Monday, June 8, 2009

When Christians Blog

David Garner of Westminster Seminary has written a very thoughtful article on blogging. He opens with a purposefully tongue-in-cheek assurance that blogging is not in and of itself a sin. But he also points out that "Real Christians really blog, but sad to say, much of this blogging doesn’t look really Christian." This is certainly true. It is also true that not all of my own blogging has always looked "really Christian."

Dr. Garner warns that one of the challenges for Christians is that the blogosphere, "a planet of sixties-like digital freedoms, without the conscious and deliberate application of Christian ethics, fosters a sense of anonymity, impunity, and self-expression dreadfully un-Christian."

He then goes on, quite accurately I believe, to outline the "moral and relational rules" of "Planet Blog." They are:

1. There are no rules.

2. Anonymity produces impunity.

3. Freedom is all-sufficient grounds for expression.

4. Courage is shown by public venting.

5. Blogging is the tool for relationship managment.

Much of Garner's attention is appropriately given to the tendency of bloging to transgress the biblical injunctions for how Christians are to deal with conflict. According to the "Blogospheric Bible":

If your brother acts in a way disagreeable to you, blog about him cleverly and inferentially. If he refuses to listen to you, blog again more viciously, and encourage one or two of your friends to blog too. The cumulative effect of two or three bloggers maligning a brother’s character should move him to sufficient shame. If he stubbornly continues in his displeasing trajectory, create a unique blogging site that enables all your virtual friends to join in a frenzied harassment. Surely this level of abuse will win your brother, and if not, you will at least have tainted his reputation for life.

I believe blogging can be a very effective tool for communication, teaching, resourcing, etc. Clearly it can also be very damaging. Dr. Garner has given me (and anyone who blogs) some very important instructions to consider. More than that, anyone who cares to communicate in a way that honors Christ and edifies the body of Christ can profit from his words.

Check out the entire article HERE.

1 comment:

Mainline Mom said...

Not saying I've never complained about a brother/sister in Christ on my blog, but I have witnessed more mud-slinging among Christian scholars in the name of "discernment" than I've ever seen on the mommy-blogs.