Yesterday was the day with the second most hits on my blog and I was being nice. By far the most popular post of all time was my post a week ago where I criticized the Christian music industry. This is a small blog of marginal importance on the very edge of the interwebs so in either case, the numbers remain insignificant. But considering that previously the most hits on my blog were generated predictably and disturbingly by posts reflecting on sex, pornography, bad language and my children, it is something of surprise that my thoughts on Christian music generate such excitement (I also had a book review on New Testament Textual Criticism which sends slow but steady traffic to my blog, so go figure).
Sociologically, I find it fascinating that when I criticize Christian music many of those who commented, whom I don’t even know, got upset a t my self-righteousness and judgmentalism. When I reflected on artists I like,It was primarily my friends who commented. In either case, I am happy that my blog posts opened up discussion. I would rather get people talking than have people swallow my opinions or silently hate me (at least have the courage to hate me out loud). Also found it interesting that my criticisms draw large amounts of people to my blog for the first time (because of the amount that my post was shared) but when you say nice things much less excitement is generated.
What is it about us that likes a fight? I’m the same way. If a friend posts something critical of something I like or don’t like, I feel drawn to it. But when people are generous and kind online, it doesn’t register on my radar in the same way. There is a certain pastor (who if I invoke his name here I will get a bunch of extra hits on my blog) who I sometimes listen to his sermons or watch video clips of just to see if he says something asinine. Certainly there is something unhealthy about this.
And why do so many online arguments devolve to name calling and demonizing the other? Can you read something online and disagree without making judgments about someone’s intelligence, character or spiritual vitality? Does online communication bring about people’s inner Pharisee? Are we more loving, generous and understanding in real life? Why are we more willing to give people the benefit of the doubt if we see the whites of their eyes? Do we abstract the personhood of people we never met (because their reality is only abstract to us to begin with)?
On this blog, I make critical judgments about music, books and authors I’ve read, the state of the church and ministry today, the language we use, practices which nourish us versus practices that harm us, etc. I think it is important to test everything and hold fast to what is good. But I do hope that this blog is more generous than critical. This world needs more than naysayers; it also needs those who will exclaim the good and the manifold ways that the Spirit of God is at work. And for the sake of our own spirits, we need to people who get more excited about that than some yokel who points out that the trite, banal and the bad.
And come on people! That post was mostly poking fun at Carman!