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They Will Know Us By Our Angry Blogs


May 31 2013
It’s time for Christians to tone down the controversy and show some love.

It's hard to believe that not so long ago, I didn't know my Mark Driscoll from my Donald Miller, had never heard of Rachel Held Evans, and didn't know what a Patheos was. Tucked snugly within the ivory tower, I had never set virtual foot inside the Christian blogosphere. But all that has changed and because of the online realm of Christian blogging, my world has been made bigger, and for the most part, richer.

Despite the connections made and lessons learned online, controversy remains the lifeblood of the blogosphere. Indeed, polemics have a long, grand tradition within church history. But when Martin Luther called heretics "asses," his motive of upholding doctrine wasn't mingled with the side benefit of driving traffic to his site through sensationalist headlines and reader outrage.

Now, centuries after Luther, the disembodied, instantaneous nature of today's Internet communication cultivates and rewards acrimony where there should be love. To this point, Alastair Roberts observed in response to a recent blogosphere brush-up an "almost pathological need to take offence" that prevails. Compound such a pathology with the celebrity culture (yes, even among Christians) and the tribalism that dominate our media-saturated world, and there's no wonder that something as quiet as love gets left in the virtual dust.

Not that love means lack of disagreement. To the contrary, the biblical admonition to speak the truth in love assumes error and therefore disagreement. Yet, despite these disagreements, I remember it being said somewhere that the world will know we are Christians, not by being right, but by our love for one another.

I love that I learn so much from my brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those whose doctrines, interpretations, and practices differ from mine. I love that the body of Christ is adorned in a digital patchwork cloak of variegated patterns and hues. Such a garment scratches a bit from time to time and fits ill in a few places. The gospel is one-size-fits-all, not a custom tailored suit, after all. Still, in all its texture and variety, it is a gorgeous garment indeed.

So in that spirit, I wanted to offer some loving words to a handful of those in the blogosphere who seem to be lightning rods for controversy and criticism—oftentimes civil, constructive, loving, and deserved criticism, but sometimes not. Obviously, I don't agree with everything any one of these people says or does, but they are my brothers and sister in Christ, and so I love them. Here are some reasons why.

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