Thursday, July 13, 2006

How to express yourself and be heard

One of the things that I do enjoy doing is checking out many of the blogs and podcasts that are available on the web which deals with local church ministry. As I read these I become more and more dismayed with how some Christ-followers express themselves when they comment on something that someone else has posted that they do not agree with. I have concluded that many Christians feel that they have the spiritual right to be rude, arrogant and disrespectful under the umbrella of “doctrinal integrity” or “righteous indignation.” How sad!

What I don’t think that these individuals realize is that most people who read their comments don’t even consider their opinions seriously due to the attitude in which they are shared. Even if they make a valid point, it is usually disregarded. As a result many such people express themselves but are really never heard.

May I suggest a few simple guidelines as to how to express yourself and be heard at the same time? Here we go:
  1. Avoid sweeping generalities (i.e., “All mega-churches preach a watered-down gospel and are an offense to God”).
  2. Avoid personally attacking others in the Body of Christ (i.e., “Rick Warren is all about numbers and doesn’t really care about people.”)
  3. Avoid leaving any written comment anonymously. Anonymous written comments are of no value because open and honest dialogue is impossible.
  4. Avoid name-calling and derogatory titles (i.e., “Jerry Falwell belongs in our ‘Hall of Shame.’”)
  5. Avoid lumping everyone into the same category (“Everyone in our church disagrees with this philosophy of ministry.”)
  6. Avoid cutting and pasting other people’s writings and using them as your comments without giving proper credit and citing your source.
  7. Avoid elevating your own preferences to the point of Biblical absolutes (i.e., “Hymns are spiritual and praise choruses are not because Hymns contain deep theology while modern choruses are simply filled with spiritual fluff.”)
  8. Avoid posting any comment without first praying about it and asking God to give you discernment regarding every word you communicate. After all, in James chapter one, James admonishes us very clearly to be “quick to hear” and “slow to speak.” I think this would also include being “slow to write.”

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