In 2011, I felt prompted to focus on the word “redemptive” for my blogging and writing work. I’d spent plenty of time picking apart what I was against, but it’s far more difficult to build something, to explain what I’m for, and to live it with integrity.
I’ve watched my friends with toddlers.
It takes a few seconds to trash a room. Putting it all back together is far more challenging.
I wanted to be one of the people who learned how to articulate what he’s for rather than for being witty and sarcastic when destroying the supposedly flawed beliefs of another person.
One of the ways I’ve tried to reform my ways is to write what I’m for rather than what I’m against. Even if I’m clearly responding to something controversial, I make a point of only describing what I believe. This has helped remove me from reactionary, angry blog fights where everyone is trying to act more indignant than the last person at the latest flap.
I don’t know how successful I’ve been, but if anything, I have a much better sense of what I believe and my blood pressure has to be a bit lower.
There is one writer who has modeled this approach and who is both an extremely talented writer and someone who disagrees with me on quite a few things. If you made a checklist of what I believe, I’m sure blogger Lore Ferguson would skip over a few boxes, but even when she’s writing about sensitive issues, she is particularly talented at presenting her perspective with grace and integrity.
She doesn’t call people out. She doesn’t hit you over the head with her words. She remembers that there are people on both sides of our divides, and that sometimes there are more than two sides.
I think it’s particularly important to single out a blogger I sometimes disagree with for this blogging tip. I never have a problem reading Lore’s blog. There is trust, hope, and kindness in her writing. She’s not out to justify herself by tearing others down.
The greatest thing we can do with our blogs is to point others to what is beautiful and true. If we spend our time ripping apart what we dislike or hate, we’ll burn brightly and intensely for a few moments, but we’ll have nothing of lasting value to offer.
If I’m ever tempted to hammer out an angry, condemning, reactionary blog post about the latest vitriol from some pastor or blogger or whoever, I think of how Lore writes (Gary Bettman is my one exception, not even Lore can save him from my rage).
Read Lore’s post where she shares her process for addressing controversial topics: Swimming in the Shallow Waters.
“Diving into the wreck, using words to find purpose, to find my way, to see the damage and the treasure—this is why I write. This is why I have always written.”