Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Understanding and Opinion

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing personal opinion.
-Proverbs 18:2
I was reading Proverbs yesterday and I came across this verse. I remember seeing someone on a "Christian" discusssion board use this verse to insult someone else for having an uninformed opinion. Christian discussion boards have long been horrid pits of hate and arrogance, and I wonder to what extent the same thing is or will become true of blogs.

The challenge with a verse like this is the same as the challenge with the Bible as a whole. All too often we forget that it is addressed to "me" and not to "the other guy". If that last sentence seemed worded a little awkwardly, it's because what I'm saying is impossible to really say to someone else. I want to challenge you (whoever you are) to consider it as applied to yourself, and yet the very principle itself forces me to apply it only to myself. And I need that too.

Among the things this verse asks me is this: "Why do you blog?"

It's certainly true that I blog with the hope of influencing the thinking of other people. A pious part of me wants to consider this "ministry" in some way, but honesty compels me to admit that it is, at least in equal measure, a fool taking pleasure in expressing his personal opinion.

One of the joys of blogging that I discovered only after I started doing it is the community it develops. Who would have thought that community can develop from a bunch of people standing up on soap boxes and spouting off about whatever is on their minds? And yet as people drop by and tell me what they think of what I think, and as I visit their blogs and see what they think, community does happen.

But within this context something else happens that I would like to be the reason I blog. I grow in understanding. A lot of times I'll write something, and I'll say it "in words as hard as cannonballs" as if I know what I'm talking about. But the real reason I chose the topic is that I'm exploring it, trying to gain understanding. Some of this comes from just getting my thoughts out of my head and onto the screen. Then reading what I thought often teaches me something. But, of course, feedback from other people can help more than anything. (So stop lurking and say hello!)

I'd like that to be the reason I blog. It's what I aspire to. I was visiting the Here We Stand blog the other day and in the discussion on one post Josh said to someone, "Try thinking instead of reacting. It can be fun." A bit harsh, but he captured the problem with so much online "Christian" "discussion".

Note to self: listen to other people.

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