Before I Throw Stones At Rick Warren

Unless the Lord builds the house,

They labor in vain who build it;

Unless the Lord guards the city,

The watchman keeps awake in vain. ~~Psalm 127:1 (NASB95)

Almost seven years ago I abandoned the blog I’d kept to showcase my writing and digital artwork, believing the Lord would be better honored with a blog focused on discipling women for discernment through doctrine. I don’t for a minute regret that decision. The Outspoken TULIP has been a wonderful experience so far, and I hope the Holy Spirit will continue to use it to minister His Word to my sisters in Christ. It’s a delight to focus on Scripture and the Lord in my blogging.

Blogs dedicated to writing for its own sake have their place, mind you — I’ve actually encouraged one or two young writers to start blogging expressly for the purpose of getting their writing into circulation. These days, publishers won’t consider manuscripts unless a writer has a blog with at least 1000 followers. So please don’t think that I’m disparaging blogs that have the purpose of displaying someone’s writing skills. If I was young, perhaps I’d blog for that reason.

But I’m no longer young, and I no longer have an interest in selling my writing. Rather, I have an interest in serving God through this little blog.

At least, I thought that’s all I wanted out of blogging until last week.

Regular readers may have noticed that I didn’t blog all last week. Part of my inactivity had to do with schedule interruptions (when PCAs call out, I’m stuck in bed until a backup can come), but I also felt discouraged by the numbers on my individual articles. Posts that addressed current issues and/or called out problems in evangelical circles attracted many more readers than posts about living as godly women. Of course, I’ve known for years that, in the world of social media, controversy sells. But I wouldn’t admit that I was getting seduced by the allure of big numbers.

I happily wrote snide tweets denouncing Rick Warren and the Southern Baptist Convention for being addicted to big numbers, especially after his unscheduled appearance in Anaheim last month. My criticisms definitely have merit — the SBC has earned its bad reputation of being preoccupied with numbers, and Rick Warren put a bright spotlight on that problem. Maybe I should have expressed those criticisms with a little more kindness, but the content of what I tweeted had validity. No organization, church or individual representing the Lord has any business focusing on numbers rather than on Christ and His Word.

Warren has infused churches (SBC and otherwise) with pragmatism, and this pragmatism has led to compromise with the world. One goal of my blog is to stand against such compromise by drawing women back to the Word of God. Following the example of the 16th Century Reformers, I want to keep going back to the source of our faith: Scripture. If only a handful of ladies grow closer to the Lord because of The Outspoken TULIP, I should be satisfied.

To my shame, however, I’d become dissatisfied. The articles I worked hardest on by studying the Bible lay neglected while more sensational ones attracted readers easily. Although I believe the Lord wants me to write posts about His Word, last week I found myself ready to give up doing so in favor of writing things that I knew would be popular.

By God’s mercy, I couldn’t come up with any ideas.

I knew I could write more articles based on Titus 2:2-6, which is exactly what I believe the Lord wants me to do at this point in time. I also knew more articles on that passage would translate to low numbers on my Stats page. So, vain creature that I am, I decided to write nothing until I could land on something that readers would like.

So where did I get moral authority to criticize Rick Warren? Wasn’t I doing essentially the same type of pragmatism?

I was.

This blog should never degenerate into a vehicle for feeding my ego. It should focus completely on the Lord and on encouraging women toward godliness. If getting back to that purpose means lower numbers on my Stats, I’ll need to be okay with that reality. The Lord is building this blog on His Word, and my popularity or lack thereof is beside the point. If The Outspoken TULIP isn’t grounded in Him, both I and my readers are wasting our time.

2 thoughts on “Before I Throw Stones At Rick Warren

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