Few things get me roiled quite like a good ol’ church bashing blog post by someone claiming to be a former leader, teacher, elder, or God-forbid a pastor that has become disenchanted by their church for some reason or another. This type of blog rears its ugly head every few months with the ebb and flow of trendy blog post topics. I can almost count on it. After a few months of school rants, parenting/ discipline guilt trips, Franken-mom makeovers, 10 things I should never eat / say/ do/ think, and of course the all too common “What’s lurking in your body/ refrigerator/ medicine cabinet/ waiting to kill you,” I know it will soon be time for another church basher of a blog that goes viral, sending shock waves through the virtual blogosphere.
But should we share such divisive opinion-based blogs?
Proverbs 17:9 states “He that covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats a matter separates friends.”
This verse speaks primarily to the dangers of taking offense at something said or done by another, and instead of exercising forbearance and forgiveness, repeating the matter to give others a reason to share or confirm that offense. That of course, causes a rift, or separation. It is one of the reasons that gossip is damaging and discouraged in numerous passages of the Bible. It is destructive and divisive.
But what about blogs? How can they create the same division spoken against in the passage above?
With church-specific blogs, I think we run a risk similar to that of friendships because the church, in essence, functions as a community of believers. We are connected, like friends, even if we do not know each and every member personally, and this connection is that of being a part of something bigger than each and every singular person. Paul called it the “body of Christ” in I Corinthians 12 and explained that each and every part has a purpose, a gift, and a role in serving the greater body as a whole.
“But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (v24b-25) NIV
Sure, there are parts of the body of Christ that may be lacking in some ways- that’s why Paul mentioned them and instructed the Corinthians, “those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty while the presentable parts need no special treatment.” (v22-24a NIV)
Admittedly, the church as a whole has problems. There are parts of it which are weaker than others of course, but we still NEED them. There are parts of the body that go unnoticed and unappreciated, probably because their membership, discipleship models, or missional programs seem mediocre and do not produce the same astonishing results as others, but those we must still treat with special honor.
And there are those parts of the body, let’s be honest, that we simply do not agree with whether it be over worship, theology, or social justice- and those I believe, we must treat with the “special modesty” spoken of by Paul. That means minimizing those differences, rather than exploiting them in a blog, for the sake of unity and equal concern for the body of Christ.
I believe the design of many of these blogs as evident through their bitter, condescending tone, is not to give honor to the various parts of the body, but rather to reveal those weaknesses and cause further division and discontent. Quite often, these basher-blogs lack the love, humility, and grace indicative of a sincerely concerned member of this body, neither do they offer a solution that engenders community, support, or common good.
So before you share that church basher blog, a wise question to ask yourself is this: Is the writer promoting love, division, or his own blog?
What do you think? Do most blogs written about churches leave you encouraged and proud of the work they are doing, in the harvest, or in spreading the gospel? Or do they leave you feeling disappointed, desperate, or divided?
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