Grrr, Can’t we all just get along?

This is one of those posts I’m going to write and then wish I hadn’t hit the “publish” button.

Something I’m noticing in the blogosphere among those who follow Christ is that we are amazingly sarcastic, critical, uppity, and insensitive. And that’s just to each other. I don’t know how that comes off to those who don’t want to follow Christ. We get a criticism or comment on a post that we don’t like and we blast the writer. God forbid they choose to be anonymous. And then our blog groupies pile on in our defense. We call other churches lame because of the mistakes they might have made in attending to our every need. We don’t like the music, we think they are stuck in another time period and completely missing the movement we are giving our lives for. We make fun of our own spiritual upbringing which may or may not apply to many currently.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh. Stop it.
Do we really have to give a jab at someone to prove how smart and hip we are? I’m not advocating being sticks in the mud but sometimes the banter gets downright ugly and embarrassing to read. I’m sure I’ve done the same as someone will most likely point out to me! 🙂

There is also a lot of “they” talk about big churches vs small, measuring attendance, measuring any sort of stat, performance, worship, the arts, traditional, modern, post modern, emerging…I don’t disagree that there are challenges to be made and conflict and controversy that needs to be discussed. I just tire of the “all mega churches this and all emerging churches that…” Or being critical of sharing the “this is how we do it” tips as grandstanding or fishing for compliments. I’m losing my energy now so I’m assuming that my venting is coming to a close.

Seriously though. Am I off base? What information am I missing that will change my point of view?

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Penseroso on April 4, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    Well, I for one used to follow Christ (or tried to) and don’t anymore. I attended an Episcopal church and was proud of the Anglican tradition. I looked down on other protestant denominations. I thought they were too primitive or fundamentalist or just too plain . . . plain. I mean, we Episcopalians took real wine for communion, not grape juice. Anyway, I think I secretly just wanted to be Catholic.

    Anyway, I’m an atheist now, and let me tell you — advertise that you are an atheist and you will see the fangs and claws come out . . . from “love thy neighbor” Christians!

    Reply

  2. I know that you’re never supposed to communicate anything emotional through email – it just gets misunderstood and comes off as way more harsh than we meant it. Same thing happens in blogs, I guess. Especially with the anonymous nature of them and the cryptic labels for their authors.

    But isn’t the blogosphere (sp?) filled with hopefully healthy debate and discussion? Whether it’s about churches or politics or which American Idol sings best or what’s the best parenting techniques… it just seems like blogging is all about discussions like this with people all over the planet from all walks of life. It should be like sitting in the coffee shop or pub and having a lively conversation. Especially when no one is forced to read it and can immediately surf off in another direction. Admittedly, I believe this works best when we hold our arguments loosely and admit that we don’t have it all figured out ourselves – but to each his or her own.

    I guess there might be bloggers who only exist to tear others down – I just wouldn’t spend much of my valuable time at their site. I’m sure there are times when I’ve overstated my case insensitively or arrogantly in a sleep-deprived fit of late night typing (like I’m doing right now! Crap!)… but I hope we all give each other the benefit of the doubt to a certain extent.

    So, I guess I agree on the cheap shots and peanut gallery sniping, but not so much on the limiting of discussion subjects. If two church geeks want to argue big church vs little church, or the value of different strategies – why shouldn’t they? (And no one gets much church geekier than I do.)

    And Pensoroso, sorry for the fangs and claws – we Christians can sometimes be an ugly lot when we feel cornered and defensive. We should be selfless and sacrificing and loving, but when it comes right down to it, it’s hard to overcome the fact that we’re just insecure human beings like everyone else.

    And I, too, am a recovering Episcopalian.

    Reply

  3. I don’t mind the debate. I love a good debate or even a bad one. I suppose I cringe at the jabs recalling my own days of sarcasm for evil and not for good! Maybe this is just my own little therapy session. Thank you all for participating! And church geeks are always welcome here. I should clarify, I don’t think there is a need to limit topics at all. This should all be fair game. But sometimes I detect an attitude of name calling even if its not blatant. Anyway, I was hoping you’d weigh in on this. You always have an angle I miss!

    And I’m thinking of all the fun little jokes I’d like to use right now for my friend Penseroso but I would violate my own post. Crap. Now I’m going to have to delete it. I AM a stick in the mud. My worst fears realized.

    Reply

  4. I agree, Joni. Anytime I read a blog where someone has an interpretation about a psalm, or even just an opinion about religion in general, there seems to be a posse of “haters” just waiting to pounce. I am always amazed at how UN-“Christian” these Christians can be. I, too, am all for a healthy debate… but most times these people are totally unwilling to consider any other “side” than their own.

    Reply

  5. I, for one, don’t think that schism is necessarily a bad thing in that allows a variety of expressions of the core truths of Christianity. This variety of expressions can attract a variety of people. It may even be possible that Scripture is less explicit than it could have been about some doctrinal issues on purpose.

    Check it out: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1JOHN%204:3;&version=49;

    Reply

  6. BTW, I was agreeing with you, Joni. Now that I read what I wrote that doesn’t seem as obvious as I meant it to be.

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  7. I’ve been thinking the same thing, as of late. It is somewhat disconcerting seeing people from similar denominations blast each other over what differences there are, and calling them crazy, heretics or worse.

    Of course, it makes me want to step in and tell them how FREAKIN’ WRONG THEY ARE

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  8. .. but that would make me part of the problem, wouldn’t it?

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  9. I believe the arithmatic used in the Bible says it all for me…there was only one who walked on the water with Christ and that was Peter and I believe we are ALL Peter if we choose to climb over from the safety of the boat to the trust of the water.
    I tried churches-once years and years ago and more recently I found a place that failed me when they wanted me to put a bumper on my vehicle saying ‘Bush’. Of course-I said NO and they freaked thinking I was going to vote for the other guys. Imagine their stunned surprise when I said I NEVER vote for the Lord is my LEADER.
    Do you realize how much a pastor thinks he’s the word of God only interpreter-it is dangerous.
    So the formal church-the love your brother guys….snubbed me-because of a man who farts just like the rest of us and faces the same thing we all do-they said he was (Bush) going to snuff out abortion…ask all the dead soldiers returning from Iraq how that is going!
    So folks quit shaking my hand and giving that false smile and feeling no love from them I quit showing up.
    Guess what? The cloud of doom they promised-oh yeah,the preacher come here and said so and claimed he was in the power of God by saying so,but the power of doom never came and my heart has never changed-I LOVE GOD and the coolest things GOD does to show I can LOVE GOD and GOD loves me….with out a church.
    Ahhh…but I’m the first one in my family ever to get written out of the church. Thats better than a degree!

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  10. Yeah Mark. I wrote the post and in doing so did the same thing I posted about–revealed my own “they” mentality. I suppose that’s the beauty of venting–realization. So now its in print for all to see and not just in a personal notebook at home. Rats.

    Hey Jay-sorry about your church experience. That kind of sucks. I hope that if you do want some authentic community, that God would send it your way. It does exist. Unfortunately, churches are filled with people who screw up.

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  11. I can appreciate this blog and the comments on several levels, first of all – Joni – I recently wrote a fuming blog after a personal incident and for almost two weeks have debated over keeping it public, so I understand the torture over posting true feelings that you think might really get you into trouble. I actually made it private yesterday because my conscience wouldn’t cease.

    Also – through the process of my husband and I getting to know other couples in the church and spending time with people that are fresh to the church that i’ve been committed to and loved for fourteen years, we’ve discovered more and more of that disgruntled, bickering, pointing out every flaw about the church we all attend conversation occurring. I’ve come away from those conversations very upset with myself for letting them happen because I should know better than to encourage that and even more with people who I don’t even know that well.

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  12. Posted by glandheim on April 5, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    I guess I generally don’t read those blogs. Most of the Christians who visit my blog are really decent folk. I make no pretense to being a Christian, and nobody has given me flak about it.

    I visit the blogs of my online friends, and I don’t see a lot of the sniping you’re complaining about. I do remember one time a few months ago (come to think about it, it might have been here) when I got really upset because a couple of people were verbally duking it out. It didn’t bother me that they were arguing, but that their arguments were dishonest, and they both seemed bright enough that I thought they had to know that they were dishonest.

    I’ve tossed off a casual comment once in awhile that has irritated someone. Usually I apologize. Sometimes I ignore them. But I’ve generally been treated very politely, even when I am overly abrupt and less than tactful.

    I remember once when I didn’t like something someone wrote. I said something that I regretted immediately, as it was tactless and boorish. She wrote me a personal email and asked how she could have done her post better. We ended up exchanging several lengthy emails.

    Maybe I just don’t get out enough to the Christian blogs. I’m mostly either keeping up on the people I know that read my blog, or I’m searching for other poets so I can read their stuff. But I haven’t experienced a lot of sniping. If anything, I get bored with all of the one-line comments that basically say “You done good,” or “Your words just make me want to bask in God’s light.”

    I like to read substance. I’ll take a little sniping over mindless pats on the back any day.

    Atta Girl, Joni:)

    Reply

  13. I surf through a few tags now and then and it’s the ones who come across as “I’m right, you’re wrong, end of story” that are frustrating. There’s room in the Kingdom for different views on a few things here and there. I don’t feel threatened by someone who thinks differently. In fact, we’re probably all a little bent here and there! I actually wrote a post in response to the same sorts of things — not the sniping so much, but the adamant and aggressive tone of the “proof text arguments.” So far I haven’t been blasted… maybe it’s only a matter of time!

    Also, blessings and peace (really, not just because they’re churchy words) as you care for your kitty.

    Reply

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