Chick-Fil-A, Love Wins, the maelstrom over a particular post about 50 Shades of Gray – sometimes I find myself worrying that this will be the legacy of the Christian blogosphere, that these controversies (and hundreds like them) will be all that people remember in twenty or fifty years.
Sure, we wring our hands at the unpleasantness of it all, but that’s usually while we are busy rolling out the outrage machine and the language of persecuted minority or righteous-defender-of-all-that-is-good-and-true.
We say we wish it wasn’t like that, that we don’t want to be this way, that they started it.
But, sometimes, I really don’t think that’s the case.
I think much of the blogosphere can’t do without it. We have become the outrage-industrial complex, building a digital empire by speaking in the vitriolic language of us vs. them.
I think that if there wasn’t a conflict we would have to start one.
I worry that if people twenty years from now remember the Christian blogosphere as driven by controversy, outrage, and infighting, tragically they might be more right than wrong.
How many blogs would soon fall silent if there wasn’t an “enemy” to oppose? We get a high off it, but like any junkie we are quite talented at denying we have a problem, no matter how much damage we are doing, no matter how out of control it has become.
And it’s a shame, because so many of you have beautiful stories to tell, and incredibly brilliant ideas to share. So many bloggers are writing and doing things that are redemptive, imaginative, an outworking of the Gospel story.
But those bloggers, the sort who don’t want to play the game, they often tend to drop out over time, exhausted and disheartened by it all. Or, these wise and quiet voices get passed over in our mad dash from one controversy to the next. And so, one way or another, we never hear them.
I suppose that is part of what I appreciate about this community. True, it is not afraid to address difficult or controversial issues – but it finds its identity not in outrage but in grace, love, and the little bits of life that we share through our stories.
I think if all the controversies went away, by some miracle of God’s mysterious grace, the people here would have just as much to say. These writers would not fall silent.
Because it isn’t simply writing about a controversy that’s the issue, it’s when we start to confuse these controversies with the Gospel, and confuse our stance on them with our identity as children of God. These controversies are not our story, or at least, they shouldn’t be, because our real stories are far better.
And it’s those stories, those stories about love and grace and resurrection, that I hope people remember long after the controversies have been forgotten.