@philritchie: Gerard Kelly laying into Christian bloggers 'saying things to each other we'd never dream of saying if we were in the same room'. #sh2013Gerard also referred to the way some interacted on Twitter and Facebook and wondered how good friends he knew could end up at the point where they even questioned if the other was a Christian anymore. Some people were surprised and annoyed by this and wanted to challenge the assertion. I must admit this surprised me because I have been dismayed again and again at the way some Christians have attacked one another on-line. I think of some of the comments and posts flying around on-line following the General Synod vote on Women and the Episcopacy; the tone of discussions over equal marriage and more recently responses to George Carey's comments over Easter about Christians and persecution. Let me be clear, my dismay has not been about the merits of people's position but the tone and language of some of the discourse. This of course is not limited to blogging and social media interaction but let's not pretend it doesn't go on.
Gerard was not attacking Blogging, Twitter and Facebook. He is a blogger, uses Facebook and is one of the most imaginative writers on Twitter as the author of @twitturgies. He was simply pointing out what I took to be blindingly obvious. I did wonder why some were so defensive about the comment and its questioning of on-line behaviour. It is not unreasonable to ask people to step back and reflect on the way they interact with others on-line and to question why they feel free to say things to others via digital communication that they would not say face to face. Again this is not about avoiding argument and disagreement, it is about how we engage in these controversies.
As the discussion on Twitter developed some of us switched to discussing the merits of blogging as Christians. I mentioned that I was ambivalent about continuing to blog and had 'sort of lost heart'. In part this is because of what I have mentioned earlier in this post. I recognise in myself the danger of firing off self righteous and intemperate posts which do neither myself and those I am writing about much good. I shudder to think about some of what I have written and then deleted before hitting the publish button.
As it happens I have only published one post on my blog since Christmas and to be honest I haven't missed it as much as I thought I would. However, I have been surprised and encouraged by some of my blogging colleagues' comments and challenged to think again about chopping down the Treehouse. I want to thank them both for this debate and for their blogging which I continue to value and frequently link to via Twitter and Facebook.
For Doug Chaplin's reflection on the same discussion check out Is blogging worth it?
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