Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
One of the great myths perpetrated by blogging aficionados is the notion of our avocation being a self-policing realm. Really?
Sure, you can easily call someone on whatever they say should it be less than truthful. However, the one accused can with equal ease either ignore the charge or fire back with the defense popularized by the late Johnny Cochrane: always, always attack. It can be a very effective method of diverting attention even as it conveniently sidesteps the fundamental issue. Is what was said right?
And was it right to say it?
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
It’s very easy to pop off online. Chances are good to excellent you’ll have some rush to your defense no matter what while others will attack and accuse no matter what. In the political realm, the dividing line is almost always left and right. Which, despite what people on both sides of the debate often insist, has nothing to do with right and wrong.
This is especially true for the believer. The rules of behavior laid down by Jesus do not make exceptions based on whether one is Democrat or Republican. Nor is allowance given for the schoolyard cry of “they started it” and/or “they do it too.” So what? Other people get drunk, pop pills, sleep around, lie, cheat, steal and commit every other sin under the sun. Does that mean it’s okey-dokey for those of us who claim faith in Christ to sin with abandon? No.
So why is it acceptable to say whatever we want to in any manner we wish online when it comes to politics?
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.
Dan Riehl is a conservative political blogger who’s mid-tier in popularity. By mid-tier I mean he gets as many visitors to his blog every five seconds as I get here per month, this as opposed to the top level people who get that many per second. Hey, he works a lot harder at it than I do. And, judging by the number of posts he writes per day, obviously has a lot more time to write.
The other day, the wife and daughter of Senator majority leader Harry Reid were injured in a car accident. Most people online, including conservatives who have exactly nothing nice to say about Reid politically and in more than a few cases personally, expressed sympathy and support.
Riehl came out shooting and never stopped. Dripping with sarcasm, he argued that Mrs. Reid, who is in her late sixties, wasn’t worth the expense of her medical treatment. After all, wasn’t that at the core of the Democratic platform for health care reform? Spend the money on those deserving? And why should anyone care about an old woman’s life when the Democrats considered abortion to be a perfectly acceptable method of reducing medical costs? If the lives of the unborn aren’t worth anything…
Naturally, the post drew heat from both sides. And not a little attention to Riehl.
Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
As far as the general public is concerned, blogger wars hold close to the same level of interest as a three hour video seminar on proper lint trap cleaning technique. This duly noted, unlike the former there is some genuine value to the latter in that it’ll increase efficiency of drying your clothes after the wash cycle has completed.
Unless you live online and are hyperpolitical, not only do you not know who or what Riehl, Media Matters and/or Tabitha Hale are, you don’t care. Why should you? They have no impact on your life. They live in their own world, one where what one says for the benefit of their audience is of paramount importance. You live in yours. You have your own concerns. As it should be.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Cycle back to what was said earlier about the myth of a self-policing blogosphere. Aside from the occasional mild scolding, where were the voices telling Riehl he was completely out of line? Certainly there is just cause in pointing out the indefensible hypocrisy of treating health care as a political football, foolishly preaching that massive government involvement is a solution to the very real problems we all currently face. Definitely mention in the strongest possible terms that life begins at conception and is sacred every step along the way, from conception to birth to all the stages of life to death. But like this? No.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
If the unborn mean that much to you, do something about it. Look up your local unwed pregnant girl — you won’t have to look far — and offer to adopt her child. Or, turn off your computer and go on a date. Fall in love with someone other than yourself. Get married. Have a kid or two or more. Simply put, do the megaforce. Deeds not words.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
What really matters here? Getting your point across? Or getting your name out there? If it’s the former, speak clearly and forcibly. But not like a brat whining about who started it. If your only defense is “they’re punks too,” skip it. You have nothing to say, no matter how many sycophants you attract.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Speaking online in a Christ-like manner will not make you popular. It means you tell the truth always. It means you discipline your own. It means you discipline yourself. It means you extend an open hand to your enemies. If they choose to slap it away, let it be on them. Not on you because you played the punk.
That is getting real.
Which apparently has little in common with gettin’ Riehl.