A month ago I wrote on a situation in which Vinny caused a Pastor to shut down all comments on his blog. Vinny managed to do it with just one comment!
Recently I have been observing another Pastor Vs atheist discussion that is equally amusing. Hold on to your seat…
Pastor Rob Singleton wrote a blog entry entitled Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby! and our friend, The Barefoot Bum posted a few comments. The Barefoot Bum then posted a blog entry Evolution and Chance responding to some of the comments in Rob Singleton’s blog. Rob Singleton also posted a few comments in The Barefoot Bum’s blog.
Rob Singleton then published We’ve Brought Sexy About Halfway Back! in which I posted a few comments. Rob Singleton suggested this particular blog was “also for discipleship, pastoring, shepherding, church chat etc.” and asked we retire to his new blog, rob’s rants in which to have believer/non-believer discussions.
rob’s rants is now posting new blog entries which consist of comments submitted to The Barefoot Bum’s blog called A Response to ‘Evolution and Chance,’ Let’s Just Give it Time, and Do as I say, not as I do.
If you ever watched the Television series SOAP--the show always started off with a rapid-fire cacophonic history between the numerous individuals and ended with “Confused? You won’t be after this episode of SOAP!” That is what I feel in trying to follow and recount the interaction occurring here.
However, these two instances have raised a question for me—what is the moral thing to do when it comes to Pastor Blogs?
Years ago, if you were looking for a new church, you had four sources. Word-of-Mouth, the newspaper, the Yellow pages, or driving by one. The problem with the last three is you never really knew what the church was like until you attended. Oh, titles like, “Our Lady of ___” gave away the Catholicism and “First ____ of Local Town” usually designated Baptist or Methodist. And years ago the various denominations were demarked both within the title and within the service. But there has been a blurring. Now “Baptist” may no longer mean conservative. And we have titles like “Grace Fellowship” or “Local Town Community” or even more non-descript like “Riverside Church.”
Luckily churches have discovered the internet, and we now have a fifth and far more valuable tool in which to find a church—its website. The church website has directions, and service times, and pastor names, and core beliefs, and programs offered and history and interesting tidbits. And many Pastors, in utilizing the new technology of the web, have started up…a blog.
Blogs are peculiar things. (You know this; you are reading one.) They can contain nude pictures, or pictures of one’s grandchildren. Recipes for guacamole or spell incantations. Some blogs are replete with expletives, and if I look hard enough, I imagine I could find a blog written in Olde English. Some moderate comments, some allow comments to fly free.
Anyone who has read me knows I respect a blog-creator’s desire to limit or expand their blog to whatever their little heart desires. If you want to start a blog in which you only talk about Salsa, and no comment can contain the letter “e”—you go right ahead.
But of course, one should think about the purpose of having a blog. Despite their differences, all blogs have a purpose. It may be to vent. It may be one line in order to post comments elsewhere. It may be to share family secrets. But it is something. Because a person has to actively take the time to create it at one point.
I wonder if many Pastors think through the purpose of their blog. Is it something to keep up with technology? Is it to continue their speaking/writing craving in a different forum? Who is it designed to reach? Who do they want to read it?
And if I come across a Pastor’s Blog, are they expecting or dreading my input? Look, I am not completely stupid—I get a blog which informs me is a place for parishioners to share prayer requests is most certainly not a place for me to come blazing in with some long comment about Textual Criticism. Or a daily devotional blog is not looking for an evolution/creation debate.
Yet what about a blog in which a pastor writes how they have studied science, and then displays the most uninformed or out-of-date position? Can I respond? Should I respond? How can I tell whether they want to just read themselves write as compared to actually interacting with non-believers?
Or when I read a Pastor’s Blog which says, “their hearts are malfunctioning” or “they insisted on being the boss over God” or “they are irrational and unthinking” or “they think they know better than God” and I realize the “they” the Pastor is talking about is ME!—is it moral for me to respond? Can I post a comment and say, “perhaps you might like to look at this from a different point of view.”
How can I tell if the Pastor is looking to preach to the choir? Or talk with the world?
So the question I ask you (and this is up for grabs): If you are a non-believer, when do you think it is appropriate to enter a Pastor’s Blog and say, “Wait a minute…”?
I think, if the comments are open, and the Pastor is discussing what non-believers say, do or think, it is appropriate for me to post a comment. One thing about truth—it can withstand the scrutiny. It may not persuade; it may not even prevail. But it is not afraid of discussing with the other side.
If the Pastor thinks they hold truth, there is no reason to fear postings by non-believers. I know the rhetoric—“Protect the flock,” “Many Christians are not mature enough to debate these issues,” “We focus on discipleship.” Hornswoggle. If you are leading these people, it is partly your responsibility to lead them in the right direction. It is up to YOU to research, study, discover and present your position to explain why the non-believer is incorrect. It is not very persuasive to avoid the topic. (And coincidentally, the very people who are mostly likely reading you are prone to believe you anyway! You have a ready, willing and able choir happy to sing out how right you are with but minimal response! And still you are worried?)
As for pastors, the question I wonder is this: Do they want to about us; or do they want to talk with us?