Yesterday, I got into a discussion with one of my classmates about The Bible mini-series. I wasn’t able to catch the first episode but I received some not so great feedback from multiple sources. Sure enough, my classmate wasn’t impressed either and gave me his reasons. He noted how a number of people were commenting on Facebook about it but then indicated that he didn’t want to post anything about it because he didn’t want to be ‘that guy’. You know ‘that guy’. It was the person who decided to give their two cents about everything that was wrong with the production. He observed that a number of folks were providing positive feedback and seemed to edified by it. Why burst their bubble? he reasoned.
It made me think of that post I had mostly written for my blog and intended to finish. It was a post about a very popular movie that probably every Christian has seen except for me though I have seen many clips. I wanted to write about why I could not bring myself to see the movie and why I thought the focus was wrong. Yet, the more I wrote the more I hesitated. So during the course of this conversation with my classmate, it hit me that maybe the reason my hesitation increased was because I would have deflated some enthusiasm from what most people found edifying. Now I believe my reasons were valid. But just because I could doesn’t mean I should, especially if it would have dimmed somebody’s hope unnecessarily.
It made me cognizant of asking the ‘so what’ question – what is the purpose of writing this? In the world of instant publishing of thoughts, ideas, challenges, instruction, critiques, etc. I think this is a question that must be at the forefront of posting. It is easy for bloggers to become ‘that guy’, making sure the audience knows everything that is wrong with a statement or a position or a person or a ministry. I’ve been ‘that guy’ (or rather that chick). Justification is easy enough because people need to be informed and it is our duty to inform them. Or so we reason.
Now, I’m not saying there isn’t time for critiques. There are some dangerous ideas floating around contrary to the tenets of Christianity. But another component of ‘so what’ should compel us to look at the logical implications for an idea. In other words, what is the consequence to the Christian faith if this idea or position is embraced? What does it ultimately change regarding the character and works of the triune God? Often, I find reactions far outweigh careful analysis. Fingers start typing and the publish button is pushed because something might sound dangerous at first glance. Or it could just be that it is an affront to our theological system because of course we’ve figured it out perfectly.
I do like instructive posts that challenge my thinking and provide me with a perspective I haven’t thought of, especially when they come from persons who have poured significant study into what they are proposing. I am often encouraged to write those kinds of posts myself. But reflecting on my unpublished post, I realized there is a difference between being instructive and being provocative. There’s nothing wrong with the latter as long as it serves the purpose of the former. Just throwing thoughts out there because they are different may undermine good instruction. That is the conclusion I came to and deleted the post. It wasn’t worth it.
A passage of scripture that has been driving my thoughts behind the ‘so what’ question is this:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
I think the goal of blogging about matters of Christianity out to encourage this, even for instruction and critiques. Yes, that is a delicate balance. How do you write thoughtfully and yet critically, especially when rejecting a position or such? I’m sure I have failed in this endeavor. But in the end, it is for the purpose of thinking about what is true and honorable, pure and lovely, etc. It is about honoring Christ after all and proclaiming him (Colossians 1:28). This is what ultimately edifies and should provoke careful thought in asking ‘so what’. Otherwise, we can be clanging gongs feeling good that we addressed some important issue but really did provoke thoughts on the right thing.
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