Today Russ Moore has written a short article/blog post called "The Spiritual Danger of Blogging" (also posted at Mere Comments). He has some important things to say, things that we as bloggers need to hear. To be honest, I think he aims this post at me (though I drink mochas).
I've encountered many blogs run by the sort of "self-righteous" and "cynical" people that he mentions. Strangely, most that I have encountered have been run by Calvinistic inerrantist reformed-types (who I doctrinally side with) who think a doctrinal statement is the bottom line of righteousness. They typically spend a lot of time finding errors in the doctrines of others, defending anyone who holds the same doctrines they hold no matter what they say, finding people with any connection to something bad and broad-brushing them into the heresy camp, and looking for sins in the culture to preach against. It's a deadly lot and I have run among the "angry Calvinist" number before.
Though Russ seems to emphasize the bad bloggers (he may be a bit cynical about bloggers, I think), he also points to a good group of bloggers out there. My fear is that his group would be the kind who always tow the party line, and link to the "right" places, and vote straight party ticket.
I've found many good bloggers too, but I would think they would be a different sort than Russ'. I like the bloggers who don't draw extra-biblical lines of fellowship. They are willing to speak truth even when it costs them connections they may need in ministry. They point out the dangers Jesus points to (like legalism) and not the ones that legalists point to (like alcohol). The bloggers I like are the ones who like Jesus so much that they realize how messed up they are and how great grace is. I like bloggers who are interested in a Kingdom that God builds, and who would have no problem watching our institutions and kingdoms die when they cease serving God's desires. Sounds delicious, doesn't it?
Ultimately Moore seems to miss something. He writes, "But, let's be honest, blogs also tend to give a microphone to a kind of deadening cynicism and blind self-righteousness in the guise of taking on self-righteousness, legalism, and what-have-you." Sure, we all would agree. That happens too much. All of us who blog have certainly from time to time held on to our "rightness" too tightly because being wrong isn't fun. But this sort of self-righteous blogging that Moore speaks of rarely makes a ripple in the blogosphere, let alone beyond it.
And Moore's quote can just be as easily be turned around. The guise could be on the other side, just as it was with Jesus who seemed to criticize the religious power brokers the loudest and sharpest, not the little guy who was "self-righteously" attacking legalism.
In other words, I seriously doubt the big problem with blogging is that some of the "self-righteous" ones are getting a hearing and hurting the big boys. I think it is much more likely that if any bloggers are getting loud enough to actually create a stir among the power brokers, those power brokers would try to find a way to combat the bloggers. The odds are stacked against the bloggers and for those with power, position and notoriety.
And isn't this what we see with Luther and the 95 Theses? He was an annoying gnat to the institution for questioning what they were doing. Then some started to agree with him which created fear among the powerful, and an attempt was made to silence him (something that can't be done in the same way to bloggers, which elevates fears among the powerful today). But Luther continued on as a flawed man who didn't do it all right, but who in the end was faithful and led a revolution of biblical proportions.
While I'm not able to remove the lint from Luther's belly button (and I'm more likely to lead a revolution for P.F. Chang's), I'm more hopeful about real change happening in the SBC after reading Russ' post. It's a sign that the message of 'necessary change' is getting out. God help us.