Friday, March 30, 2012

An Open Letter

Dear Person Who Did or Said Something Incredibly Stupid, Offensive, or Just Differently Than Me,

I am going to guess you visited this blog because you expected me to publicly call out some speaker, pastor, political figure, or unknown blogger for something they said or did. I hate to disappoint you, but I am not going to do that.

After my "conversations" with and about Concerned Nazarenes, the discovering of a youtube video where one of my Christian friends announced he was gay, and just some general blog surfing I did for my work at JCCC I came to a conclusion about open letters and targeted blogs -- they stink.

Consider this a blog which reveals what I've learned by the mistakes of my own experience. Ironically, one might see this blog as an open letter against open letters.

Here are some observations I have made about open letters:
0-Generally such posts are written out of emotion, in direct and immediate response to another blog, issue, or situation.
0-Because this type of discourse requires almost immediate responses, writers rarely spend time reflecting on their posts before posting.
0-This urgency also contributes to the trend of making generalized statements about a subject that might be partially true, but not universally true.
0-Rarely to these articles contain valid, scholarly research to back up the writer's claims. The problem with this trend is that people begin just accepting statements as fact because they are in a blog or article. This leads to the dispersion of a great deal of inaccurate beliefs and statements.
0-If a person feels passionately enough about a subject to post about it in the "heat of the battle," it's probably because he or she has already made up his/her mind on the subject.
0-Without the in-person contact, the "conversations" that transpire in the comments section quickly escalate to personal attacks, "you" statements, more generalizations, more statements without scholarly research, and more perspectives from individuals who have already made up their mind on the subject

I believe that a Christian should think twice before crafting such a blog or shooting such a video. While these methods of communication do quickly disperse your opinions and ideas on a subject, they rarely solve any problems or move anyone closer to Christ. Problem situations are often best dealt with in private conversations. If private conversations fail to solve the problem, then public announcements should be made more directly to particular audiences. We have to be willing to admit we are wrong. Sometimes the original offender does not change his/hers/its approach or stance on a particular subject. When this happens, we must be willing to reevaluate our own stances on the subject with a mind open to tweaking our own opinions or, at times, actually changing entirely our perspectives.

My recent experiences in blog-to-blog combat proved to be toxic for my life. I quickly found myself dedicating every spare thought and minute to responding to comments, crafting new blogs, and developing what I might say if.... When I developed my responses, it was incredibly difficult not be personally offended by the comments of others. This made it nearly impossible to respond with comments salted with grace and filled with love.

If what needs to be said cannot be said in a redeeming way, it should not be said at all. When someone is in the wrong, you who are spiritual should restore him/her gently, but be careful because it's easy to fall into the same wrongs.

Grace & Peace

6 comments:

  1. Good food for thought, thanks friend!

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  2. Great observation. Something I surely need to be reminded of.

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  3. As I pray for my son and daughter on the way to work each morning there are few days I do not end up in tears! I rarely cry at home, but that has become most difficult.
    I live in torment! Peace, Be Still! Is it from God or is from fear of driving someone you love away? My soul aches.
    Keith you are a good friend! May God Bless You!

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  4. Thank you for this.

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