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Lessons in Blogging: Opinionated People Hate Opinionated People

???????????????????????????????There is a Facebook poster going around that says something akin to “How to start an argument on Facebook. Step #1: Express an opinion. Step #2: Wait.”

Civility in social media, whether that entails Facebook, Twitter, or Blogs in general, seems a tad sparse. The faceless nature of so much of what gets said, especially in response to what gets said, encourages a type of communication that was once reserved for back alley graffiti, crank phone calls, and Halloween pranks perpetrated by masked hooligans. Social media has provided an easy venue for trolls, those hateful and/or mentally unstable people who look for every reason to express their hatred for the world, but the phenomena is more widespread than that.

Decent people easily turn into raging mean spirited bullies online. I’ve felt the pull myself. When a person has failed to express a complete summary of the collection of shared human knowledge in 140 characters, something rises up from within that just has to set that person straight on a few things… how dare they act so high and mighty, going around all opinionated when I have opinions too!!!

Recently, I risked a little and decided to write a response to a blog post that seemed to have gone viral in my community: “My Wife Has Tattoos: Marriage, New Birth and the Gospel” was written by a blogger on the day of his wedding to a repentant bad girl whom he never would have chosen for himself when he daydreamed of his future once upon a time wedding as a conservative Christian homeschooled good boy growing up. While I found the article a tad naive and overcompensating (As I do most wedding day chatter), I would not have expected anything less than this type of honor and joy for his bride on that special day.

So, why did I respond?

I did not respond to this post because he had an opinion that differed from my own. I did not write to set this young man straight. I did not respond to attack either him or his bride, having no issues with either of them on any level. (I wish them every blessing and have nothing but positive thoughts for them both.)

I chose to respond for two main reasons:

1. All the blogging advice gurus seem to suggest that one should ride the coat-tails of viral posts into blogger nirvana. (ooops… Did I just type that out loud?!)

2. I wrote for the sake of the readers of this post. Blogging is not just about the blogger; it is also about the readers and the many unintended impressions that the masses get from posts like this one.

Two characters stood out to me. (1) Those who imagine that they can sow their wild oats and still reap their sugar plum dreams, and (2) those who fail to anticipate the hard realities of marriage in a variety of complex circumstances.

We live in a climate dominated by Hollywood visions of life, pumped at the masses in an endless bleating of false notions about reality. People just don’t seem to have any common sense anymore. The most basic statements of truth send people into tirades of fury. Since people don’t want the world to work a certain way, then they intend to scream in the face of those realities until they change. They intend to live and to force others to live as if their vision of life is functional until the systems of human nature conform to their pipe dreams about reality.

One of the most repeated “truths” of the Hollywood gurus is that our past doesn’t matter. That we can live anyway we please without long term consequence. That lifelong whoremongers need nothing more than the right girl to turn them into faithful loving husbands. That bedding reams of lovers has no impact on your ability to find and keep true love, no impact on your capacity for intimacy, no impact on your future dreams of stable family and everlasting happiness. They mock virgins, scoff at the very notion of saving yourself, and feel that they have discovered the secret to happiness in a generally wanton approach to life that treats sex as nothing but a little harmless entertainment.[1]

Statements like “Past is past,” “I’m not interested in where you’ve come from but only in where we are going,” “I’m not concerned with who you were but only with who you are,” are foolish and naive at best and diabolical at worst. Forgiveness is one thing; failing to understand that what happens in Vegas, never stays in Vegas, forgiven or not, is quite another.

The Church’s version of this can be just as naive. The tendency by many to confuse the glories of justification with the hard won battles of sanctification is a problem… especially in this Hollywood climate. The article “My Wife Has Tattoos: Marriage, Re-Birth, and the Gospel” was not a villainy that needed squashing, nor an opinion that caused offense. It was a viral vehicle to maximize attention on a much needed discussion.

So I wrote “A Meditation on “My Wife Has Tattoos: Marriage, Re-Birth, and the Gospel”[2] not to confront the author or to disparage his marriage or to belittle his new bride (Though many took it this way in spite of my protests to this anticipated suggestion in the post itself) but I wrote to round off a discussion that many people that I know, and many who responded to his post, needed to have.

Opinionated people hate opinionated people, but I wrote, however, provocatively, for wisdom’s sake.


[1] May I recommend the book Sex Has a Price Tag: Discussions About Sexuality, Spirituality and Self Respect by Pam Stenzel?

[2] http://drandrewsargent.com/2014/05/a-meditation-on-my-wife-has-tattoos-marriage-new-birth-and-the-gospel/  May I also suggest reading http://drandrewsargent.com/2014/05/responses-to-a-meditation-on-my-wife-has-tattoos-marriage-new-birth-and-the-gospel/ and http://drandrewsargent.com/2014/05/joseph-jessica-redeeming-love-a-response-to-a-meditation-on-my-wife-has-tattoos-marriage-new-birth-and-the-gospel/

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