A Noticeable Shift

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen a noticeable shift in focus on my blogroll. A lot of the blogs I’ve been reading that deal with faith and spirituality issues have been thinned a great deal while my writing-related blogroll has expanded substantially. I’m actually rather amused by the shift because it says something about my interest levels in these two types of blogs.

The trimming of faith-related blogs from my blogroll is not indicative of any disinterest in the topics and issues of the Christian faith. No, I’m still quite interested in such topics, and I continue to keep the “Open Dialogue forum”:http://open-dialogue.com/forum running in the event that anyone would care to use it for discussion, as still happens occasionally. The trimming does, however, reflect my dissatisfication with the vast majority of faith-based blogs on the web these days. Most of the ones I’ve read seem to ultimately only spin their wheels in an endless cycle of philosophical and theological rumination. Except that, instead of digesting truth and processing it to some worthwhile end, most of these individuals seem to prefer to spit it back out onto the ground, a warm, soggy mess that, in the end, never yields any kind of spiritual nutrition.

I guess you could say that I’ve grown frustrated with the seemingly endless process that most Christians today go through of spending entirely too much time wondering aloud about the nature of our relationship with God and what we as Christians are to do about it. It could be that these folks are, indeed, physically active in their churches and communities trying to apply the truth of Scripture to their lives and reflect Christ to those around them. If such is the case, however, it is not reflected in the content of their blogs. What I see are continual arguings and bickering among folks who are supposed to be of like mind, rehashing issues and ideas and topics that have been hashed over and over again, seemingly with no ground gained. I find this both troubling and particularly frustrating to watch and be a part of. They never leave the communities of their local churches because they’ve become mired in the process of “figuring things out” rather than taking the Good News to those who’ve never heard. They’ve lost sight of what they are to be about and what it is they are here to do.

For a while I lent my voice to the din, expressing my thoughts and sharing in the process of learningm, but in recent weeks, I’ve opted to back out and back away from most of these ongoing discussions. The words, actions, and reactions of so many involved – Christian and non-Christian alike – have served only to exacerbate my cynicism toward the American church. So, rather than continue to involve myself through this medium and risk losing myself completely to such negative attitudes, I’ve backed away and left them alone, choosing instead to take a more personal, one-on-one approach with folks via email, IM, and face-to-face encounters. And these I find much more satisfying.

In the vacuum this change has brought, I’ve begun to more aggressively pursue my writing, and so my writing blogroll has expanded to fill the void left by the trimming of my blogroll’s other half. Writing has given me that creative outlet my inner artist has so craved and proven to be much more refreshing than I could have expected. I still don’t get to write nearly as much as I’d like to yet, but I’m becoming more and more involved in the writing community. In the process I’m getting to kill two birds with a single stone – I get to write all these fun stories while being able to periodically talk about faith-related issues with interested people.

It’s an interesting ride, to say the least, and I feel content in being able to have, in some ways, the best of both worlds.

12 thoughts on “A Noticeable Shift”

  1. Hmm.. I’ve learned to stay away from follishness ever since I understood the truth of 2 Tim 2:22-23: “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”

    We’ve all seen the fools debate to their own glory. It’s sick. There’s no *love*(John 13:35) there.

    As I grow into this blogging thing, I can see how the blog-to-endless-commenting can be a problem. Mostly, because blogs & comments are written on whims, not on studied decisions.
    Likewise, blogs tend to be a personal statement of what I’ve ‘figured out’, which can be good. With the goal of clarification of knowledge of the truth, shouldn’t that be enough?
    But as I’ve written before, without any confidence in a foundation of knowledge, it’s all just speculation. “All things make sense” when you’ve thought ’em through long & hard enough..

  2. Well, first off, thanks for keeping me around.

    I do agree with you about the bickering and general loutishness I find on some Christian blogs. I’m wondering what you mean though, when you talk about the “continual arguings and bickering among folks who are supposed to be of like mind.”

    Of like mind how? I think I understand what you’re getting at but don’t want to assume. I have people on my own blogroll who differ sharply with me and each other on a great many things, some of these differences are theological. We still manage to get along okay despite the fact that in some very important ways, we are not of like mind.

    Not that this has any bearing on the real topic of your post and the decision you described, which sounds like a good one. I was just wondering, that’s all.

  3. Jim, differences in theology I can live with, so long as we agree on the basic truth of the Gospel itself. My point with the like-minded phrase was one of the unity of the Body. Somehow, Christians seem to allow these theological differences to divide the body and what results is a raging mass of anger and bitterness toward each other. This, of course, ultimately undermines the very mission we are to be about. It’s something I see occuring time and again on many blogs, these sort of arguments and disputes, and instead of working through them and learning from them, they just continue to roll in it, rendering themselves ineffective for the Kingdom. Those are the sorts of “Christian” blogs and websites I’ve been making an effort to back away from.

    Of course, it should be noted that just because I remove a blog from my blogroll, it does not necessarily mean that the owner has allowed their site to fall into this state. Some I’ve removed simply because I don’t have time to read them and because they tend to do the perpetual rehash of discussions that I feel like are, ultimately, just a lot of wheel-spinning. My reasons for trimming blogs are numerous, so it’s difficult to spell them all out in a single posting. :)

  4. I’ve been tempted to distance myself from other Christians on many occasions, Bernita, but there is an inherent danger in doing so. Walking the Christian walk by oneself is one of the most difficult things to do, and both Christ and the apostles encouraged the fellowship of believers. What I have chosen to do is distance myself from those whose practices and behaviors cause me to struggle with my own weaknesses and focus my attentions, instead, on those who build me up. That, I believe, is the way it should be done.

  5. Heh, it’s more like a gentle push to seek a healthy balance. I’ve met a lot of Christians who seem to have done this whole go-off-by-themselves thing, and I think it’s a bad trend. So everytime I encounter someone like this, I deliver my argument for balance – put distance between oneself and the divisive, argumentative crowd and close the gap between the crowd that genuinely seeks unity and fellowship despite differences in opinion. (I guess that technically fits the definition of reproof, doesn’t it?)

  6. Is it not a bit presumptuous to assume I do not have a healthy balance because I am not “institutionalized”?
    (which is what I mean by “solitary.”)
    Don’t rush to judgment.
    Such emphasizes another of the reasons I style myself “solitary.”

    If two or three are gathered together…

  7. No judgment here, Bernita. I always hestitate to remark on certain comments from people I’ve never met in real life because I know that 9 times out of 10 I’m going to be misunderstood. I don’t know you, so let me be clear that I’m not making any comments about you in particular. I don’t know your life circumstances, I don’t know how you live out and practice your faith, so my comments are not intended to be taken necessarily as specific to you (or anyone else).

    Now, my practice is to take the comments people leave here for me to read and do what I do best – fit them into a larger context. I’m an analyst, a statistician. I look at and examine the larger picture and then comment on that picture as I see it. And I’m always open to correction from others when my view errs, as it often does.

    It is true that where two or three are gathered, there Christ is in the midst of them. And there is, I believe, a place for that sort of small fellowship. (It is, in fact, the sort of fellowship in which I myself thrive, being very much an introvert.) But it is also clear to me from Scripture that we are not to limit ourselves to such small gatherings and that the local body, commonly called the local church, is an important part of how the Body, the Church is integral to its global mission.

    In all things, Bernita, I seek balance. I don’t know if you yourself limit youself exclusively to small, local gatherings of just a handful of people. Your comments would seem to indicate such, but again, I can’t say since I don’t know you. But your comments are also very similar to others I’ve heard from people that I _do_ know who _have_ forsaken the local body completely. There is a place for both the small, informal gathering and the larger, more formal one; but when one is embraced to the exclusion of the other, then I believe there is a problem, an imbalance to be identified and resolved if the Body is to function as it ought. Hence, I comment, taking the comments of one or two people who visit here and making a larger point to, hopefully, bring my readers closer to a place of balance in their thinking.

    So, I apologize if you have taken offense at my statements; truly, none was intended, and I hope this explanation helps you understand a little better the way I operate.

  8. Jim,I will admit I felt for a moment as if I was leaped upon, exhorted and warned that my way of approach is not the True Way.
    Then I was amused to remember that one of my ancestors was hanged by the Puritans in 1660 for espousing a form of approach to the Divine similar to my own.
    God keep.

  9. Well, ultimately, Bernita, it’s for you to determine what God’s will is for your pursuit of Him. If that means walking alone for a while, then more power. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with that, just long as you don’t forget that fellowship with the Body can be very refreshing. But it sounds like you haven’t forgotten that, so I’m preaching to the choir.

    I apologize for leaping upon you. That was not my intent. I cry pardon.

    And I don’t even know how to interpret that last statement. :)

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