Daily I am “meeting” new folks in the blog world. It is, as I have said before, incredibly refreshing and encouraging to connect with others who are stepping out and forging a relationship with God that is unmediated by any human authority. (I am still a bit giddy myself as I continue to apprehend my freedom in this; indeed the freedom that has been there all along, hidden behind tradition and religion.)
In blogging, and reading, and commenting, I have observed a certain trend. It is almost as though there is an unwritten rule. If it were written, it would go something like this:
“Thou shalt not disagree with anything that a fellow blogger or forum poster states as their understanding of truth. Thou shalt leave them be, since they are on their own journey with the Father. If they are in error at all, Father will, at some point, show that to them. Thou shalt not quote scripture so as to in any way disagree, admonish, or warn them of the error they have fallen into. Thou shalt only find those things thou can agree with, and so state them so as to simply encourage the writer, and allow them to carry on in believing a lie.”
It seems to be that whenever there are objections raised in any online arenas, and scripture is used as supporting the argument against some idea or statement in the post, the objector may be labeled as legalistic, or religious. The blogger may gently imply that the commentator is simply at a different place in their journey, and that they were at that place themselves in the past. In many of these exchanges, the actual scriptures mentioned are seldom refuted in a way that could be termed polemic. Most often, they are simply ignored, as personal experience and opinion are re-iterated, making it impossible for any conclusion to be reached that is based on reasoning from the word of God.
I started blogging mainly as a way to express my thoughts as I journeyed away from church attendance and all that it encompassed. I am at a point now, however, where I am re-evaluating my purpose. I have so many questions.
What is my blogging a means to an end to?
Can it replace face to face fellowship?
Do I look to scripture for all the ways I am to relate to brothers and sisters, and try to make that happen online? Is it at all realistic to expect that I can do that?
How important is what I write on my blog, and in comments on others, in the advancement of God’s kingdom and His purposes?
Should I care at all when I see others sliding into what the word of God clearly proves is error?
Are my responsibilities to them the same as they would be with my “real life” brothers and sisters, i.e. that I would be expected to encourage, exhort, admonish, and warn them as I travel with them, love them, and always have their best interests at heart?
My belief is that I AM responsible for my brothers and sisters. It is an accountability FOR them, not so much TO them. I am accountable TO God for how I treat them. The New Testament is full of instructions on how we are to relate to one another. In real life “church” it was difficult to comply to those instructions. If our online relationships are to move beyond what happened “in the building” then it would be obvious to me that we must move beyond polite platitudes and simply being members of an online Mutual Admiration Society. We must be prepared to disagree and admonish in love, and be prepared to defend the truth, even if it may upset the other person. We must also be willing to discuss, be open to learn, and be humble enough to admit when we are wrong. If we simply allow each other to express personal thoughts and feelings, what gain will there be? Freedom of exspression, yes. But we are to be upholders of the truth, and we are to speak the truth to one another, in love.
Maybe you have had similar thoughts. If you have, and have answers, or even if you don’t, please leave your comments. I would appreciate it very much. I am still learning how to go about these things.