I have touched upon this question on several previous occasions. Can blogging be done without the meanness that often attends writers and responders? I think so and remain committed to this as my goal. I weigh my words and ideas carefully and thus always ask: "Is this honest, fair and helpful to someone?" Most of my blogs are about ideas and responses that I have to politics, culture, movies, life and Christian faith. A few of them are about my private personal interests; e.g., baseball and college football. Once in awhile I throw in personal thoughts and travels because so many of my friends desire me to do this because they have a relationship with me. For some reason they care about me as a person. My blogs are thus both columns/articles and personal reflections/narratives.

A local columnist, whose politics are much more liberal than my own, recently asked if his own newspaper column was a "hate-free" zone? This question led me to ask the question above about being "mean-free" in blogging. By mean I refer to "being bad-tempered, disagreeable or malicious." As I read the New Testament no Christian is ever warranted by the Spirit to be mean in this sense.

I think a major problem is that we have been led to think that standing for the truth allows us to be mean so long as we are doing it for Jesus and the truth. I do not think we are ever warranted to be mean, ever. 

I am quite aware that there are readers of this blog who strongly disagree with me and my ideas. I do not ask them to read my words. They read these posts because, for whatever reason, they chose to read them. If they respond in a way that is "mean" spirited I still post the comment 97% of the time. There are one or two writers that I may block from posting simply because they seem to think it is their responsibility to use this site to attack both my motives and my ideals. Wise friends have convinced me that I owe it to no one to allow them a platform on which to display a mean spirit, so I am slowly learning to delete these posts unless they make a helpful contribution.

To disagree is valid and is very often extremely useful. My local newspaper columnist noted in his "hate-free" zone article that before the Internet, people had to write or type a letter, and the whole process slowed them down and cost them more time and money, and this tempered the response process. They had to think more than twice about writing a real letter of disagreement. Now you can write one instantly and be done with it. You do not have to think, pray or ponder seriously at all. This is the downside of blog responses. The upside is that this forum actually allows for people to see how others think and then how they can intelligently and critically disagree with the author.

The late Jack Mabley, a columnist for a Chicago paper for many years, said that if he ever wrote a column that was critical of someone, and he did sometimes write them, he would imagine himself sitting across the table from that person as they were reading his column. If he couldn't read it to his or her face then he wouldn't write the column at all. This from a man who was not, from as much as I know, driven by overtly Christian convictions. Yet Mabley was saying, in effect, precisely what the Bible teaches.

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  1. Adam S October 3, 2008 at 5:41 am

    I appriciate your writing in large part because it is mean free. I am one of the ones that frequently disagrees with you politically, but I read you because I am looking for mean-free conservatives to interact with and be challenged by. I hope I have been mean-free in response. You have my permission to delete any of my comments that cross the line. I know that I have probably pushed up against it several times if not gone over. If I have please forgive me.
    Thank you for providing a mean-free forum.

  2. Richard Z. Ryzewski October 3, 2008 at 6:19 am

    I am thankful to you Mr. John Armstrong for the careful and deliberate look that you give each issue that you write about. It is a breath of fresh air to see someone comment without malicious intent but to inform and teach. May God richly bless you with continued health and strength to keep writing.

  3. Sarah October 3, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    I am a Christian but more liberal than you. I often disagree with what you write, but quite honestly find myself in agreement a lot. I think you provide a fair assessment of most issues and that is why I enjoy reading your blog.

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