Blogging can be a remarkable hobby. It can be tremendously challenging, informative and mind-changing. It can give clarity to a situation or issue, or pollute the comment streams with vitriolic diatribe. It can bring light to issues or cover topics with clouds of doubt. It can test your patience, increase your reading comprehension, decrease ignorance, and dispel rumors and stereotypes. It can calm your fears, lift your spirit and enrich your mind.
It creates for me a new stream of thinking. It has introduced me to Seminary presidents, professors, missionaries, ministers, DoM's, and layfolk within my denomination. It's connected me to authors, diverse writers, and faithful readers. It has linked me to people in China, India, Australia, Peru, Alaska, and more. I sit here absolutely amazed sometimes on the expanse of it all. The instant ability to contact someone and share a prayer request, ask a question, or receive information is mindboggling. However,
for the weak hearted and thin skinned, blogging can be lethal. It can be addictive. It can be heartbreaking, dream-stealing, spirit-crushing. It can make you so angry and irritable that your blood pressure rises, your sleep is disturbed and you find yourself wondering what the world is coming to. Having said this, I was reminded of the scripture passage below by a fellow blogger:
"If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?" Jeremiah 12:5
Some people are easily discouraged. I am one of those people. However, as quick as I am discouraged, when I confess it, the Lord strengthens me by His Spirit. He also uses the many wonderful bloggers I have encountered in the past six years. As I grow in grace and patience and self-control, I've noticed a deeper desire to listen, and try to grasp the views of others. Some people do not do this. They are so embittered that any grievance they've had in the past, colors their view of the present and future. It's hard to travel in thickets when you've never been strengthened in the easier walks in life. It's hard to trust someone's testimony when you've been burned by falsehoods and then, base every word of folks you encounter upon every negative experience you've had in your past.
Such is the way of many who try to read blogs, who never see beyond the tit-for-tat sparring in the comment streams. I've often walked away from blogs because of the senseless arguments and insults. I do not have enough time in life to keep reading them. However, I've learned to leap-frog over many conversations and comments to get to ones which have a reasoned and rational dialogue going on. On various occasions, I found myself wondering where I fit in the SBC blog world given all I was seeing. Yet, here I am. Still pecking. Still reading. Still praying that through it all, God will use this venue to grow His people, to bind them, to strengthen them and use them as ambassadors of Christ.
I don't know what it is, exactly, that seemingly takes some folks beyond their normal characteristics of communicating when on the internet. Some things they say to one another on here, cannot possibly be how they talk in a face-to-face, across-the-table, coffee-sharing chat. Perhaps it is the anonymity of the screen rather than a person. I know that, at times, I am reading words, rather than a voice, and it is the words I interact with. I sometimes forget there is a person beyond those black and white letters--a person with facial expressions, tone, and mannerisms. I'm not sure what it is for others.
Do you ever wonder how folks get along in everyday life, in difficult situations, with disagreeable people when you read some of the conversations on the internet? I do. I wonder if it is just me. I wonder how some folks interact with colleagues, committees, husbands, wives, children and fellow Believers in a Sunday-School class.
Sometimes I think we each forget that our Savior is among us. We forget our speech is being viewed from Heaven. We forget we are accountable for our words, accusations, and insults. I've heard from a few folks who are quite disturbed over the current conversations, the heat, the ire. They think there is no possible way to bridge the divide. In some cases, I agree. In others, I think there is hope. There is peace to be found and agreement to be made. Where we end up in the scheme of things is up to us. How willing are we to yield to the Spirit of God? How obedient to His Word will we be? How much can we love one another if we hate one another's words and distrust every sentence they write?
The blogging world is not for the weak of heart or the thin-skinned. If we find ourselves unable to deal with the wisecracks, the innuendo, and rebuke from across the waves of space upon a virtually neutral piece of metal, wires, and plastic, how can we possibly interact and communicate with the flesh and blood, emotions of tender hearts without severing arteries and piercing veins? How will we ever be able to weather the major storms we each face beyond our monitors? selahV