Monday, April 11, 2011

It's Easier to Blog About the Negative

It's a sad comment on human nature, but blogging negatively is much easier than blogging positively.

It often takes little effort to put together a post blasting something that we don't like, don't approve of, or don't think is right.  In my case, for example, it is simple to target various things related to the institutional church such as large buildings, salaried pastors, planned meetings, etc.

It is much more difficult and requires more work to put together a post that speaks more about the positive.  As per church issues, this might deal with participatory meetings, house gatherings, full meal Lord's Supper celebrations, etc.

It bothers me that writing negatively is easier for me. I'm serious. It bothers me. If I dare to be a bit introspective, it shows at least a little immaturity and bitterness.

I'm not suggesting that we should never deal with problematic issues. In fact, some of the best blog posts (mine and others) constructively compare positive and negative things and then draw conclusions. This may deal with the church or any other topic.

What is problematic is when we bloggers are drawn at a visceral level to take aim at whatever we disagree with. If I currently look through my list of blog post ideas, there are a good number that wage war upon all things institutional church.  I'm beginning to see more clearly that this has very limited benefit.  I might feel good after I post negatively and others who agree with me may comment.  But in the end, what good does it do?

It is possible to write in such a manner that we deal with negative things in a positive way. The tone of this type of writing is gracious, humble, instructive, balanced, and seeks positive outcomes for all sides involved. This is far different from simply sending word-based missiles flying at what we dislike. It also strives for unity instead of division.

It requires much more work to see anything good in what we don't prefer. As per church things, I can see some good that comes from institutional church bodies. However, it's a struggle to write about those aspects. In my flesh, it feels so good sometimes to say, "That's not biblical!! Knock it off!! You hypocrites!!"

I write this post because I'm going to try to blog more positively about church life. Of course as I do this I will at times compare and contrast what I believe is biblical with what I think are man-made practices. This will by nature have some negative bent to it. However, the goal will be constructive.

This is all easier said than done. I'm tired a lot these days. In my fatigue, it will be simpler to get negative, destructive, and mean on this blog. I'm determined to avoid that downfall. Therefore, I hope you see somewhat of a shift in tenor here.

The outcome may not be exciting.  I've seen over the years that I get more comments on blog posts that are more controversial, inflammatory, and in-your-face.  Oh well.  If I get fewer comments, so be it.  I think it will honor God by striving for more constructive dialogue (however you spell that word) about both what we believe and how we live this out.

It may be easier to blog about the negative, but I'm determined to go more positive.  If it's more work, that's probably a  sign that it's a good thing.


Dan said...

Is this a negative commentary on blogging negatively? Seriously though, I think it is easy for all of us to fall into this.


Arthur Sido said...

I have been having the very same concerns. I blogged a bit about it in a link to this post. There is a balancing act here. We cannot be Polyannaish about what needs to be reformed in the church but we cannot also be unfailingly negative. I think you do a better job at this balance than I do.

Richard Swartz said...

The angels said that the "whole earth is full of His glory" ... those who are abiding in Christ tend to see more of what He is doing than what the enemy is doing.

You're right, it seems more fun to talk about what's wrong ... and I do believe that is rooted in pride. But what's wrong is what the enemy is doing, not the Lord!

I believe the apostles only addressed what was wrong insofar as the gospel was being hindered. Jesus is building His church, and He's going to get it done. I have complete confidence in that.

Eric said...


I guess we are all really good in our own eyes at seeing others' problems, inconsistencies, etc. We feel as if we have defended the truth when we expose others. Yech.

This is a problem we all need to fight against. Blogging just happens to be very public.

I'll try. I just don't know how it will go.

Eric said...


You are right about the balance. My problem is that I often start a post with good intentions, but by the end I have morphed into destructo-man. I must fight against this. I hope to be able to write in a manner that analyzes problems in a constructive way. Alan manages to do this. I'll attempt it.

Scott said...

Thanks for saying what I think many of us would admit if we were honest. I find this very same difficulty in my preaching, teaching, and parenting. Thanks to your post I too shall redouble my efforts to blog, teach, and preach more positively. Thanks again.

Blessings, Brother Scott ><>

Aussie John said...


It seems that times do repeat themselves.

I remember a time when I was much younger when agonizing over negative words versus positive ones was very much in vogue. I know it created much anguish for many, including myself.

If an issue of truth is negative, it is negative. If it is necessary to speak or write that truth, then it must be done.

Politicians are the ones who are skilled at presenting the negative with a positive slant.

What matters is the heart attitude of the one who is being negative.

Eric said...


I'm sure pride has something to do with it - especially if we become a sort of broken record taking aim at the same targets. Heart motivation is certainly the key to all this.

Eric said...


By the grace of God we will be able to do so.

The difficulty is being able to discuss important issues, write about them constructively and truthfully, see what scripture says, and draw conclusions without blasting away negatively. We just have to try.

Eric said...


You wrote, "What matters is the heart attitude of the one who is being negative." I agree completely.

Truth does need to be spoken. It is the method that I hope to change. In particular, my desire is to avoid making judgment statements about attitudes and motivations. Outward practices, however, are simpler to compare to scripture.

Truth in love seems to be the key.

Tim A said...

I have been concerned about this also. For many people to be negative is to be unkind and sinful. You should only talk positive. I can't see this dichotomy in scripture. Consider the purpose of God's Word:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

Two of the four would be considered negative - rebuke and correction. These two are really the heart of positive change. We are born in the negative of sinfulness. Only a counter negative charge that includes rebuke and correction will bring "men of God who are complete, equipped for every good work.

Much negativity is merely opinion about something instead of being driven by God's Word, or negativity on unessential issues that don't matter at all. I'm seeking to make sure that my negativity is driven by God's Word on essential instructions and connected with teaching, and training in righteousness.

The common accusation "you're just being negative" is usually a diversion tactic to avoid having to wrestle with a substantive issue needing correction. Accuse the messenger of nastiness they are free to avoid the real issue.

Eric said...


More than anything for me this is a heart issue. I'll certainly continue to address important issues. Whenever that happens there will of necessity be some judgment statements. What I'm trying to avoid is a general negative tone or tenor that blasts away at the institutional church.

I agree that much scripture has a negative tone in the sense that it calls people to stop living sinfully and turn to God. These passages must be spoken of.

You are also right that sometimes when people are uncomfortable about discussion topics they attack the writer. That has happened to me a few times. No big deal.

I'm hoping for a small change in tone more than anything else.

Tim A said...

I marvel at Paul's simple statement about God's Word on this. Start with Biblical basis, hammer the sin twice in the middle, then polish off the end with training in righteousness. Out pops complete men, able to do ANY good work! I love this.