Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Open Letter to Theo-Bloggers: If You Have Nothing to Say, Say Nothing

Dear Comrades in Theo-Blogging,

If you have made your way to our modest corner of the internet this last week, you may have noticed that there were five days between the last two posts. That's a pretty big gap for a blog whose contributors used to call each other a few times a week to make sure that each day was covered. The thought of five silent days then would have been, well, unthinkable.

Those were the days. The days when I constantly felt that I had intellectual fodder for new posts. The days when the input from my six years of theological education was mostly untapped for the sake of public discourse. I always had something to say.

But it's been a few months since that time and I don't spend as much time reading theology as I did then. I am now married and working and simply do not have as much time to. Some of us at CiC have kids, some of us just don't have time, and most of us seem to occasionally be running short on ideas for new posts (we're getting "blogger's block"). Good thing we just added Ian, since he is not only a genius, but he reads a lot...

That brings us to an important question: we have seen our readership slowly climb to over 500 subscribers. By no means does that make us a big deal, but it is really fun for dorks like us. Plus, we are committed to CiC, and we like CiC. I won't speak for my posts, but I for one really appreciate most of what the other contributors to this blog have to say. It is usually some combination of edifying, thoughtful, and provocative. Still, sometimes we have nothing to say.

So when we find ourselves in that situation but we have this outlet to say something, what should we do?


We shouldn't write just to fill a day. We shouldn't link to another post we don't really think is that good, just to fill a day. We shouldn't quote a book we are reading if we don't think it's actually that helpful, just to fill a day. We should write nothing, because we have nothing worthwhile to say.

Here is the thing about blogging - the thing, I should add, that many non-bloggers in particular don't like about it: it can be so self-serving. "Wow," I might think (rather, I have too often thought), "500 readers. That's really something. 500 people want to know what I think about the world and about theology and Christianity. I'm like a mini celebrity. Maybe if they had one of those reality shows for B-list celebrities, but for D-list bloggers, I could be on it!"

We bloggers can far too easily fall to the temptation of self-importance. It's easy, and I doubt I'm the only one who has felt it. We write more in the hopse of getting a link from Challies or JT (or whatever blogger you like most) and adding readership than to actually edify. "Maybe one day," we think, "we'll get 100 comments on ever post like Pyromaniacs does."

And when we do that, we are sinning.

When we write to gain publicity rather than to edify, we are being prideful. And if you have read the Bible much, you know how God feels about pride. It is a big deal when you write for pride's sake. It is a big deal, because sin is a big deal. Sin is a big deal, because God hates sin. Whatever readers you might add by continuing to post are not worth engaging in something that God hates.

So fellow theo-bloggers, write to edify, and only to edify. If you have nothing to say, risk losing the readers and not getting linked rather than fill space. This isn't your job. You don't have a deadline to meet. You don't have a boss to please.

Scratch that. You do have a Boss to please. And He is pleased most when you write for His glory, not for yours.


Andrew Faris


Damian Romano said...

Let me be the first to say Andrew, bravo!

Ian Clausen said...

I very much agree. I'd be curious to hear more from you on this, maybe as it relates to how Christians are to understand the technology that so scrumptiously lies at our fingertips. I'm still trying to understand it, and your post moves me to reconsider the battles I choose and the manner in which I fight them, electronically or otherwise. Hey, maybe I'll post on it too. Thanks for the exhortations.

FrankinTN said...

I want to thank all "Theo-Bloggers" first for your ministry, then for keeping me focused on knowing and worshiping the one True God.

MinisterMoo said...

Thanks for that Andrew. As someone who has been reading your blog for a while let me say I appreciate all your contributions - and agree wholeheartedly about saying nothing: I presume I'm not the only person using something like Google Reader to collect your posts, and there's nothing more annoying than a screen full of posts that aren't very interesting!

Having left college a year ago I thank you for being part of my efforts to keep thinking theologically.

Bill Faris said...

I am writing to tell you I have nothing to say about this post.

Craig said...

Good post Andrew. It put things into perspective for me as a new blogger. There are days I feel like I should post something and then constantly check to see how many visitors I've had. Not exactly the reason I started blogging in the first place. Thanks for the gentle reminder