Blogging is more real than we realize
The Christian blogging community is starting to look a lot like traditional community. I’ve often thought that in certain ways people are more themselves online than they are offline. If you have ever put on the audio head set for an X-Box live game you’ll quickly realize that many video game players are rude, vulgar, insensitive and mean. There is no fear of reprisal sitting in your living room miles away from the people you are playing against. There is nothing holding you back from saying what you are truly thinking. Teenagers often think some very terrible things.
There is more accountability in blogging than there is on X-Box live. We all have static web addresses and most of us allow for comments. Reprisal is a more tangible possibility but it isn’t enough to keep people from saying some very nasty things. Unfortunately what we say when we aren’t afraid of reprisal is a very accurate refection of our character. The nastiness, division and strife occurring in the Christian blogging community reflects the character of those who blog.
In “analog” community we are somewhat insulated from our true nature because most of us hide it. Much of the infighting and politics in our institutions are hidden from view. Sometimes the accountability structures we create actually hide sin in an effort to protect the institution. The reason is simple, if most of us knew the dark nature of what transpires in our faith communities we would lose faith in our institutions.
Many of my personal friends who have entered vocational ministry lasted only a few years. The reasons are complicated and have been the subject of debate. Many of the people that I know were not prepared for how carnal some of the people in their church were. When they entered ministry they moved from the outer circle to the inner circle where far fewer things are hidden from view. It is very common for people to become disillusioned when they see the dark side of their faith community.
I believe the same kind of disillusionment is beginning to happen online. I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half and I’ve already be labelled a hypocrite, immature and a cry baby. I have friends that have endured far worse. However I still believe in this form of Christian community just as I still believe in the church. I refuse to let the dark nature of humanity eclipse the good that can be found in sharing our thoughts and stories.