There is blogging, and then there is war-blogging. Can the latter ever be appropriate? Is there a context and a manner in which war-blogging can be done Christianly, or have we met here with a contradiction in terms?
A definition might be in order: I’ll define war-blogging as blogging which transpires with the zealous aim to force specific parties or points of view to yield. Permit me to highlight what I think are some significant words in that definition:
- It is not war-blogging if you are not blogging with zeal. If it matters little to you and you are prepared to step away from the keyboard should matters get heated, then you are not war-blogging.
- to force
- We can differentiate persuasive writing from war-blogging, I think, just as we can differentiate diplomacy from war. In both cases, the two are related, but in both cases the latter only comes about when milder versions of the former have failed. That is, although diplomacy continues in some form even during war, war only comes about when diplomacy, in some sense, has failed. Likewise, early attempts to persuade through blogging can erupt into war-blogging once the parties reach some rhetorical impasse.
- to yield
- It is the intention of war-blogging to drive the opposing point of view from the field. This is not to say that war-blogging only counts itself successful if it results in the utter eradication of the opposing point of view (any more than battles are only won if the enemy suffers 100% casualties). Rather, the aim of war-blogging is to deprive the opposing point of view of influence. The opposing view is put into a position in which it must yield to the victorious perspective.
I’ll also volunteer early in this series my answer to my own question. I believe that war-blogging can be done Christianly if a blog-war is conducted in just the right context and in just the right manner. In a series of posts I will propose thoughts toward (with apologies to Augustine) a theory of Just Blog-War.
My rationale is simple, and I need not be coy about it: Braxton Caner is dead, Tim Rogers was hounded out of denominational service, Mark Driscoll is on the ropes, and J.D. Hall testifies of himself that he is completely broken. That, my friends, is but a partial list. We delude ourselves when comparing blog-war and war if we think that only one of these two experiences produces casualties. Furthermore, we have passed the point where we can pretend that our use of a word like “casualty” in this context is mere metaphor.
Robert E. Lee, watching the carnage of Fredericksburg, (perhaps) remarked (along these lines) to James Longstreet, “It is well that war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it.” Whatever Lee meant by this puzzling little quote, it at least reminds us that there are some things that at least occasionally feel recreational to us that we must not treat recreationally. Neither in blogging nor in geopolitics am I a pacifist, but I do believe that blog-war, like all war, merits a gravity, soberness, discipline, and thoughtfulness that we do not all consistently apply to it. To those, like me, tempted at all to “grow too fond of it,” I hope that the ensuing posts will be of value.