Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blogging Ethics

I want to establish some personal boundaries for this blog. I know no one can establish boundaries that will satisfy all [not that there will be that much readership] but I've always felt it best to say upfront what is expected when something is begun involving others.
I'm of a generation that tended to speak from pulpits/lecturns with little or no accountability. "If the preacher says it, it must be true" was the prevailing attitude for many hearers. That day has changed as well it should. Today many distrust anyone in a position of authority and especially the one who believes he has it. [Authority that is] That distrust may be well founded.
Add to that the internet where words are immediate for all, at least those who wish to see, and which is a resource for verifying or disproving those words and you have a situation of life where words are more/less powerful than ever before.
It is true, of course, that Christians were, from the beginning, commanded to speak "truthful words". It is the rest of that command that is often overlooked..."in love". It is also true such a determination is, perhaps, subjective in nature and difficult to make. Jesus, even when speaking words that cut to the chase about the the behavior of some, never failed to love. That's to be our lifestyle as well. But what I'm addressing is more of an attitude rather than truth or love. I think maybe the word "respect" is the idea for which I'm groping. A respectfulness that transcends age, gender, differences, ideas, even belief systems. I'm not refering to "respectableness" which may speak more to image and pretense than to reality. I'm speaking of an attitude that is born, perhaps, out of the maturing process and the work of the Spirit within.
Maybe I'm asking too much and maybe I will fail also but this is the thing I will be looking for in my posts and following comments. Truthfulness?...YES...Love?...YES...but especially respect for all.
An example of this was wonderfully demonstrated in an exchange recently between Micah of Friesville and Dr.Mark Dever. To my sorrow I do not know yet how to link things in the middle of a post but I'll learn. If you can find it it will be worth the effort.
I recognize that to be talking at all is good and I also know that the ethics of blogging are still being hammered out. But, for me, there is a desire to experience something I feel is lost to a great degree in our day. That is, as was demonstrated by Micah and Dr. Dever's [as well as many blogs and bloggers I've followed for a long time this being the most recent good example] give and take with differences while being respectful. I don't think that is too much to ask of myself and others on this blog. And I will not ask of you what I won't commit to being. Remember, this is neither an "ought" nor a "should" on anyone or their blog. It is addressing this blog and this blogger alone. But since "every idle word" is referenced with an accounting one day and since "words" do reveal something of the inside, I think I'll opt for "respect" characterizing things here in so far as possible.

Paul B.


Bobby Brown said...

Respect is a good choice Paul. Blogging the "good news" is an argument of sorts and in order to win an argument you must empower the other person to continue the argument. We empower the other person by being a good listener, considering the possibility that it may be that they are correct rather than us, being soft spoken and polite, and patience but nothing is more important than respect for their views. Failure to adhere to the above may cause the argument to cease and we have thereby lost the argument. Arguments are never won until the other party agrees with us.

Bobby Brown

Bob Cleveland said...

Someone once said "The truth, told with ill intent, beats any lie you can invent".

I liked that when I heard it 45+ years ago, and I still do. Of course we're never to lie, but we must be as careful how we use the truth as we are to tell the truth in the first place.

That's why I always try to deal with facts and issues, and also to avoid unkind analogies. I've heard quite enough words like "power-hungry" and "demagogues" on the blogs. They ruin the observation the author was trying to make, for me.

Respect: folks are made in the image of a loving God. How can I disrespect someone? I laugh when I think of Madelyn Murray OHair's son, Bill, who wound up getting saved and being a Christian Evangelist. Here he was, maligned by thousands (if not millions) and one of the elect, unbeknownst to us.

I try to stick to that on my Blog, albeit I've only just begun. I think it'll be fun.

God bless.

Paul Burleson said...

Bob, I had the privilage of having Bill Murray in the church I was pastoring at the time. He was a sweet gracious guy. The Grace of God really is grace isn't it...look at us.

Paul B.