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May 27, 2005

How then shall we Blog?

This is one of those posts that is hard to categorize, so I've dumped it into everything else. It's a little bit Intolerant Tolerance, but it's also a little bit Theology, but it doesn't really fit into those categories at all.

A bunch of us from Mind and Media have joined Blogcritics. Seems to be a perfect fit -- they review books, so do we. Match made in Heaven, right?

Not exactly. In fact, quite a few of the members of Blogcritics were none too happy to see their site "overrun" by a bunch of "fundamentalists." And they made it clear to us in their comments on our reviews.

What do you do in this situation? How can we be salt and light to a group of people who want neither -- or see no need for either? I see three options:

1. Get mad right back at them. Match them attitude for attitude, invective for invective. Call names, question parentage.

Obviously not the best option if the goal is actually having them read you and think about what you've written. I admit, I've done this in other venues, and it does have a sort of hgih to it, as the adrenaline starts pumping and you wait for your opponent's next post. But nobody ever really changes their minds in a "discussion" like this, AND it feeds the stereotype of evangelical Christians as "intolerant bigots" who think that they're always right.

2. Leave. "I don't have to put up with this garbage. You all aren't worth the trouble." OR "I'm in over my head. I need to learn some more before I can hang here." Or any number of other reasons.

This is honorable, to an extent. But it does give "them" a victory -- one more fundamentalist that they've run off from their turf. But we don't have to put up with that kind of garbage.

3. Stick around, pick your battles. Make your stand on ground that matters, but don't let that be your only point of interaction. You have other interests -- use them. Post reviews about the last Grisham novel, or the DVD you just bought. Once people see that we're actually human, they can deal a little better with the fact that we're humans with different theological beliefs.

This is the path I'm following. After a big exchange on the Blogcritics Yahoo! group, I posted a short note defending myself, and others. So far, it's been received better than I expected (and the adversarial side of me was itching for a fight, too!). People there can be reasonable -- they just don't want to be beaten over the head with the Bible. I think I can understand that.

Christianity is a LOT more attractive to others when they realize that we're actual people, and not theo-bots on a mission to rule the world. Take a stand on the Truth that we believe in. But show the rest of your personality. Who knows, your next friend might just be an agnostic former Buddhist from Jersey or something.

Posted by Warren Kelly at May 27, 2005 10:31 PM | TrackBack
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