Take a moment to think about the blogs, editorials, and websites you read today. Does the word “civil” describe the discourse that takes place there? Now think about the content you write—in emails, on your blog, on your Facebook profile. Would you describe those interactions as civil?
At the Addenda & Errata blog, Dan Reid talks about a book arguing for Christian civility in an uncivil world. The gist of the book is that Christians are called to be civil in all of their interactions, no matter how vicious or uncivil the rest of the world is:
Civility is not enough in some situations. But I must repeat: its basic requirements are never canceled. Christians never have a right simply to cast aside kindness and gentleness. We are never justified in engaging in a no-holds-barred crusade against our opponents. Going beyond mere civility does not mean that we can become less than civil.
Sounds like a fascinating book. And a challenging one; I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we must admit that a lot of online Christian discourse these days, particularly in the political and theological realms, is less than civil. Christians are only human—when we’re provoked by people on the other side of a debate, it’s natural to want to snap back with the same sarcasm or name-calling that our opponents use. But the Bible tells us that just isn’t acceptable.
But it’s still a tricky question. For instance, where do we draw the line between being direct and being uncivil? When is humor an acceptable part of our interaction, and when does it become uncivil mockery?
I’ll confess that my own inability to answer those questions has led me in recent years to drastically cut back my own participation in political and theological debates online; I just can’t trust myself to keep within the bounds of civility, and I’d rather say nothing at all than cross that line.
But what about you? How do you keep your words civil and Christlike while still contending earnestly for the faith?
By: Andy. This entry was posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2009 at 4:04 pm and is filed under Blogging, Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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