Usually the first thing I do when I come into the office is fire up my browser and do a quick reading of a couple blogs that have updated since the last time I was in the office. Doing so allows me a chance to gain some encouragement for my ministry, grow in my understanding of scripture, and more often then not find something that challenges me to consider what I believe and why I believe it. Most of the time I’m blessed by what I read, but lately I’ve noticed something very discouraging.
I was reading a blog post about attitudes towards worship, and more specifically a reflection on how young adults (even younger than myself) are looking for an experiential faith. Tim Elmore talks about this in his excellent book, Generation iY. Now, Elmore makes it really clear that by experiential, what he means is hands on. He talks about the importance that this generation places on doing the word. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and under-the-bridge camping spots are their cathedrals and chapels. He discusses the ways in which congregations can engage this generation, and the need to do so. These are the “workers” congregations talk about wanting…
Anyway, I’ll write a post on this later, so lets get back to the point.
I finished reading this post; felt that it was pretty strong. So I jotted a couple of notes down and got ready to read another, only to find that the next blog, one that I had frequented for about the same length of time, had written a counter post. It was a strongly worded, even angry, take down of the post I had just read. As I read through it, though, I couldn’t help but notice that the two writers were talking about “experience” and worship from two very different vantage points. While the first article discussed how a generation was worshiping God experientially by serving the poor and disadvantaged, the second had read only the first couple of paragraphs and assumed that the direction he was going was a suggestion that worship services should be tailored as entertainment. And then the first blogger responded hurtfully to the second. Shoot.
These folks are doing some pretty serious damage to their voice by shouting so loudly!
I’ve seen this over and over again. Someone writes in their blog a compelling argument about a trend they are seeing. Someone else reads a part of that post and as a reaction to what they think is being said, they write an angry, loaded response. And everyone goes around pointing out the speck of sawdust in their brother’s eye without noticing the great plank in their own. The worst part is, these folks are doing some pretty serious damage to their voice by shouting so loudly! People who have blessed me by sharing their insights into ministry have turned me off of their blogs through judgmental and hurtful posts.
I want to make a commitment today. This blog will not devolve into de-constructive blogging. Of course I’ll comment on culture, what the Bible says about trends we see, and I’ll add my personal opinion, by my goal is not to be a take-down artist. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and tear apart. It’s easy to jump to conclusions and argue against straw men. The harder thing is to be positive. To look for the best and encourage. To build up, rather than destroy.
I’m going to work to do the harder thing. That’s why I won’t be including a link to either of the posts mentioned above. I’ve said before that I intend to share posts from other blogs, and I do. I’ll be sharing one later today after I’ve had time to digest it, but I don’t intend to make my blog a place to argue. And I don’t intend to point you towards any that do.
Lets stay positive, constructive, and work towards shaping ourselves before de-constructing others.