I have never really thought about what my posts might mean to other people when I write them. I guess this blog serves as a space for me to reflect on the world and I’ve always thought of it as a “safe” place — no one knows about it except for the people I tell about it, or my twitter-friends who click over after it advertises itself there.
I cherish each comment, because it shows that what I’ve written speaks to someone — usually, to close friends who probably read out of pity or just an interest in keeping in touch — but each time a comment comes up I have been so excited to have a “conversation” about what I was thinking.
Today, I had my first negative comment — not negative like “you are stupid,” but worse: negative like “you should have thought about what you were saying more, because when you challenged this you attacked something that is good, that you agree with, and now you are going to fight to take those words back, and it will never be the same.”
So, as I am trying to focus on bar studying and surviving the next week, I am also seriously considering how my critiques might impact their subjects. Specifically, I wrote a post criticizing a shallow theological expose, and the author has challenged me to suggest better ways to reach out to a community in which Christ is not a name generally respected and revered.
It is honestly hard for me to imaging such a community, and I don’t have a platform of ideas about how to minister in a community different from America. It is harder still for me to imagine that community being won over by a shallow theological expose, but do I really have the right to criticize what I do not fully and entirely understand?
I think I do. I think that (while I certainly never intended for my attack to be linked to his post! I don’t think I did that — I don’t really even know how to do that) my words were justified, but out of context. Perhaps in the author’s world, his article was great and wonderful, but in mine it falls short. And I think that is okay — we all live in different worlds, have different circles, and approach issues differently. We all have different needs, and while non-Christians and teenagers crave one kind of dialogue, I crave a deeper, meaningful discussion of our world, of our God, and of our purpose.
I haven’t allowed the comment to post to the blog yet, but I’m sure that I will — I want to protect this space as a safe place for my own thoughts, but I also want to create an open dialogue for real theological discussions. I’m not quite ready yet, but in a few days when I’m thinking more rationally and not cramming for the biggest test of my life, I’ll be prepared to respond to it directly.
Until then, I feel moved by the dialogue I have had with the author — although we have only “spoken” indirectly, I have learned to carefully choose my methods of attack when posting about religion because, as much as I dislike those who throw Christianity around like chump change and who misunderstand and misinterpret what it means, I also love it, and want to nurture it. And I hope that, from time to time, the author will think “what am I really saying here” when he posts articles to his popular blog, because I think that adding a little substance will make the difference between people knowing Christ’s name and feeling His call.