Friday, November 18, 2005

In Defense of the Blogs


Today Dr. Bob Roberts defended Dr. Medley as one who has been vilified by "mean spirited words," specifically citing the "blogs" dealing with the ABC crisis. As one of the few bloggers posting on a somewhat regular basis from the right, it would be difficult not to take Dr. Roberts' comments as including His Barking Dog. At the risk of sounding defensive for being singled out at the General Board meeting, a few comments might be in order.

First, Dr. Roberts is correct that we must all be aware of our need to speak of those with whom we disagree in the most respectful tones possible. That is why I have so often used this forum as well as the American Baptist Evangelical's Message Board to comment on Dr. Medley as a good, decent, kind, and gentle man. Dr. Roberts has similarly served the Kingdom as well as the denomination in a host of venues. I have always found him to be cordial, committed, and one of our best communicators.

On several occasions, this blog has been used to reprint at length, often in full, the commentaries by those center-left and decidedly progressive. We strengthen our own position when we listen carefully to the wise words being spoken by those who differ from us.

Second, the ethics points made by Rev. Jerrod Hugenot in his "Ethics of Blogging Piece" for the Roger Williams Fellowship were well spoken and quoted at length by His Barking Dog. He warned of the danger of undigested commentary (aka "pastoral blather"), succumbing to the temptations of ego, and forgetting the pastoral responsibility to be collegial towards one another, particularly the "other" in a conflict.

Third, because of the occasional nature of blogs, the normal rules of journalism are typically overlooked. This includes the problem of representing as fact what has only been a rumor. Blogs also suffer from the problems of attribution of quotes, accuracy of information, and the danger of overstatement.

In the midst of the ABC crisis, those of us offering critical commentary bear a special responsibility to be Christian even as we critique that which we genuinely believe to be a danger to our Christian family. So, while I disagree with Dr. Roberts' interpretation of the impact of the ABC blogs, we should always be open to constructive critique.

2 comments:

Tom said...

Dennis, neither you or Glenn have ever personally smeared Dr. Medley and I don't know who else blogs the ABC from the right but what Dr. Roberts may be referring to is the somewhat humerous context you guys use (graphics, headline, etc.) which is often entertaining but not really mean-spirited. I challenge Dr. Roberts to find one mean or vicious comment with regards to Dr. Medley. Such somments should be held accountable, as do ours.

JONESY said...

Dennis: Be aware, also, that our post-modern context, and the new definition of "tolerance" causes mere DISAGREEMENT to be seen as "mean-spirited," "hate-mongering," etc. So in just saying "Medley's wrong, and he's not the right leadership material for the denomination at this time," we're attacking. Even our best attempts at disagreeing strongly, but respectfully, will be interpreted at hate speech. (The devil in me, therefore, wonders "why bother?" Yes yes I know--because we're followers of Christ.) But we should be aware that the ONLY communication that the libs will see as appropriate is the same, bland, Pollyanna doublespeak that they themselves spout.