Earlier this week I noticed an article on Pinterest about five rules that Christian bloggers should never heard break. Actually, none of the rules seemed specific to Christian bloggers — the main thrust seemed to be about growing readership.
Because you, dear readers, apparently exist to make me a famous blogger. Right?
(Please note the sarcasm in that last paragraph.)
Anyway, the first rule mandated reserving personal updates for a blog’s social media page. Personal updates, according to the writer, have a limited shelf-life, and therefore aren’t good for Search Engine Optimization.
And her point made sense. At least it made sense if a blog is first and foremost a business rather than a ministry.
Praise God for bloggers like Elizabeth Prata and Michelle Lesley who tirelessly research popular teachers and warn against the ones who mishandle Scripture. Sometimes we need to identify people and call them out. Early in the development of this blog, I joined them in writing about false teachers who routinely seduce women with their doctrinal errors.
I haven’t entirely abandoned that practice. At times, women need to be told directly that the teacher they follow so adoringly is failing to offer them healthy spiritual food. In such instances, I have absolutely no problem writing articles exposing such teachers.
That said, I believe we think of discernment ministry much too narrowly. Usually people associate discernment exclusively with calling out false teachers, forgetting that true discernment encompasses so much more than simply naming names of evangelical celebrities to avoid.
Fully developed discernment requires the hard work of studying God’s Word and learning its great doctrines.
Normally, professing Christian women chafe at the idea of limiting their teaching ministry to other women and small children. They follow the world in insisting that we have a contribution to make to the whole church, and that our female perspective must be heard. As they see it, the Word of God cannot be fully represented without the female voice.
Where does Scripture ever say such a bizarre thing? If the Word of God is breathed out by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16), why would a female perspective be necessary? Shouldn’t we scratch our heads in bewilderment at the suggestion that men need to hear female voices before they can fully understand what the Bible says?
I can’t help wondering if some men — even Reformed men — have started buying into the idea that female voices need to join the conversation. Logging on to my Twitter Notifications today, I found two tweets by Reformed men, proudly proclaiming that they read The Outspoken TULIP.
Firstly, I can deduce that my readers already study the Bible on their own, and therefore don’t need another study to work through. Truth be told, I don’t go through the studies that Michelle Lesley posts each Wednesday for that very reason. When I met her in person three years ago, I explained that reasoning to her, and she graciously understood my position. She says other readers have told her the same thing.
I dearly hope that my readers forego the studies I write for the same reason. I hope each of you spends time going through God’s Word each day, reading and studying it in context. If so, I have absolutely no problem with you skipping my studies.
Really, no one needs my opinion on the death of George Floyd. Nor does anyone need me to comment on the protests that have sprung up around the United States in response to his death. I suppose such a blog post would get plenty of views (and probably a good amount of comments), so I’m not doing myself any favors by deciding to keep my opinions to myself. Most bloggers know that addressing “hot topics” generate more readers.
The Word of God warns against needless controversies and the unnecessary expression of opinions. Chris Hohnholz and Richard Story of Voice Of Reason Radio did a sobering podcast this past weekend explaining the importance of holding our tongues during times like this. They appeal to a wide variety of Scriptures admonishing Christians to be circumspect with our words.
Their podcast prompted me to think about using my blog to remind women that we don’t always have to right the wrongs of our culture. Without argument, our nation (as well as other nations throughout the world) increasingly demonstrate intentional rebellion against the Most High God. But it may not follow that He calls us to avenge every injustice.
Regular readers have undoubtedly noticed a radical difference in the frequency of my blog posts. Gone are Saturday Samplers, and those Bible Studies on Colossians that I’d waited all summer to write have vanished. My schedule of seven articles a week has dwindled to two or three, and I’m recycling graphics more than ever!
While most bloggers enjoy more time to write courtesy of COVID-19, I lay captive Continue reading →
Only two years after graduating from college, I became the editor of my church’s monthly newsletter. It didn’t take long to learn that I couldn’t please everyone all of the time. Writers complained that I was too ruthless in editing their articles, while my assistant editor complained that I was too lenient. No matter what I did, somebody would inevitability be unhappy with me.
I learned to live with the displeasure of others.
As a blogger, I’ve had to draw from that lesson I learned as an editor, particularly because I frequently write about discernment. Usually, the criticism I receive rolls off my back — I pretty much know that Continue reading →
I have a couple reasons for not wanting to blog about Covid-19. Perhaps my most compelling reason is that I honestly don’t think I can bring anything new to the table. Pastors and bloggers have covered every angle that I can think of, including speculations about God’s judgment and the end times that probably shouldn’t be publicly entertained at this point in time.
Such is the nature of evangelical thinking, I suppose.
Yet, having a public blog almost necessitates saying something about the crisis. Why? Because silence would inevitably be misinterpreted as indifference in the demanding sphere of social media, thereby Continue reading →
John and I, remembering that we met online 22 years ago, celebrated Valentine’s Day by watching You’ve Got Mail. Some time ago, I blogged about how I love the writing in this movie, and Friday night I again found myself wishing that The Outspoken TULIP afforded me the opportunity to write the sort of things that the characters in the story wrote to each other.
I couldn’t resist wondering how I might sneak in an occasional post that centered merely on writing for the sake of writing. Who knows? Some of my readers might enjoy it!
As I searched YouTube for a hymn yesterday, I decided on a contemporary one that I learned through our church. I chose it because of its clear picture of God’s grace in bringing sinners to salvation. But as I reviewed various versions of videos, I was mesmerized by the beautiful writing in this hymn. After watching You’ve Got Mail the night before, perhaps I felt particularly aware of how the hymn writer organized the words. At any rate, I couldn’t help marveling at the power in the phrases.
The hymn writer did something that the characters in the movie could never have done — he used beautiful writing to honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. If I want to write beautifully, may I write beautiful words that draw attention to His grace.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a vacation from blogging. At the time, it seemed like a reasonable decision — I work hard at blogging, and wanted some time for myself.
Looking back, I question whether such a self-indulgent course of action genuinely honored Christ. That point could probably be debated at some other time, and I tend to doubt that Scripture would exonerate me. Nevertheless, I took a the break, and I can’t undo the past.
But now I have another reason for wishing I hadn’t taken the break. For the next week and a half, my time will (hopefully) be taken up with Continue reading →