Theological Blogging

I entered into this little project with serious concerns for it. I experienced no delusions of grandeur. To be quite blunt, I’ve been reading these blogs for around two years–back when Strodtbeck was still a fearsome pirate and Dan was still young–and simply wondered if I might be able to contribute something positive to the medium. I’m not convinced that I have. I am interested in what is lately being suggested for the Lutheran blogsphere–that it somehow might evolve into a force to be reckoned with within the Missouri Synod, to call her back from apostasy and set her on the doctrinal straight and narrow.

The power of the blog has certainly been demonstrated in the political realm. Bloggers sometimes prove themselves to be meticulous creatures with a nose for news. They have certainly unearthed a good deal of dirt and caused some serious actions to be taken.

The problem with theological blogging is that the dirt-publishing that keeps people honest in the secular world is absolutely inappropriate within the church. More bandwidth is used to drag names like Kieschnick and Benke through the mud than you could shake a stick at. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone made a pithy little Ablaze joke. I’d probably, and most unfortunately be a rich man. Or how about a scathing retort to a weaker Christian?

My concern with the direction it seems Lutheran blogs tend to want to take is twofold: the first concerns the 8th Commandment. I wonder how many of those have actually taken the time and the courage to actually contact those with whom they have concerns. It’s in part what Jesus Christ himself says in Matthew 18. With all these amazing forms of communication and expression, it seems a simple thing to fire off a private email to someone instead of posting an article on the internet for anyone to read. It’s a much more evangelical–in the strict sense–thing to do. And honestly, is it impossible to put the best construction on Ablaze? If it’s the quantifying of the witness that you’ve got a problem with, that seems an easy one to get over. Proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to those who have not heard is certainly a big part of what we the church are about.

The second concern is along the lines of AC XIV. The idea that bloggers might provide an undercurrent to overhaul the Synod flies in the face of this Article of the Augustana. The issue is public teaching in the name of the Church without a regular call. To start such a movement undermines the ministries of those who are indeed rightly called to function as God’s mouthpiece in that place.

I was going to write about family systems theory psychology, but that may have to wait for now. I’m out of steam and out of time for the moment.

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3 Responses to Theological Blogging

  1. Anonymous says:

    D here…
    OSC, thanks for your candor. I especially appreciated your point about Article XIV, something I hadn’t yet considered.
    As for the 8th commandment, that has been a burning issue for me. It has led me to pretty much cease theological blogging altogether. It became impossible to make a remotely theological post without somebody jumping down my throat. I experienced nowhere near the things I’ve seen friends and strangers go through due to their blog posts. I have fired off private emails to people before. One of those times it brought about repentance, but most of the time I either got something back to the effect of, “Mind your own business,” or my email was lost in the void of cyberspace as I saw the same people repeat the same detestable behavior. While I did not start out with delusions of grandeur, I did begin with delusions of helping keep the discussion sane. I’ve burned out and given up, and have ceased reading the blogs that troubled me. Is ignorance bliss? Sometimes…

  2. Anonymous says:

    One more thing…
    The most maddening response I received when confronting people on publicly humiliating others or damaging the reputation of others was something like, “Public sin has to be rebuked publicly in the most direct manner possible.” It’s amazing how the Old Adam can convince one that a move based completely on dominance, power and pride could possibly be pious and helpful to a weaker brother.

  3. Joe Fremer says:

    OSC,

    I appreciate the way you are wrestling with the value of theological blogging –you express reservations I myself have had.

    I think it is possible to proclaim truth. It’s the first priority.

    I think it is possible, though more dangerous, to expose error–but it must not be a personal attack, and every effort must be made to keep personae out of it. It that isn’t possible, maybe it ought to be left alone. But exposing error seems to me to be a second priority. The preferred way to counteract error is to promote truth.

    I’m not lecturing you, just trying to show the basic principles I have tried to adhere to as I struggle with this. It’s a work-in-progress. Thanks for helping me think through some of these things.

    Joe–>

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