Saturday, September 16, 2006

St. Paul on Blogging

When I first announced my entry into the Blogosphere my dad responded typically. He did not jump up and down with excitement; he did praise my first article (published on Stuff Out Loud); and he issued a warning. He challenged me to study II Timothy 2: 16 and allow it to inform anything that I was going to do in blogging. I have been doing that.

I find this advice of Paul to Timothy as one of those amazing places where a 2000 year-old document seems to speak as though it was written yesterday. Truely, this is the Word of the Lord! Paul has just told Timothy to be diligent in his ministry and to accurately handle the Word of Truth. Then he says, "But, avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness… (NASB)" WOW. Surely this speaks to those of us that blog.

Every time some new technology comes down the pike the church has to make a decision. It can take the Naysayer position. This is what the Amish did about 200 years ago. It is also what the Roman Church did during the Age of Enlightenment. Or the church can take the Naive approach. This is where it accepts every new thing as being morally neutral and tries to incorporate it into church. I can think of no better example of this than American Christianity with its Christian Rap, Christian Theme Parks, Christian Self-Help, and Redeeming Everything. In the middle of these extremes is the Wisdom decision. In wisdom the church evaluates new things, discards those that are useless and adapts those that are usable to spread the message of the gospel. The best example is how the early fundamentalists seized on the power of radio to make an end-run around the increasingly liberal denominations and take their message directly to the people. Radio was one of the cornerstones of early fundamentalism.

Along come weblogging, now known as blogging. It took a couple of years to catch on but by 2005 Sharper Iron, Pyromaniac, et al where a growing part of the phenomenon of Christian Blogging. Some have raised serious concerns about blogging and bloggers and have said that the church should not participate in this medium. They may have a point from Paul since there is much "worldly and empty chatter." There has been many unloving things said and much that is not true. Should Christians leave the bloggosphere or would that be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

I believe that there is much good in blogging. I have read many great articles by young and mature Christians that I would not otherwise have access to. I have been encouraged; I have been provoked to think; I have been pushed to study by bloggers. I believe that blogging allows Christians that would otherwise never get to "provoke one another to love and good works" to do this over many miles and even around the world. I really think that blogging is going to change our view of information in the next ten years.

So where does that leave us with Paul's remark? Like so many things, (ie. meat, circumcision, wine) I think that he would conditionally say that we should blog. I see a parallel between the world of the blog and Mars Hill where Paul so boldly came with the gospel. But Paul never holds back from telling us what love should inform our actions. Love of God and love for the brethren must shape every liberty and every action. We must avoid "wordly and empty chatter" that attacks, confuses, discourages, and harms our brothers or sisters. We may not participate in any blogging that undermines the Kingdom. We must always "speak the Truth in love."

So early in the 21st Century we have a new technology. It can be used for good or ill. It cannot be completely avoided. Let us follow Paul's advice and "accurately handle the Word of Truth" so that the Truth can illuminate the world!

4 comments:

JR said...

Thanks Jon for your post plus you get the dubious honor of receiving my first entry to a blog. I've read several blogs here and there, but never commented, so I'm holding my nose and jumping in feet first. Frankly part of the reason I haven't commented (or until now didn't have my own blog spot), was because of the "empty chatter" I so often see. Christians tearing each other apart over non-essentials and arguing over what the definition of IS is. Okay - nuff said.

Kris Stephens said...

Amen, Jon!

Your dad is a wise man! The Scriptures are incredibly relevant!

Thanks for the post.

Jon from Reidville, SC said...

JR:

Thanks for honoring me with your first post!

Jon

ricky said...

Jon,

Great Post! The scriptures are always sufficient. May we build up to the glory of God.