I’ve been blogging here for just about a year, and in that year I have been reading other blogs more frequently to get a better idea of how to blog. Blogging is a form of media all its own and the type of posts you make have to fit the format (for instance, lists are huge). Seeing the way others do it has helped me to understand how I do it.
It has also caused me to see some topics that I never want to see posted about again. I think every blog has written this kind of post because they’re easy and comforting (or only a little challenging) and get shared like crazy. No seriously, I see one of the following shared on Facebook at least once a week.
First: The "IT'S OK THAT YOU'RE A BAD PARENT
The “IT’S OK THAT YOU’RE A BAD PARENT”
This is the most common of the posts, and also the one that drives me the most insane. It usually goes something like this.
“I know you feel bad that you’re kid will only eat Chicken Nuggets, or that he watches TV 6 hours a day, or that he doesn’t have a bed time. Remember when they threw a toy at the people in the booth behind you at dinner? One day that will be hilarious. Don’t feel bad, because being a parent is hard and everyone has hard days. All your Instagram and Facebook friends are just as awful at being parents as you are, they’re just hiding behind social media. Do you feel like you love your kids? Then pop in some Dora the Explorer and eat a frozen pizza. You deserve it.”
Here are a few reasons I hate this.
The first is that it is not OK to be a bad parent. Your children are, without a doubt, the most important ministry you have. If you fail there you cannot succeed in any other place (1 Timothy 3:4). I’m not saying you won’t make mistakes, because you will. But try not to make them tomorrow.
Second, it undermines the very thing we teach our kids all the time when we say, “We don’t compare ourselves to other people.” This is probably the most valuable lesson my parents taught me. It doesn’t matter if everyone else was doing it, or was doing it worse, I expect you to behave better. How can you teach your kids that lesson when you are saying, “Eh, everyone yells at their kids.”
Imagine if we did this as spouses. “David got another man’s wife pregnant and then had the man killed to cover it up, so don’t worry if you’re too flirty with a co-worker.” All of a sudden you see how absurd this sounds.
Lastly, it is pandering. It is easy to share. Everyone feels like a bad parent sometimes (or always) and hearing somebody tell you it’s ok makes you feel good and so you share it. Then it goes viral. Seriously, there is no easier post to write and get shared then one that tells people they’re ok just how they are.
So stop sharing it. You’re being manipulated.
Next: The "YOU'RE A BAD PARENT"
The “YOU’RE A BAD PARENT”
Ironically, the other post I hate is the exact opposite (although it usually comes from the same place). This post comes in two forms, and the first goes something like this.
“The other day I saw a man at the park with his son and he was on his phone almost the whole time. People, put down your phones. 50 years from now that e-mail won’t matter but that moment with your kid will. Do you want your kids to see your face or the back of your phone?”
In this post, phones (and other technology) are always to blame. Nobody ever read books or magazines at the park before phones? Nope, everyone spent every moment looking into their child’s eyes and being filled with wonder.
I’m a little sensitive to this one because I take my kids to the park and then spend a good amount of time on my phone. But here’s a question for any potential young Christian blogger who might see me at the park. Did you notice when it was? Thursday morning? What do you think makes me able to go to the park with my kids on a Thursday morning? You guessed it: my smart phone. I also take my three year old to get coffee (he gets milk) and then sit and talk with him. But when he’s playing with other kids at the park, I’m gonna give him some space and check some e-mails. Because, as a pastor, that e-mail might be really important RIGHT NOW.
The other form this post takes is more subtle.
“Check out this picture of my 3 year old reading and exegeting the story of Jonah while we have organic homegrown black beans cooking for lunch. Also, notice my child’s skinny jeans and TOMS. During his nap today I’m going to do a devotional and then pray that I can be a Proverbs 31 woman and prepare for our afternoon craft and service project. Remember, every moment is a teachable moment and your babies are precious.”
This one I feel the most comfortable talking about because this (without the arrogance) is my wife. She is a wonderful mother who teaches our 3 year old how to read, dresses him well, teaches him in almost every moment, and feeds him healthy food. I really am thankful for what a wonderful mother she is.
She also doesn’t blog about it. Blogs are the new street corners.
Do you know what happens to kids with parents that exist only to be parents? They grow up to be entitled. Kids need parents to be something more than mom and dad. They need parents to show them how to be a person of integrity at work, they need parents to show them how to find their goals in God’s will, they need parents to be real people with identities that are not dependent on being mommy or daddy.
Why do we share these? Because they make us feel like we’ve done something we haven’t. We share a post about putting your phone down and being with your kids FROM OUR PHONE AT THE PARK!
We really like to do this. We sit down and make a diet plan and feel like we’ve already made a positive step for our health (we haven’t). We make our budget that allows us to pay off all our credit card debt in six months and feel like we’ve basically taken care of it (we haven’t).
One of my most shared posts is “Why to Read Old Books.” It was viewed hundreds of times and shared hundreds of times. But each month, only a handful of people read the books with me. Because we love for people to THINK we are going to do something, we get the respect as if we had done it without even having to do it. Some experts are starting to say not to tell people your goals for this very reason.
So stop sharing this and start actually being a better parent.
Next: The "LOVE WHO JESUS LOVES"
The “LOVE WHO JESUS LOVES”
This post is the hardest to talk about, because it sounds so good and holy. How could I possibly complain about this kind of post? Well let me paraphrase it and it should be clearer.
“I’m a youth pastor and recently I was going to ask a convicted sex offender to lead a Junior High small group. For some reason the church freaked out about this. I told them off. I flipped tables like Jesus. They are literally Pharisees. I hate them for not loving people like Jesus did.”
If you want to write a blog like this, here is the format for this post.
- Do something you know will be controversial and act like it won’t be.
- Pretend the people offended by it have no real reason to be offended
- Act as if the ministry you’re doing is the only real ministry of Jesus
- Call somebody a Pharisee (THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP).
- Be super ugly about them
- Say you love people Jesus loved.
Do you know what made Pharisees so bad? Not their insistence on morality like you want to think. No, what made them so bad is they thought they had the ability/right/power to decide who was in and who was out. They did this via strict morality, but that was only a symptom of their problem of elitism.
So the second we say somebody is a Pharisee in an attempt to ostracize them and say that we love who Jesus loves, we, ironically, become the Pharisee. If you say “love who Jesus loves” you better mean everybody.
Rob Bell or Marc Driscoll (more on this later)
The evangelical church you grew up in (more on this too).
The people who don’t “love who Jesus loved.”
The phrase “love who Jesus loves” is disgusting because it is more often than not a subtle way of demonizing others.
Stop talking about how much you love and go love.
Next: The "CHURCH IS AWFUL AND THE CAUSE OF ALL MY PROBLEMS"
The “CHURCH IS AWFUL AND THE CAUSE OF ALL MY PROBLEMS”
This is the bread and butter of 20 something Christian bloggers. It is a guaranteed hit. You’ve definitely read it.
“I went to youth group in the 90s and played gross out games and went to Judgement House. Now, after 5 years as a secular humanist, I’m struggling to find who Jesus is but thanks to *insert trendy book* I finally understand Jesus (unlike the church I grew up in).”
We love to blame the people before us. It was a joke at our house growing up that every time we complained our parents would say, “Well you can tell your therapist about that in 20 years.” And I planned on it because my parents were terrible human beings.
And then I had kids. All of a sudden, “Don’t run with that stick” or “Go to bed or I’m going to lock your door” started to make sense. Turns out, my parents weren’t terrible human beings. The truth is that being a parent is messy. And they did what they did in good faith and love based on what they knew about the way kids worked in the 90s.
Having kids is a solid way to learn to forgive your parents
I grew up disillusioned with the mega-church I was raised in. Then I became a Pastor and now I am amazed at the level of connection they were able to provide to the 500 kids in the youth group. Now I get it.
You hate the church you grew up in? Stop blogging and get on a committee. The church is messy and we’re just working with the best knowledge we have at this time. Working with a church is a solid way to learn to forgive the one you grew up in.
Next: The "HERETIC HUNT"
The “HERETIC HUNT”
This is the worst of all of them. This post often (but not always) comes in the form of an open letter and serves to warn others of the dangers of somebody famous.
You used to be like me. You had the exact same theology and I could always share your stuff with people who were different so they could see the errors of their ways. Lately, you have started to change a little bit. You are more/less Calvinist. Your theology is weak and it is dangerous because it makes God evil. I can no longer in good faith support your work because your addition to the huge stream of Christian theology is not one I like. I’ll pray for you.
These come from both sides. Rob Bell and Marc Driscoll both get these posts written about them probably every week. Some bloggers have made their whole living following these guys just so they can write about how stupid they are.
There are two things that are really jacked up about this post.
One, Christianity is not some static set of doctrines you have to agree with to call yourself a Christian.
Think everyone goes to heaven? Ok. Think only the elect go to heaven? Ok. I might think you’re wrong, but I don’t think it makes you not a Christian.
A heretic is just someone who opposes commonly accepted beliefs. Martin Luther? Heretic. George Fox? Heretic. Jesus Christ? Heretic. And I’m glad for all of those heretics.
Two, we don’t need a gatekeeper to let us know who is in and who is out.
I can decide if I like Love Wins without you telling me about it. I can tell if Derek Webb’s new cd goes a bit too far without your blog. I really can. And even if we did need a gate-keeper, why does your blog get to be it? Usually these “warnings” are little more than link-baiting and ways to attach a blogger’s name to the name of someone who is actually doing something unique.
Next: The "MY BLOG IS THE ONLY BLOG THAT DOES ANYTHING RIGHT"
The “MY BLOG IS THE ONLY BLOG THAT DOES ANYTHING RIGHT”
What do you think? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments.