Thursday, June 18, 2009

When Blogs Get Too Big for their Britches

Early last month, I endorsed a particular blog in the comments section of one of my old posts. I read an excellent article by another blogger in reference to an issue that I am very passionate about. The author concluded the article with the question, "What do you, the readers think?" I replied via comment on the other blog, thanking the author for addressing the topic. I also provided a link back to my own article on the subject, in an effort to foster more discussion from his readers. Mind you, I was not giving a random link back to my own site just for the sake of promoting my own blog -- I was giving a specific link to one specific article I wrote, an article which is dear to my heart, and one which I thought would contribute further insight for people looking for answers.

My comment was rejected.

Before posting my comment, I was careful to make sure that external links are allowed (and they are). I had written nothing offensive. In fact, my intention was 1) Praise for the author; and 2) An offer to help stimulate discussion by linking back to my own article. Yet, my comment was never published. To add insult to injury, the author chose to publish some very offensive comments, including one man's suggestion that men should not get involved with women over a certain age if they plan on having a lot of children. Needless to say, the worldly nature of this discussion, coupled with its selfish, sexist attitude toward sisters in Christ made me angry!

This experience caused me to reconsider my own endorsement of this particular blog and revoke my previous comment issuing a "kudos" to the author in question. Perhaps that was childish of me. Perhaps I should still congratulate this blogger for his choice to address a subject I feel is important, even though he chose to reject my contribution to the discussion. But I can't.

This particular blog is sponsored by a very famous ministry. Dare I assign motive to this ministry? Could it be that they were threatened by my article? Am I conceited enough to think that? Or am I simply too familiar with the sin of pride that I recognize it right away when I see it in others? In any case, I was given no answers, so I am left with my assumptions that the only reason my comment was not published on the site is because I linked back to my own (even though external links are allowed). And if that's the case, I'm going to confess to everyone out there in blog land that I had fallen into the sin of anger over that. While my anger has ceased and my sin confessed, my concern about why I was originally angry has not.

There are times when I suspect that certain ministries become too big for their britches. Instead of wanting to truly foster fruitful discussions that might help others come to a decision about an issue they are struggling with, these blogs are more about keeping certain ideas local to themselves. In other words, "we don't want anyone else getting the credit for these insights, so let's not publish this link. That way, we continue being seen as the experts on this subject."

Are your articles intended to help others see what an awesome God we serve, or are they designed to help your readers see what an awesome writer you are?I have absolutely no reason to believe that this particular ministry falls into this category other than a strong, intuitive suspicion. And yes, I know that assigning motive to someone else's heart is a dangerous thing to do. I realize and acknowledge that my heart is just as deceitful and sinful as anyone else's. Yet I can't shake the suspicion that had I simply lavished praise on the author and left it at that, my comment would have been published. Regardless, this is a large and popular ministry -- one that will never write me back or explain why they chose to reject my comment, and I could go on forever speculating without any real proof. So I am not going to push my accusations further. But I do want to raise the following question to all you Christian bloggers out there (including myself):

Why are you blogging?

Honestly ask yourself that question. What are you blogging for? Is it for God's glory, or your own? Has everything you've published been led by the Holy Spirit, or your own flesh? Are your articles intended to help others see what an awesome God we serve, or are they designed to help your readers see what an awesome writer you are?

I'd like to think that I'm not above the "nobody bloggers" out there. Truly, in the two and a half years that Reformed SHEology has been in existence, I have chosen to reject only one comment. (It was written by a local friend who had a personal issue with me and chose to address it on my blog, which I felt was inappropriate.) I'd like to think that I'm not conceited in that I'd welcome anyone who was gracious enough to comment on what I've written here. Then again, there is another part of me is seriously questioning why I once heralded that other ministry in the first place. And in doing so, I realize that I am not above doing what was done to me. You see, there was a time when I wanted to write for the very same blog that recently rejected my comment. And there is only one reason why I wanted to write for them: because they are a big, famous blog. Shame on me!

Father, forgive me for wanting to write for a big, famous blog, when You have given me a voice right here. Not only have You given me a voice, but the freedom of creative control over this site, and the liberty to write as You direct, and not as some editor-in-chief directs me. May I never grow prideful of the following You have given me. May I never write for numbers, but for Your glory. May I always realize that there are millions of others out there with good things to say -- things You have placed on their hearts, and that I am not the only one with a voice to proclaim Your glory. May I never shut down the voices of those to whom You have given similar insights. You speak through all of us, not just me.

I would humbly like to thank our readers, our followers, our supporters, and our God for allowing us to have this blog at all. I thank you all for your kind words of encouragement over the past two and a half years. You inspire me to continue sharing for your edification, and not my own. My prayer is that I may continue to encourage you, the person I have never met, whether you have made yourself known to me or not, and that I may see myself as your servant whenever I push the publish button. That has not always been the case, but if you see new articles here less and less often than you used to, please know it is in an effort to place emphasis on glorifying God, rather than catering to our readers.

God be praised.

4 comments:

Kiara P. said...

Wow, thank you so much for writing this article. This blog has been very edifying to me and I'm very thankful for your willingness to continue to write for the Lord's glory. That is a very honest question and I'm so glad you asked it- hit me like a ton of bricks!

Grace and Peace

Betsy Markman said...

"...that I may see myself as your servant whenever I push the publish button."

That's such an awesome outlook!

I try to pray for the people who visit my blog, especially if my StatCounter gives me some insight into where they're coming from and what they were searching for when they stumbled onto my site. I remember one in particular who had Googled the phrase "I sin too much," and found my site that way. Oh how I prayed for that precious soul who was so clearly under the conviction of the Holy Spirit!

But too often I find myself checking my stats because I want bigger numbers. Pride is a relentless enemy, isn't it? Thanks for fighting the good fight against it, and reminding us to do the same.

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

Hello Jen;

Although I'm a new comer to your blog, I've appriciated it very much. God's given a lot of us a voice on the net and an oppertunity to share what's on our hearts with like mided people.

I've had that same experiance with other "theological" bloggers who said they'd welcome open dialogue and when I posted some of my ideas on their blog they ended up deleting them (after originally posting them) saying they were "too long". Personally, I think it was just that this person didn't want me to "one up him" in knowledge of the material I'd responded to.

Oh well, anyways!

I'm sorry your feelings were hurt by this. We often expect more of people who (at least claim to be) fellow Christians. Know though that that's ok. I'm sure there were times the disciples said or did things that hurt Jesus's feelings; so, know your in good company - God understands.

So yeah, we move on and chalk things up to experiance. Yeah, there's bloggers out there who blog to gain a following, others who do it as a ministry. Me, I blog mostly for fellowship reasons and though my current blog isn't particularly theologically motivated; I still just like to share.

So, maybe someday I will start more of a "theological" blog -- who knows! I'll be sure to invite ya! LOL. For right now though, I appriciate your cander and willingness to look at things. It truely is a gift and a blessing from God to be that honest. Yeah,
I too get a lot of people who reject my ideas outright, sometimes because they didnt' think of them. LOL

Any how,
We don't have to know everything and we don't have to be the frist ones to come up with some idea. If it's truth - it didnt' come from us in the fist place - ya know!

So, if the people who are running this other blog are gonna be a bunch of twits! Let'em be a bunch of twits - all you (or me) are required to do is walk the road God put before us!

God bless,
hope my comment has brought you some cheer!

Jennifer said...

Thank you all for your encouragement! This incident occurred about six or seven weeks ago and I wanted to post this right then and there, but decided to wait a bit so that any memory of that comment I posted here would not linger in anyone's memory. I truly don't want to "out" that other blog. But it did upset me that the author's last sentence of the original article was, "What do you, the readers think?" And then decided not to publish a link to my own thoughts on the same subject. It's still difficult for me to understand what the real reason may have been. All I know is, it was so discouraging and I don't want to do that to others!