My first introduction to the bloggernacle–before it was even called that–was several years ago when Jeff Lindsay started his Mormanity blog. I’ve always followed that and have branched out to many other blogs since then. I’ve seen many interesting, faith-promoting, stimulating, and Christ-centered things online. I’ve been kindly invited to write at two of the big group blogs (though I have yet to decently follow up on the more recent invitation). My spiritual life has definitely been enriched by blogs.
But I haven’t seen much good for a long while. Though it keeps growing in size, readership, and prominence, the overall spiritual worth of the bloggernacle has taken a sharp nose dive recently.
I’ve been thinking about this all year. Both in quality and quantity, the parts of the bloggernacle which I frequent have been increasingly disappointing. New posts come up less often, the material that does get published is less spiritual and less faithful, and more of the links are to things that are practically anti-Mormon. Comments from people who aren’t regulars tend to be received with quick rudeness and little grace. Authors who I used to look forward to seem to have disappeared. I see a drastically growing trend to implicitly impugn our leaders online, and that just isn’t acceptable.
I admit, my thinking here is heavily influenced by Adam Greenwood’s leaving Times & Seasons earlier this year. I completely understand his position, and time is only making me more sure that such an exodus from the mainstream bloggernacle is a good idea. Adam’s important post about this is highly recommended.
A note here about judging others: it seems that whenever someone criticizes the level of orthodox faithfulness on Mormon blogs, the majority quickly descends to denounce the critic as a heartless, uncharitable anti-Christ. If it seems that any one ever condemns someone else’s personal worth or worthiness online, then I agree that that’s totally inappropriate. But I will not apologize for screening what I read–especially things that are ostensibly faithful in nature–to determine if it fits my standard for faithfulness. We do this with movies and music, and there’s nothing wrong with an individual deciding that something on their screen just isn’t good enough, faithfully, as they see it.
All written work is subject to such scrutiny, and only those who lack the courage of their convictions shy away from it. It’s not a personal condemnation, but all writers must be ready to have their work judged and found wanting by part of the audience. If you think that makes your critics narrow-minded goody-two-shoes, then so be it. Sure, there will always actually be people who condemn the purest, most saintly material as still not good enough, and if you think my criticisms are unwarranted, then reject them. Ignore me. But hysterically decrying honest criticism is insecure to the point that one must wonder if part of you actually knows we’re right.
Listen, I haven’t always been active in the Church. I’ve lived in the R-rated world, and I know it for a fraud, and I will not go back. I will not flirt with it, I will not compromise with it, and I will not tolerate it on my screen. I’m perfectly aware that there are unfortunate, embarrassing things in history, and that the actual operation of the Church at some times and in some areas has been (gasp!) less than perfect, but I don’t care. Those things simply aren’t important. That doesn’t mean I’m sticking my head in the sand; it means that I choose not to obsess over things that will magnify the trivial out of proportion to the essential, to the point that it obscures the truth. I’ve seen that happen to people. You probably have, too.
I’m not denying the darker parts of reality, I’m just asserting that the light is stronger, larger, crucial, and true. If anyone is still inclined to think that such views make people like me a bunch of Kool Aid drinking zombies, then go ahead and think that. I’m not interested in arguing about what constitutes an appropriate degree of faithfulness, just in being as faithful as I can be. There’s no lack of critical thinking going on here–to the contrary, it takes more mental effort to focus on the core of the gospel and dig into it than it does to look for excuses to be snarky. Feel free to assume that I’m chugging Kool Aid by the gallon. You can even picture me hooked up to a Kool Aid IV drip, if you want.
Tonight, I’m cleaning house on my own blogroll. Some of the blogs, both by groups and individuals, that used to inspire and enlighten me, but which haven’t for some time now, aren’t going to make the cut. This will always be a work in progress–what you see at any given time is not a final judgment on my part. I’m always going to be looking for new, faithfully orthodox blogs to read in the scant spare time I have for this. If you have any suggestions, feel free to send them my way. If there’s a religiously conservative, pro-TBM only webring out there, I want to know about it; I want to be on it. I’ll promise readers that there will never be anything on this blog that is out of line with the teachings and standards of the Church. For now, I think I’ll go back to spending more time on Jeff Lindsay’s blog.