Monday, July 02, 2007

Thoughts on Blogging as it Relates to Humility

I've been considering lately how blogging fits in with my understanding of the Christian faith. On gray matters like this, it takes time and effort to discern whether one should be involved and then, if one determines that one should blog, it takes time and effort to figure out how to do this well. I am still working on the latter matter.

1) It is easy to blog in an imperious manner. I have seen this in myself as I have continued blogging. I blog to hopefully improve my writing, to think quickly, logically, and rigorously, and to introduce ideas which may be worth thinking about. In the process of doing this, however, as one gains a readership, one can easily title oneself an expert. To put it less clunkily, blogging can easily go to your head. You get some hits, some people tell you you have a nice blog, you get a link or two, and all of a sudden you're King of the World. This is a common problem among bloggers. Blogging tends to bring out the self-appointed expert in all of us. Upon reflection, I can see that it sometimes has brought out this sin in my own life. For that, I am sorry. I hope to do a better job of thinking humbly, and thus to do a better job of writing humbly.

2) It wasn't always this way. The Internet has given the young person who has not worked their way up the ladder an opportunity to circumvent the system. This situation can bring to light good insights and writing. Certainly we could point to cases where this is true. But it can also inflate an ego and render a person insensitive to correction and humility. When you're getting hits and comments, and people on the street tell you they love your blog, it can be really easy to ignore whatever criticism might come your way. We who are young and blogging need to remember this. In my opinion, we should attempt to write with humility and deference, presenting our ideas not as the Perfect Solution but rather as a humble consideration. As I said above, I am indicting myself here.

3) This does not mean that we should not present ideas and make arguments. Blogs are great for this sort of thing. But it does mean that we should argue in a godly way. We should not think ourselves lords of our own blogging manor. We are not. We should write with gentleness. In short, we should keep in mind our elders, most of whom, perhaps, are not blogging. We should ask ourselves, "How would they read this? Do I sound like I'm trying to be them? Am I fulfilling the role of self-appointed expert?" It's one thing to present one's opinion on politics in a persuasive way. That's fine, and even commendable. It's another thing, however, to sound as if you're a politico on a writing hiatus. If you're not a professional in the area you're talking about, don't write like one. We need to write in a manner appropriate to our station in life.

4) Younger bloggers in particular should blog with their elders in mind. Though the Internet presents us with the opportunity to build a readership and attract impressionable admirers, we should not allow ourselves the indulgence of thinking we are wise when we are not. We must remember that Christ Himself did not begin His ministry until around age 30. There is a time for seasoning, gaining wisdom, and living humbly, and youth is that time. It is not wrong for young people like myself to blog, then, but it is best, I think, if we blog carefully. I cannot spell out exactly what this will look like (that's impossible), but I can suggest that one will blog very differently when remembering one's inexperience and youthfulness than one will when focusing on one's giftedness and popularity. The two mindsets produce two different types of behavior.

5) As I've frequently said in this little post, we need to pursue humility in our blogging. Blogging can be good, and blogging can be bad. Pride oftentimes makes blogging bad. We need to be humble bloggers even as we consider ideas and debate principles. I very much want to take my own advice here. I am not an expert in anything, I am a young man, and I am a follower of Christ. There are three great reasons for me to be humble. I hope for myself and my fellow Christian bloggers that we will not only find reasons to be humble, but that we will take these reasons and convert them into action.


Blogger Dad said...

I thought of writing you a comment regarding how sound and godly this sounded, but that I thought better of it.


Actually one of the chief reasons I don't blog is the time commitment to doing it well, on a regular basis. And then I'm old, so, as my youngest daughter reminds me, I don't have any hope of every attracting anyone for any reason whatsoever!!

May our Lord continue to guide your heart.

Al (Not Owen's dad and not that other "Al" either.)

3:51 PM  
Anonymous brandon said...

I heed your words here. Thanks for thinking about them carefully.

2:24 PM  
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