27 April 2012

A good question

Mary333 asks the altogether excellent question:  Why do so many of the biggest Catholic bloggers (and many of the smaller ones as well) spend so much time waging battle on what they deem to be the most important issues of the day, rather than trying to draw people to Christ?

Any takers?

I have often pondered that issue myself.  We are to find the lost sheep and bring them home, not push them away to a farther field.  I say this as someone whose efforts in this area have met with only a few successes, so I recognize that perhaps a heavier touch than mine may be more effective, but I still see the "believe this or do that or get out" approach is more divisive than helpful.  I have also often said that I believe the worst thing to happen to many of the more popular Catholic bloggers is that they became popular, and it went to their head.  This is an even bigger danger on the Internet than in other media because it is unfiltered.  There is no oversight, no editor to tell us "you have a point, but I think you're going just a little too far here."  It is only us, with our own control or lack thereof.  Christ warned his apostles:  It is not what goes into a man, but what comes out of him that makes him unclean.  Bloggers would do well to ponder that when they put their fingers to their keyboards, and take care that what they do and say does not drive the lost ones of the little ones farther away.


mary333 said...

Lol! I came over to see what your good question was and found out it was the same as mine. I think that there are many bloggers who ask this question. Normally I stay away from these blogs but I followed a couple of links I was interested in today and ended up on two of these sites.

We are responsible for what we say and write. I understand that nobody is perfect and I certainly can understand that people make mistakes but some Catholic sites seem to foment dissension on purpose. And that's what I just don't get.

Yes, maybe they started off with the best of intentions and things just went downhill from there. Maybe the popularity went to their heads, I don't know. It's not what they believe that I struggle with - it's how they treat people. I can respect people who are expressing an opinion...I just can't respect those who treat others with cruelty simply because these people disagree with them.

What I do know is that these sites do nothing to build the Church.

LarryD said...

The thing about this sort of question is that, speaking only for myself, the immediate reactions are Oh my, she's talking about meand my Patheos post!, which then makes me think - c'mon, LarryD, she said popular blogs - she probably doesn't read me, so stop being presumptuous and prideful; which then causes me to think even more: Well, then, why isn't she reading me? and then I think I shouldn't even be thinking about whether or not my blog is popular!

After going through these mental gyrations and some time of self-reflection, I reviewed my posts written since Jan 1 to see if any matched Mary's description, or if I made any of that sort of comments.

And there were a couple posts that came close to the line, that were heavy on the snark. I don't consider AoftheA to be an evangelizing style of blog - although when a blog claims to be a Catholic blog, the role of evangelism is a natural and essential extension of that. To me, the parallel role of AoftheA is humor - whether it does that well or not I'll leave it up to readers.

But back to the point at hand - I try very hard to discuss and disect issues and ideas that people put forth which are contrary to the truths proposed and held by the Church - and not the individuals themselves. Am I always successful? No, sad to say, I'm not. Mea culpa. The wide majority of the time, though, I try to focus on the Idea and not the Individual.

Does this cause division? Well, given that I'm writing about the division in the first place, it's hard to pinpoint that.

One thing I do to keep me grounded - should I ever get popular - is that I continually remind myself of two things: 1) I will be judged on the things I write and say; and 2) there are 1.167 billion Catholics in the world, and fewer than several hundred a day come to my pages. I don't mean to say that I'm harming so few people - not at all. What I mean is - it's a perspective thing. The number of Catholics NOT reading blogs is no much more vast - on the macro level, my blog is really insignificant. That fact doesn't give me license to be sloppy, rude and most of all unChristian - but it keeps me grounded in that no matter how many more readers come to my blog, the number really isn't worth crowing about.

I hope in some small way I am helping to build the Church, through humor and pointed commentary that still respects the dignity of the other person. I have been to blogs recently, Mary, where the host isn't all charitable in the least towards other commenters, or the posts seek to tear others down rather than address the ideas and opinions.

A good lesson to keep in mind when writing a post is "Blog unto others as you would have them blog unto you."

LarryD said...

btw - Mary, that was a very good question.

And....sorry about the typos and missed words. Long day.

Bear-i-tone said...

Larry, no need to apologize. My typing is horrendous when I leave comments, both here and elsewhere.

Blogging is, in some ways, an entirely new phenomena, and in other ways, it is an extension of the old. People sit around, talk, say what's on their minds. We are still feeling around the edges, trying to figure out what we are, and what we should be doing. The blogs thta came to my mind when I read Mary's post were blogs that started out well, but over time morphed into something else.

My own blog has changed. I write less about matters of the Church than when I began, and I tend to steer clear of hot button issues these days. This is now more of a blog by a Catholic, rather than a Catholic blog. As such, I doubt I am helping people come back to the Church, much. I try and comfort myself by saying "At least I am not driving them away," but that does me little credit.

For what it is worth, I believe yours is one of the better blogs out there. Don't let it go to your head.

mary333 said...

Yeah...I got typos too ;) Must be catchy...

mary333 said...

Have no fear...the post I was referring to this time was at Creative Minority Report. The attacks in the Combox went WAY too far. There's just something ugly about Catholics attacking Catholics in this manner. I've seen this at a number of Catholic sites, however, so I am not picking on CMR in particular.

There's nothing wrong with humor and a bit of "snarkiness" now and then :) What bothers me is when people don't treat others with the respect due them as human beings.