrible impulse in myself that I simply don’t understand, but it seems to drive much of the post-evangelical blogosphere.

    • Micah, I think you feel compelled the same reason anyone else does: the blood, the guts, the gore, the good fight, the soap opera effect. It is intriguing to see in some ways even as it makes our blood boil inside a little bit.

      I hope we can change that about the post-evangelical blogosphere b/c it doesn’t have to be that way and we don’t have to be this scathing with one another.

      Thanks for commenting!!!

  2. I think we like to make things more difficult than they have to be. Being Christian doesn’t mean that I am going to necessarily agree with other Christians on every topic. It’s a simple matter of choosing to respectfully disagree.

    • Tamarria, if only it were that simple. That’s at least half the problem…a lot of people are choosing to DISrespectfully disagree & even taunt. But I agree with you, we don’t all need to agree, but we need to be kind & loving as we communicate.

  3. Couldn’t agree more! Let’s try and outdo each other by the Fruit of the Spirit, not the Fruit of the Stink, like I say to my kids!

  4. Thaks for addressing this Grace! Reading such negative comments from Christians always makes be uncomfortable and leaves me wondering as to what I should do. Do I ignore it or do I, as Christ did, “shine light onto the darkness and that which is wrong” I have foudn myself leaving Christian Facebook groups because of all the attacks on those that our different. I even had an experience recently that an admin for a page on facebook tag me in her post and called me ignorant all because I challenged her criticism on a public figure. I have left a lot of groups because of that. I think challenging one another is good but a place needs to be found where love for neighbor is a constant in the midst of the conversation.

  5. I’m glad you further posted on this conversation. I do think there is a helpful place to critique and evaluate ministry viewpoints and differences….but the way things often go online it seems there needs to be an additionally grace-filled responses to Christians who respond out of their hot-messed-ness. Here’s to being known for what we are for as Christians, not what we are against.

  6. Jess, not only do they respond out of their hot-messed-ness but they celebrate it. That works my nerves b/c they are not 18-19 anymore. At some point, you have to take responsibility for your words & actions!!! #AintNobodyGotTimeForDat!

  7. I have only recently started to read this blog. Who is Driscoll?

  8. I couldn’t agree more Grace. I tire of the snarky comments and tweets, etc. Honestly, I don’t find myself very happy or positive when I think that way — much less write that way. Great points.

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