This is part two of a post I shared on Friday about how not to comment on a blog.
Since Christian blogging is a crazy beast of its own, I’ve come up with some specific guidelines for how not to look like a complete jerk or crazy person while commenting on a Christian blog.
And I made sure to come up 7 tips, cause you know, Bible numbers and stuff.
Anyway, here they are, once again in no particular order.
Post a thousand Bible verses you think prove your point and nothing else.
You own a copy of Where To Find It in the Bible. Congratulations. I’m happy for you that you can copy and paste every possible verse on a given subject out of there and share it on my blog.
You know what that doesn’t make you?
Proof-texting a bunch of Bible verses isn’t the definitive evidence you think it is. Why? Because I can just as easily rip a verse out of context and justify genocide. But nobody thinks the Bible says genocide is ok because at some level we all understand the Bible needs to be read in context.
Ok maybe not all of us.
But do yourself a favor. If you want to quote Bible verses, pick a passage, maybe two, and explain why you think it’s relevant to your argument.
Because if you just leave a laundry list of Bible verses as your comment, I’m gonna respond the same way I do to Hitler accusations.
You will be ignored immediately.
Jesus juke everything.
Jon Acuff famously and ingeniously coined the phrase “Jesus juke.”
In his words,
Like a football player juking you at the last second and going a different direction, the Jesus Juke is when someone takes what is clearly a joke filled conversation and completely reverses direction into something serious and holy.
Contrary to popular belief it is not sinful for Christians to have fun and/or make jokes. In fact, some of us like to do both quite often.
If joy and happiness are not your thing, that’s fine.
But, please, for the sake of everything that is good and holy in the world, please let the rest of us enjoy life and don’t turn every single conversation into a super serious talk about sin and salvation or a guilt trip about how we should be serving the hungry in Somalia instead of making jokes about…..well, whatever we’re making jokes about.
I’m not saying you have to join in on the fun.
But do know that every time you Jesus juke a conversation an angel loses its wings.
Rip someone apart, condemn them to hell, then offer prayer and blessings that they’ll come to see the truth…by which you mean agree with you.
You think I’m wrong. No problem, you’re free to disagree.
But you know what won’t get me to agree with you or even be interested in seeing things from your perspective?
Telling me I’m going to hell for not affirming your understanding of atonement metaphysics, then feigning grace by offering judgmental “prayer” that God will force me to see things your way.
You know what that sort of approach makes you?
Literally, I’m not using accusatory hyperbole here.
Being the Biblical expert you are I’m sure you’ll recall Jesus’ parable in Luke 18 about the pharisee and the tax collector praying. How did the pharisee pray?
“God I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evil doers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector.”
Put a little Eugene Peterson spin on that and what do you have? Half of the critical comments that appear on Christian blogs.
It’s ok to disagree and to disagree vehemently.
But don’t try to dress up your hate with false piety.
After all, you know what they say about putting lipstick on a pig….
It’s really weird. Why in the world would you put lipstick on a pig??
Criticize a post for not covering every possible theological angle and nuance.
Have I ever come across a comment that explicitly said “Why didn’t this post cover everything?”
No, of course not.
But have I come across angry comments that criticized the post for not covering every single possible theological angle and nuance, particularly the one angle the commenter feels is more important than all the others?
All. The. Time.
Do we bloggers appreciate when other views and angles are brought to the conversations we start?
But blog posts by their very nature are not intended to cover everything about a given subject, nor can they or they would cease to become blog posts.
Please, share your perspective and add to the conversation. Seriously. But don’t lecture the blogger about what you think they missed or what you think they should have covered.
Bloggers often know more than you think they do. But they have to make tough decisions about what can or cannot cover in a post without it turning into a 5,000 monstrosity that no one wants to read.
And as we all know, blogging is all about traffic and if nobody reads your post because it’s insanely long, then you won’t get any blog traffic and if you don’t get any blogging traffic nobody will know who you are and then Kent Shaffer won’t rank you in his Top 200 and then what’s the point of even blogging?!
You’ve gotta have priorities people!!
Defend a pastor for saying or doing something egregiously un-Christian.
Yeah, I know he’s your boy.
And yeah, I know he’s probably said and done some wonderful things in life.
But that really terrible, hateful, insensitive, bigoted, un-Christlike thing he said?
You don’t have to defend.
In fact, you shouldn’t.
You don’t have to turn your back on him either, but burying your head in the sand, or, worse, renarrating his hate speech as something good and righteous in the face of a “godless world” does neither of you any favors.
If you really love that pastor and really think he’s doing great things, then helping him stay on that path by calling his attention to those moments when he’s strayed off of it will do all of us a lot of good.
Jesus went so far as to tell Peter he was acting like Satan when Peter put his foot in his mouth.
So, if you have to tell your favorite pastor “Yo, bro, yeah maybe don’t say those sorts of things anymore. You’re kinda embarrassing Jesus.” and you’re feeling kinda awkward about it just think to yourself….
I’m being nicer than Jesus!!
Shame fellow Christians for criticizing other Christians and imply that criticism is a sin.
Criticism of other Christians is not a sin.
People disagree. Even Christians. That’s ok. You do it too. In fact, when you’re yelling at us bloggers for criticizing others Christians you know what you’re doing?
Criticizing other Christians.
But it’s ok. You know who else criticized other people of faith?
I mean so much they wrote 4 books about.
Do people go overboard and turn their criticism into hateful attacks? Absolutely. But once again, allow me the honor of welcoming you to adulthood where people disagree with each other and let each other know it.
When you try to shame and silence other believers for voicing their dissent, you’re not holding them accountable. You’re being a theological fascist.
You know who else silenced dissent and rebuked those who asked questions and criticized authority?
It’s kinda irrational and not very fun being compared to the Nazis isn’t it?
Call someone a liberal or a heretic when you really mean “not a Calvinist.”
This may come as a shock to your system, but there are literally millions of Christians in the world who love Jesus, are orthodox in their beliefs, and yet are not Calvinists.
In fact, and you may want to sit down for this, some of them are even conservatives.
I know, I know.
It sounds like crazy talk.
But you know what sounds even crazier?
Denouncing people as godless liberal heretics because they don’t affirm the five points of Calvinism and the five fundamentals.
If theology is your way or the highway, then in the words of the wise Twitter sage @plstepp, I would humbly suggest you grow a hermeneutic.
Well, that’s my list. If you’re a Christian blogger or just an avid Christian blog reader, what would you add to the list? Let me know in (where else?) the comments section.
Grace and peace,