September 24, 2012

In which I Ramble about Facebook Debates, Book Reviews, and Bloggers who Critique Pastors

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I've been simmering on some thoughts for a long time, thus today's rant. (If you don't like rants, thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Don't keep reading this.)

I like the internet a lot. But, I have moments in which I have a deep disdain for it. Particularly when it comes to stupid things Christians will do or say online.

Christian Bloggers Who Critique Pastors. It's gotten a little out of hand in my opinion when every pastor is called a heretic by someone else. You can't really make a judgement call on a pastor simply because you watch a five minute clip of him on YouTube. The context of the sermon has been stripped off. Context is incredibly important. I don't think a pastor's entire ministry should be judged on a meager five minutes. We need to realize that pastors are not perfect either. They have their lousy moments of preaching. Give them grace, stop participating in "conversations" on YouTube, and go listen to the sermon in it's entirety if you feel the need to.

Christian Bloggers and Their Awful Book Reviews. If Jesus were walking in the flesh on earth right now, I'm pretty sure He wouldn't be clicking away reading reviews of the latest Christian living book. Maybe I'm wrong, but just think about it. Christian bloggers spend way to much time critiquing books. Seriously. Am I saying we should be totally blind in our reading choices? No. But, some need to take a chill pill.  There isn't a book sitting on your shelf (other than the Bible) that doesn't have some kind of flaw with it.

Christian Bloggers Who Attack Other Christian Bloggers. From time to time we all get those nasty, mean comments. And I'd be lying if I said that when I get them I don't take them personally, because I do. I've been accused of being overly (or too conservative) in my views, as well as not being spiritual enough (or too liberal). Like that's not confusing. We need to keep in mind that when we visit someone else's blog, it's their blog, not ours. There's a real human behind it. Don't say something in the comment section if you wouldn't say it to them in person, face-to-face. The internet in many ways robs us of conveying tone, approach, and presentation in our words. And when you consider that fact that 80% of communication is nonverbal... well... the internet doesn't work in our favor there. All I'm saying is that if you're going to critique online be overly careful and slow in doing so. Don't make it a habit. And realize everyone else is reading your comments as well, not just you and the writer. I don't believe in publishing really nonconstructive, terrible comments, simply because it's a bad reflection on the commentator. If a non-Christian ever were to read them, I couldn't blame them for the conclusions they might make. But, the thing that bugs me the most is how Christians will call into question another Christian's faith or salvation because they don't agree with them 100% or because they don't share the same "view" on the gray issues of the Christian faith (which I wrote about here). Be slow and weary to start calling someones faith into question because she wore an immodest outfit or he has a tattoo or... whatever... fill in the blank in his/her Facebook profile picture.

Facebook Debates. I just don't particularly like them, and you're not likely to find me participating in them. Social media is not an avenue I'd want people to debate with me... so it's definitely me holding to the philosophy of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It's just way too easy for things to be interpreted wrongly be it words, intent, or tone.

Having said all that now...
  1. Feel free to call me a hypocrite on the book review thing. I've written a few on the blog.
  2. If you want to debate with me, call me on the phone or arrange a coffee date with me at Starbucks, we're not going to "have it out" online.
  3. Take the time to learn blogger etiquette. My friend Allie wrote a post on this and then linked to several other awesome posts as well.
  4. Chandler, Horton, and Keller on Disagreeing (Good Stuff in this Dialogue)
  5. If I've ever written a nasty comment on your blog or Facebook, forgive me. 


  1. While it is true that there isn't a single book on our shelf that doesn't have a flaw (I feel this way about films also), I don't think there is anything wrong with reviewing books though I would say there are LOTS of bloggers (myself included) who review. Still... it is a great way to try new authors. :-)

  2. I agree Rissi =) I'm talking about a couple of other blogs I've seen that solely post reviews of books in order to tear apart the author though.

  3. Good stuff. Most "online debating" really isn't going to convince anyone of anything.

  4. True,true,true. I love the part about extending a little grace. Really that's what we should do in all these situations!

  5. I agree 100%. We should only speak light and love to others:) and if we don't agree, then we should just stop reading their blog, and not criticize them. simple as that:) thanks sweet girl!

  6. okay, i have some things to say. ;]

    first, i would love to arrange a phone or coffee date with you but not to argue.

    second, this is a post everyone needs to read. i don't think this is a rant at all. there is definitely way too much hatin' online in the name of Jesus and i have had it past my hairline with it all.

    i do want to say something about book reviews, and maybe this is a topic about which we're saying the same thing in different ways. but as an english major, nothing makes my blood boil faster than a poorly written book. this is especially true when it's "christian" (i really dislike using that as an adjective but there's no really other suitable alternative. <-- that was useless information. i'm sorry/you're welcome. haha.)

    the reason this makes me so upset is because i feel, based on what i've read in both the christian and secular markets, is that christian publishing standards are lower. now i realize there are a lot of poorly written books released in the secular market (and while i'm not naming any names, i'm looking STRAIGHT at stephenie meyer). however, i think the caliber of christian material is consistently below this.

    as someone who takes the time to carefully analyze literature and who reads a lot for her own pleasure, this is beyond irritating. i want a book that i actually enjoy reading and enjoy analyzing from a literary perspective. i don't want to read one where i'm hollering in my head at the author about poorly developed plots, poorly developed characters, gross historical inaccuracies, etc.

    this also angers me from a historical perspective: NOTHING is less reliable to a historian on ANY basis than something that takes liberties with the text for the sake of the story. historians have long had an issue with historical fiction of all kinds because of this (and my senior project in college was actually an attempt to blend accurate history with a dramatic story without sacrificing the integrity of either field of study, something that is incredibly difficult). so when i read a book that manipulates religious practices or gender relations or anything else of a specific era simply for the sake of the story, i automatically dismiss any other point it may be trying to make. i realize that's something i need to rectify in myself, but what i'm trying to say is, scholarship is critical, regardless of where it's being employed, and it ought not be compromised.

    this is a novel of a comment and perhaps a bit ranty itself, but i do think reviews are important. i understand what you're saying though, and i agree: the act of tearing authors apart for its own sake is unnecessary and un-Christlike. while there are a few christian authors with whom i take great issue, i keep that, for the most part, to myself, and when i do say something, i be sure my reasoning is literarily sound!

    & i wasn't kidding about talking on the phone (or even texting!), so email me your number when you get a chance! (ps. i realize it can be strange when statements like these come out of the blue. i want you to feel comfortable giving out your number to me so if you're not, don't! if you are, awesome! either way i'm stickin' around your blog and i'm stoked to keep hearing and novel-commenting on what you have to say ;] )

  7. bahaha Been there. Still there. Christians anger me more on the internet than any other non-CHristian kind.


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