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?
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