To Blog or Not to Blog

bloggingBlogging is a funny thing. It’s an online journal of sorts, but there’s a catch-22 when it comes to writing about things that really matter to people. The most interesting stuff to write about is precisely the stuff that you cannot write about. Not for public consumption, anyway. So you stick to things like theology, leisure, movie critiques or other general cultural commentary, yada, yada, yada.

In one sense it’s a journal. You want to express what you’re feeling about all kinds of things. But many of the most intense experiences are so personal to both yourself and to other people that you just can’t broadcast the details on the world wide web. Wouldn’t be prudent. Not gonna do it.

On the other hand, if you’re writing stuff for other people to read then you ought to talk some about the things that really matter in life. You want to share your experience and your reflections on that experience so that other people can learn from it as well. The most intensely personal stuff you write in a notebook and keep somewhere safe in your own home. The rest you can put on a blog. The trick is finding that line. Where does something become “not for public consumption” and therefore too sensitive to publish for all to see? Best I can figure, it’s when something could hurt someone else, or defame them. That’s not kind. You wouldn’t want someone doing that to you. So I guess the bottom line becomes:

The Golden Rule of Blogging: Publish about others what you would have them publish about you.

I imagine this is a difficult rule to apply for the kids in the generation below my own. I don’t know what you’re supposed to call them: Generation Y, the Generation Next, Millennials, whatever. Regardless of what you call them, the characteristics are pretty consistent. Kids that I teach have very little sense of a dividing line between public and private life. To them, it all looks the same. If a celebrity or a public official gets into a fight with his or her spouse/significant other, they feel we are all entitled to hear about it in detail. If a president calls a bone-headed rap singer an idiot (or something more “colorful”) then we should all hear the recording, even if it was supposed to be off the record. Even professional journalists with major networks seem to feel such an interjection should be immediately tweeted to the whole world. It’s funny, I know. But think before you share, will ya?

So I’ll give some careful thought about what could prove hurtful to someone else and I will try to avoid sharing those things. On the other hand, if my own experiences could be informative for someone else in a constructive way, then I say it should be shared. It should be shared with care that no one is unfairly represented, and it should be shared with sensitivity to the reputations of others.

But the bottom line is that this little thing we call the internet has revolutionized the way we all think and act. It has permeated our culture, even globally, creating a new age no less revolutionary than the industrial revolution of the last few centuries. People turn it on in order to help them think about things. It has become a primary public marketplace of ideas. Therefore, I think people who follow Jesus, the Lord of all things, should work to make his presence and his mind known in that realm. Cyberspace should feel the influence of the children of the King. We should be on it, calling things what they are and offering life to those who read what we say.

And it doesn’t always have to be Bible lessons and such. Believe it or not, someone out there may be strangely encouraged by the fact that I got up and went to work this morning in order to teach a bunch of ungrateful, immature teenagers who after two months of classes still can’t remember my name! Somewhere in the daily stuff of my life is something which may touch someone else’s. It’s virtual community, and I have reservations about it. But for some it’s the best they can get.

I suppose as my hairs are turning gray I am learning to think less about how the world should be and deal instead with how the world actually is.

At present, my circumstances force me to do the same thing about church. At the moment, I am persuaded to dream a little less about how church should be and think some more about how to work with the church as it actually is. That’s a new mode for me. But it’s where I am at the moment.

So if you’ve made it all the way down to the end of this post, you deserve to hear that I am no longer meeting with the church that I’ve been a part of for nearly a decade now. I moved to Georgia to be a part of a community of people when I was 25 years old. I tried to move when I was 20, but my dream was deferred until then. Now I am 35 and I announced to my brothers and sisters in this church that the Lord seems to be clearly calling my family and I to move on and follow Him somewhere else. He hasn’t told us yet where that somewhere else is. But I am trying to trust that the next step will become apparent when it is upon us.

For now, my wife and I (along with our four girls) are embarking upon something neither of us ever thought we would be doing. We are church hunting. This new adventure is uncharted territory, even for my wife, who did way more church growing up than I did. Her folks are ministers themselves, so they’ve done church relocation multiple times. But they always get called to a new church and they just go. You don’t hunt around and check out Sunday Schools, preachers, choirs, children’s programs, etc. You just join and work with what’s there. Doing it the way we’re doing it is much more difficult. So many factors to consider! Ultimately we’re listening for the voice of the Lord to make some kind of noise at the right time. But so far it’s just a lot of looking and hard thinking. Not my favorite adventure I’ve ever been on, frankly. But it is what it is. There’s a profound statement.

Maybe next I’ll write some about what it’s like for a radical house church guy to go church hunting around multiple traditional church campuses around town.

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3 Responses to “To Blog or Not to Blog”

  1. Cat Says:

    it really is true that my generation has blurred the lines, quite a bit. i find myself doing that often, and it just comes second nature. interesting, and not necessarily good. dont’ worry though, i’m not splattering any extremely personal issues onto my blog. ah well. the world is changing, old man! ๐Ÿ™‚
    ps–i feel your pain on the church hunt.
    pps–am i considered the same generation as the kids you teach? just wondering.

    • christinyall Says:

      Yep, little sis, you’re a Millennial. Probably there’s a good test online somewhere. But my guess is that if you can text the pledge of allegiance in less than a minute, you’re probably one of them ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. brotherjohnny Says:

    He’s the fire in the night and the cloud in the day….
    I believe we are all in transition, brother, whether we recognize it or not.

    Every Christ follower that I have conversed with lately seems to be in a similar place. Hopefully we will all realize that we are, in fact, in this thing together.

    Solid wisdom on the ‘to share or not to share’ dilemma. I have struggled to walk that line for some time now. I hope I’m better at it now than I was a few years ago.

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