How NOT To Comment On A Christian Blog

20130816-111101.jpg

This is part two of a post I shared on Friday about how not to comment on a blog.

Since Christian blogging is a crazy beast of its own, I’ve come up with some specific guidelines for how not to look like a complete jerk or crazy person while commenting on a Christian blog.

And I made sure to come up 7 tips, cause you know, Bible numbers and stuff.

Anyway, here they are, once again in no particular order.
 

Post a thousand Bible verses you think prove your point and nothing else.

You own a copy of Where To Find It in the Bible. Congratulations. I’m happy for you that you can copy and paste every possible verse on a given subject out of there and share it on my blog.

You know what that doesn’t make you?

Right.

Proof-texting a bunch of Bible verses isn’t the definitive evidence you think it is. Why? Because I can just as easily rip a verse out of context and justify genocide. But nobody thinks the Bible says genocide is ok because at some level we all understand the Bible needs to be read in context.

Ok maybe not all of us.

But do yourself a favor. If you want to quote Bible verses, pick a passage, maybe two, and explain why you think it’s relevant to your argument.

Because if you just leave a laundry list of Bible verses as your comment, I’m gonna respond the same way I do to Hitler accusations.

You will be ignored immediately.

And forever.

 

Jesus juke everything.

Jon Acuff famously and ingeniously coined the phrase “Jesus juke.”

In his words,

Like a football player juking you at the last second and going a different direction, the Jesus Juke is when someone takes what is clearly a joke filled conversation and completely reverses direction into something serious and holy.

Contrary to popular belief it is not sinful for Christians to have fun and/or make jokes. In fact, some of us like to do both quite often.

If joy and happiness are not your thing, that’s fine.

But, please, for the sake of everything that is good and holy in the world, please let the rest of us enjoy life and don’t turn every single conversation into a super serious talk about sin and salvation or a guilt trip about how we should be serving the hungry in Somalia instead of making jokes about…..well, whatever we’re making jokes about.

I’m not saying you have to join in on the fun.

You don’t.

But do know that every time you Jesus juke a conversation an angel loses its wings.

 

Rip someone apart, condemn them to hell, then offer prayer and blessings that they’ll come to see the truth…by which you mean agree with you.

You think I’m wrong. No problem, you’re free to disagree.

But you know what won’t get me to agree with you or even be interested in seeing things from your perspective?

Telling me I’m going to hell for not affirming your understanding of atonement metaphysics, then feigning grace by offering judgmental “prayer” that God will force me to see things your way.

You know what that sort of approach makes you?

A pharisee.

Literally, I’m not using accusatory hyperbole here.

Being the Biblical expert you are I’m sure you’ll recall Jesus’ parable in Luke 18 about the pharisee and the tax collector praying. How did the pharisee pray?

Like this…

“God I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evil doers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector.”

Put a little Eugene Peterson spin on that and what do you have? Half of the critical comments that appear on Christian blogs.

It’s ok to disagree and to disagree vehemently.

But don’t try to dress up your hate with false piety.

After all, you know what they say about putting lipstick on a pig….

It’s really weird. Why in the world would you put lipstick on a pig??

 

Criticize a post for not covering every possible theological angle and nuance.

Have I ever come across a comment that explicitly said “Why didn’t this post cover everything?”

No, of course not.

But have I come across angry comments that criticized the post for not covering every single possible theological angle and nuance, particularly the one angle the commenter feels is more important than all the others?

All. The. Time.

Do we bloggers appreciate when other views and angles are brought to the conversations we start?

Absolutely!

But blog posts by their very nature are not intended to cover everything about a given subject, nor can they or they would cease to become blog posts.

Please, share your perspective and add to the conversation. Seriously. But don’t lecture the blogger about what you think they missed or what you think they should have covered.

Bloggers often know more than you think they do. But they have to make tough decisions about what can or cannot cover in a post without it turning into a 5,000 monstrosity that no one wants to read.

And as we all know, blogging is all about traffic and if nobody reads your post because it’s insanely long, then you won’t get any blog traffic and if you don’t get any blogging traffic nobody will know who you are and then Kent Shaffer won’t rank you in his Top 200 and then what’s the point of even blogging?!

You’ve gotta have priorities people!!

 

Defend a pastor for saying or doing something egregiously un-Christian.

Yeah, I know he’s your boy.

And yeah, I know he’s probably said and done some wonderful things in life.

But that really terrible, hateful, insensitive, bigoted, un-Christlike thing he said?

You don’t have to defend.

In fact, you shouldn’t.

You don’t have to turn your back on him either, but burying your head in the sand, or, worse, renarrating his hate speech as something good and righteous in the face of a “godless world” does neither of you any favors.

If you really love that pastor and really think he’s doing great things, then helping him stay on that path by calling his attention to those moments when he’s strayed off of it will do all of us a lot of good.

Jesus went so far as to tell Peter he was acting like Satan when Peter put his foot in his mouth.

So, if you have to tell your favorite pastor “Yo, bro, yeah maybe don’t say those sorts of things anymore. You’re kinda embarrassing Jesus.” and you’re feeling kinda awkward about it just think to yourself….

I’m being nicer than Jesus!!

 

Shame fellow Christians for criticizing other Christians and imply that criticism is a sin.

Criticism of other Christians is not a sin.

People disagree. Even Christians. That’s ok. You do it too. In fact, when you’re yelling at us bloggers for criticizing others Christians you know what you’re doing?

Criticizing other Christians.

But it’s ok. You know who else criticized other people of faith?

A lot.

I mean so much they wrote 4 books about.

Jesus.

Do people go overboard and turn their criticism into hateful attacks? Absolutely. But once again, allow me the honor of welcoming you to adulthood where people disagree with each other and let each other know it.

When you try to shame and silence other believers for voicing their dissent, you’re not holding them accountable. You’re being a theological fascist.

You know who else silenced dissent and rebuked those who asked questions and criticized authority?

Hitler.

See?

It’s kinda irrational and not very fun being compared to the Nazis isn’t it?

 

Call someone a liberal or a heretic when you really mean “not a Calvinist.”

This may come as a shock to your system, but there are literally millions of Christians in the world who love Jesus, are orthodox in their beliefs, and yet are not Calvinists.

In fact, and you may want to sit down for this, some of them are even conservatives.

I know, I know.

It sounds like crazy talk.

But you know what sounds even crazier?

Denouncing people as godless liberal heretics because they don’t affirm the five points of Calvinism and the five fundamentals.

If theology is your way or the highway, then in the words of the wise Twitter sage @plstepp, I would humbly suggest you grow a hermeneutic.
 

Well, that’s my list. If you’re a Christian blogger or just an avid Christian blog reader, what would you add to the list? Let me know in (where else?) the comments section.
 

Grace and peace,

Zack Hunt

 

  • Joshua Shope

    The Bible says you shouldn’t criticize Mark Driscoll, Zack. It’s a little thing called Christian agreement. EVER HEARD OF IT? I pray you see the light of The Male God’s grace.

    • Sara Joy

      Sarcasm? Help. It’s the internet.

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com/ Ed_Cyzewski

    Not to brag, but I have a HUGE hermeneutic. Thanks seminary!

    • http://beingperfectlyhuman.blogspot.com/ Eric Fry

      I’ve always heard that men who have to brag about the size of their hermeneuticles are just compensating for something else. Would you like us to pray for you, Ed?

  • Douglas Humphries

    How about the standard “I’ll pray for you” offered with no explanation?

  • Alec

    I love when atheists are told they’re going to hell and will be prayed for in comment threads. It’s a little less meaningful when the target doesn’t believe in the threat in any way.

    • Elisabeth M

      Once my brother told his circle of friends he was praying for them all to stop smoking. They said, that’s okay, we’re praying for you to start!

  • Pat68

    Excellent; particularly the ones about proof-texting and Jesus juking. I unfriended someone on Facebook for juking. It was such a buzzkill.

  • Michaela Samuels

    I have gotten the whole “you’re wrong and a sinner, but i love you anyway and am praying for your soul” thing so many times. It’s the Jesus equivalent to “no offense, but…” GAH!

  • rayhollenbach

    I’ll pray for you, Zack.

  • http://adamellis.blogspot.com/ Adam

    Well, whenever I start to get discouraged about the kinds of comments left on my blog, I just remember how much Jesus suffered on the cross, and then I think: “Who am I to complain?” ;)

    • http://www.beckycastlemiller.com/ Becky Castle Miller

      Well played.

  • http://www.blakeatwood.com/ Blake Atwood

    You didn’t have enough JPP’s (Jesuses per paragraphs) in this post.

    • MorganGuyton

      JPP’s — that’s awesome. And I’m totally stealing that image.

      • http://www.blakeatwood.com/ Blake Atwood

        Just so credit is given where credit is due, I got it from https://twitter.com/jesusjukers. I also stole the JPP’s idea. From what I’ve read, the Christian music industry liked to keep track of JPM’s, i.e. Jesuses per minutes, in a song. Even though I hope that’s a joke, I figured it was high time we appropriate that for blogging.

        In other words, nothing in my comment above was original.

  • http://www.fireonyourhead.org/ StevieB

    One time I wrote a blog post that was about speaking in tongues and someone copied and pasted the **ENTIRE 12th chapter** of 1 Corinthians as their comment. Someone else commented after saying “your point certainly is Biblical, but what is it exactly?” Or something to that effect.

    I’ve even had a reviewer of one of my books on Amazon tell me that I was so wrong they were going to pray for me while they wrote a book of their own about all the things I got wrong in mine. *Sigh*

    But props to the “not a calvinist one” at the end. I nearly spit my coffee all over my screen reading that one!

    Blessings!

  • Elisabeth M

    This reminds me of about 15 Bible verses which I will now paste into this comment, starting with – oh, wait.

  • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

    I’m a big fan of people who say “I’m going to shake the dust off my sandals and walk away” when the argument goes against them.

    It’s a lot like the “I’ll pray for you” thing only even less loving.

    • Joe Brackman

      That’s the Christianista version of taking ones ball and going home.

  • Nelson Thurman

    Now you’re just disagreeing with God!

  • http://stephenmatlock.com/ BetweenTwoWorlds

    Yeah, I’ve had the “You shouldn’t criticize bad Christianity in public because it damages the brand” comments before. As if someone else I don’t agree with and don’t follow should determine the boundaries and meaning of my faith.

    The Bible is open to all who come to it, and Jesus is open to all who come to him.. I’ll leave it at that and post the comments I want, thankyouverymuch.

  • Sharideth

    When someone says, “I’ll pray for you” in a comment that means we can publicly ask them if they did, right?

  • Theo Darling

    There are WAY more than four books about Jesus. Those are just the ones that won the battle for supremacy!

    (Also, and this actually freaks me out /a lot/–I have sat in a church classroom full of college students supposedly dedicated to a more serious study of their faith and listened as the leader stumbled around and argued that genocide is sometimes ok, if god tells you to do it, because OLD TESTAMENT. And watched in horror as he won over everyone else in the room. So yeah, unfortunately/terrifyingly, genocide apologism definitely does exist in the Church.)

    • jdm8

      There’s some slavery apologetics going on too, justification, the laws on trading slaves. The only punishment not OK for slaves is if you beat them such that they can’t get up in two days. But beating slaves severely enough such that they can’t get up for a day is perfectly acceptable according to Levitical laws.

      • Theo Darling

        Good point. Are you familiar with Doug Wilson’s “Southern Slavery: As It Was”? I HAVE NO WORDS. And even my compassionate, queer, rape crisis counselor friend has found it necessary to justify biblical slavery (“There’s nothing inherently wrong with owning another human, it’s the /way you do it/”) in order to maintain his beloved Messianic faith.

  • Josh

    Here’s a comment I received in an online conversation the other day:

    “I encourage you to grow and after you’re no longer a baby Christian, this will all make sense to you.”

    Hahahaha. Love it.

    • Andrea_Videographer

      Spiritual ageism?

  • nietzschesdownfall

    I’m really disappointed you didn’t cover the liberation anarcho-process theological perspective in your post, Zack. How am I supposed to trust your view if you don’t cover everyone?

  • http://www.momma-onamission.blogspot.com/ AnnaC

    The last one made me laugh out loud.

  • http://beingperfectlyhuman.blogspot.com/ Eric Fry

    I understand that you’re trying to help people in your own, albeit misguided way,Zack, but who is thinking of the children? WHO’LL THINK OF THE CHILDREN???

    And I’m sorry that you think of yourself as a Nazi, Zack. We’ll all pray for you.

  • http://www.ramblingsofanundercovertck.blogspot.com/ Danica Newton

    I do believe this is the first time I’ve seen an author invoke Godwin halfway through his original piece. Well played.

  • Katie

    My favorite is when people say “I have the gift of discernment…” and then go on to make a CRAZY accusation to make their point (usually involving spirits or the state of one’s faith). Bonus is when they go on to say that discernment is better than education because discernment is of God and therefore it trumps any education one has had regarding the Bible.

    • Truthmonger

      Actually having the gift of discernment, I can say that discernment isn’t a proof for an argument. Anyone who would use it as such more than likely completely lacks it. Discernment points you in the direction of the truth (especially when it’s hard to find), it isn’t THE truth. If knowledge is like books, discernment is like a helpful librarian who points you in the right direction. But without books, there’s no librarian; without knowledge, there can be no discernment.

  • Brett FISH Anderson

    this is great. love it [and i can quote Song of Songs verses to back that up no end!]
    i should probably go and read the first one now, right?
    um reading Christian blogs in reverse order won’t make them start playing Carman songs i hope…?

    keep on!

    • Theo Darling

      Oh my god, please no never.

  • Christa Sterken

    This post made my day

  • Helen Coronato

    Agreed! Especially about juking. Must we always demand that Christian writers create sugary-sweet articles that come topped with a pretty pink “Jesus Love You” bow? Can’t we lighten up just a smidge and speak like real people? Judging from the judgment I got on a recent article, I’m guessing there were comment cards left at the bottom of the Sermon on the Mount. Ugh. http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2013/august/no-need-for-nooners.html

    • Jennifer

      I *really* liked your article, Helen. I respond to snarky and sarcastic and AUTHENTIC much more than the “Jesus Loves You” pretty pink bow (can I steal that? Brilliant). Which is why I have sworn to never, ever read a Christian fiction novel ever again.

      Um, you too, Zack. Well done!

    • Joe Brackman

      If Jesus were sold on Amazon, there would be one star reviews of Him. So, yeah, people would (and did) complain about stuff He said. Amen.

  • Kelsey Nielsen

    This rules and I feel goes for social media etiquette across the board.

  • http://simplemom.net/ Tsh Oxenreider

    I want to marry this post, I love it so much.

  • http://takingshapeslowly.wordpress.com/ Elizabeth P

    Well done! I am literally laughing out loud. Especially about the last one. I read comments on an article about spiritual formation and the only word that sufficiently describes them is vitriol. It didn’t make me want to pop over to the commenters’ blogs to learn about spiritual formation from them, that’s for sure.

  • Robert Swanson

    We need to remember that everyone who agrees with us isn’t necessarily a friend and everyone who disagrees isn’t necessarily an enemy.

  • ptrofie

    so two guys walk into a bar…wait…if I start joking in the middle of a conversation about Jesus am I unjuking?

    • http://ryanrobinson.ca/ Ryan Robinson

      I had a friend who had a remarkable ability to both Jesus juke and Jesus “unjuke.” If we were relaxing having fun, she’d turn it into an epic theological talk with absolutely no segue. If we were having a serious theological conversation, she’d derail us into something completely meaningless or make really bad jokes that nobody appreciated, also with absolutely no segue. It was really weird.

  • Sara Joy

    Hah, this is great. You made my night. I hope you don’t fall into that “Emergent-church-compromised-humanistic-Christian” category to too many people. SO far, I think your blog makes a worthy contribution towards truth.

  • George Dwyer

    You are going to hell for writing this article, I’ll pray for you.

  • Joe Brackman

    There’s this thing in hacky sack where you can break all the rules in about two seconds (serve the hack to yourself, catch it with your hand, then say, “Sorry”). No, I’m not a dirty hippy, and I’ve never been to a Phish concert.

    But I’m really tempted to lay down some snark breaking all your above rules.

    I’ll resist the temptation and just say that this post is spot on. Esp. the “criticizing others is unchristian” thing–that’s probably a lot of people who were peacemakers in their families. I call that condition non rockus boatus.

  • Cheryl Enns

    Your theology is fine but you are definitely going to hell for your inappropriate use of “their”.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Ben

    You’re not going to deceive me with your man-made reasoning, for as the Word of God sayeth: “no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments.”

    I’m still going to speak the truth and call all people to repentance, because we never know when the rapture could happen.

    • James Bailey

      I can’t tell who is being sarcastic and who are the people Zach is addressing.

      • http://ryanrobinson.ca/ Ryan Robinson

        I read Ben’s blog. This is sarcasm :)

      • annette skarin

        sayeth, gave the sarcasm away for me. :-)

  • Chris Gordon

    lol….”not a Calvinist..” love it!

  • Timothy

    Regarding your last point, I’d like to make a quick numbers correction.

    “This may come as a shock to your system, but there are [well over a billion] Christians in the world who love Jesus, are orthodox in their beliefs,
    and yet are not Calvinists.”

  • Helen Gierke

    Heresy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Jennifer Rives Bremerman

    I read 2 hilarious blogs this week by 2 of my favorite bloggers, http://www.theveryworstmissionary.com and jennhatmaker.com about the beginning of school. Seriously, laughed out loud at both of them. Until. I. read. the. comments. It was awful! I mean, people were crazy! And then I read this AND the comments and my faith has been restored in Christianity! Thank you fellow Christian sense of humorists…thank you.

  • Pingback: How NOT To Comment On A Christian Blog - The American Jesus

  • http://ryanrobinson.ca/ Ryan Robinson

    It’s implied by a few of your other points, but how about the tendency to equate your opinion with the Bible, leading to statements like “well, I (unlike you) believe the Bible, so I don’t need to listen to you.” It’s a pretty effective way to dismiss somebody while sounding much more pious than dismissing somebody as a liberal, at least here in Canada where liberal doesn’t carry as strong of negative connotations.

    The most frustrating stream of comments I got was on one of the automatically generated media pages. It was Jesus with an assault rifle, tied to a satirical piece about how the NRA really needs to twist the Bible to come up with the way of thinking that they do. I got several comments damning me to Hell for portraying Jesus that way, people who clearly did not read the article it was attached to. Some made good arguments for why Jesus was nonviolent, people who seemingly missed the fact that it was an Anabaptist (ie nonviolence-teaching) blog and also obviously didn’t read the satirical piece it was attached to. And then I got the people who argued for why Jesus was violent, who also clearly hadn’t read any of my content around nonviolence choosing to engage with the picture instead of on any of those posts where I dealt with their questions.

  • Pingback: It’s Friday! August 23, 2013 | Jessica Veldstra

  • Perry L. Stepp

    Fifteen minutes ago, my wife saw the “wise twitter sage” line. She still can’t catch her breath. She’s laughing so hard, I’m afraid she’s going to break a rib.

    Good post.

  • Pingback: Weekend Reading (Complete with recommended reading on all the major bases of this week: Syria, Miley, race and women) | crazy little thing called love

  • An Orthodox Christian

    Well, Calvinists are heterodox anyway… and it’s pretty funny to hear Protestants accusing others of heresy.

  • Chandler Klebs

    “Proof-texting
    a bunch of Bible verses isn’t the definitive evidence you think it is.
    Why? Because I can just as easily rip a verse out of context and justify
    genocide. But nobody thinks the Bible says genocide is ok because at
    some level we all understand the Bible needs to be read in context.

    Ok maybe not all of us.”

    You are quite correct in that some bible verses can be used to justify genocide. The problem with the “reading in context” response is that very few have any idea what context to read it in. I read everything in the bible as if it was literal truth, which did not work out very well. I question whether there IS a context.