In a very refreshing and convicting piece by Ed Eubanks Jr. at ByFaithOnline, he walks through the ethics of blogging. He criticizes his own denomination (PCA) for being the genesis of many of these blogging wars. Eubanks observes that PCA pastors have through blogging caused great division and presbyterial chaos through their uncharitable posts.
In response, he considers Schaeffer’s question How Now Shall We Then Live and applies to it to the Christian blogging community. And then sets a Scriptural standard that is to be applied not only in our personal face-to-face encounters, but also in our faceless interactions on-line:
What should be the tone and approach of our blog posts and Twitter comments? Paul writes, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). Do our blog posts demonstrate humility and gentleness? Are they a clear exercise of patience and bearing with one another in love? Are they constructed in such a way as to maintain unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?
My guess is many bloggers who followed this text– as it should be followed– would have to do a general clean-up of their blogs today. It is not that there is no room for healthy debate and discussion, but the tone of these debates and discussions is what is at stake.
As someone who has blogged for over a decade, I have done my share of damage and pugilistic posts. I have repented of them and I have erased many posts (the delete option is there for a reason). I have a process that I go through on my longer posts where I check not only grammar, but also tone. Would that wordpress provided that feature!
As we enter into the brightness of the Easter Season, we need to be reminded in this Lenten Season that our words are powerful ways of communicating who we are. Since the possibility of misunderstanding abounds, we need to be even more careful in how we write. The 9th commandments is not just for personal affairs, it is comprehensive for all affairs. We are what we write, and we write what we are.
Uri Brito is a blogging veteran and a lover of charitable discourse.