I haven't been blogging much for the last several months, and there are a few reasons for that. Sure, I've been busy. Between school stuff, interning at my church, and being part of a family whose M.O. resembles pedaling a bicycle downhill fast (we take our share of tumbles, but we get places!), there's always a lot going on. But also, I've felt the need to pull back a little from the blogosphere, to assess what my vision is for this space and for my writing and speaking in general.
There is so much anger on the internet, so much “reactivism,” as I like to call it. You can barely go on Facebook without being caught in the crossfire of Christians taking aim at brothers and sisters who differ on some point of doctrine or practice, and Twitter is worse. It breaks my heart. Galatians 5:14-15 says “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Apparently, however, many of us have become more interested in destroying God's beloved (because we consider them doctrinally impure?) than in loving one another in word and deed. And don't give me any of this nonsense about how slanderously vamping on a person's worst idea, over and over and over in a way that calls their character and intentions into question, is in fact loving. You can call hate love, but if what you're doing doesn't fall into line with the protective, hopeful, faith-filled definition of love expressed in 1 Corinthians 13, you may be lying to yourself.
Oh, I know. Plenty of people spew some pretty hateful stuff, and influence others to do so as well. Many people have been hurt, and continue to be hurt, by serious injustices caused by corrupt ideologies. But what is the best way to respond?
There's a place for righteous anger, I suppose. And patient dialogue is absolutely necessary. But here's what I believe, deep down in my marrow. Instead of pointing fingers at one another in blame, we need to be pointing our fingers toward Jesus in hope. Instead of complaining about what is wrong with the world, we need to be working toward kingdom realities. Instead of tearing people down and shaming them for not being more like us, we need to build them up and encourage them to be more like Christ–and we need them to do the same for us.
This is what I want to do in my writing, my speaking, my home, my community, anyplace God has given me influence. And I want to be intentional and strategic about it, not just reacting to whatever is WRONG on the internet that day, but planning how I can best steward my time and resources, including my words, to build up the body of Christ and work for shalom.
So I've been posting a little less, but I hope that in the long term it will lead to me writing even more. I love the conversational aspect of the blogosphere and social media, but sometimes, I need to step back so I can speak out of what God is saying to me, instead of responding to how other people are speaking about God and one another. I want to be like a tree planted by streams of water, yeilding fruit in season. Let's refuse to “sit in the seat of the scornful.”