Obviously, I am a novice at blogging, and some would say that I am just a novice. I grew up as a country boy in the backwoods of South Carolina. In my hometown, “he done it” and “we was” are considered proper grammar. Words certainly were not as eloquent as the mighty Keats in “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.” In fact, words more commonly resulted in fisticuffs than eloquence. Not that I minded a good school yard brawl. In fact, I enjoyed them a little too much which led to my underdevelopment of sesquipedalian verbal appendages. Deep within the pit of my wicked heart still lies a seed that would love to return to the boyish days and settle a few disputes behind the playground. I sometimes find such conflict resolution more gentlemanly than what we see from grown men. In those days, a bloody nose and five minutes of fury resulted in a problem solved and two people who respected each other. Nowadays, personal disputes lead to years of conflict with political positioning. Personal disputes lead to chess matches where pawns are played and lost without concern by the master chess players employing deviously sacrificial moves without concern for sacrificed pawns. Personal disputes lead to character assassinating blogs which totally ignore passages such as those found in 1 John. Such blogs have emerged against denominational leaders, and against local church pastors. No one possesses exemption from the dissident. The masters among them employ similar techniques a few of which I will now discuss and make no claim to have mastered myself.
First, write well. The pen truly is mightier than the sword at least among the civilized and educated audiences. Those who can “turn a phrase” with humorous eloquence gain a following through entertaining prose.
Second, write occasional transparent posts. These bloggers understand that few will follow a ruthless evil villain, but if the blogger can apologize for a wrong committed (even if it is in the comment section) or write a personal interest story about a nice deed, some people will like him. Perhaps this comes from our culture of desiring transparency or perhaps this has always been true of the masses. The masses need to identify with the writer. Whether that comes from stories about family, revelation of deep childhood wounds, or apologies, transparency relaxes the readers’ guard. Despite the transparency being calculated and partial, some readers accept the words of and identify with the vilest offender.
Third, either shortly before or after the transparency, comes a return to spewing bile. Here the dissident does his most damage. With carefully worded half-truths or partial stories twisted to create an air of distrust and a picture of deception the craftsman spews dangerous bile from the keys of the keyboard for the world to see. “Collateral damage” (hurting Christian brothers and sisters; hurting people’s families; destroying careers and futures) appears on all sides as the bile spews forth.
It’s a dangerous balance and one that only a few have mastered. You must write extremely well to keep the audience reading and returning. You must not spew so much bile that everyone turns against you. (Although one wonders in this world how much is too much.) You must be transparent enough to have readers identify with you, like you a little, and take up your cause. The problem with this formula is that the truly discerning must compare the bitter bile against the words of 1 John 3:10-15.
1 John 3:10-15 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
May we all recognize the personal attacks and personal efforts of bloggers to destroy others for what they are—sin. And may we all abandon such causes and return to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost. But then again, I’m just a country boy from South Carolina, so I could be wrong.