Sadly it seems to me that the results of the recent UK Bloggers meeting do a good job of making Christianity appear relevant.
Have a look at these 10 commandments for bloggers: Ruth Gledhill: ‘Thou shalt…. blog!’. What do you think?
I think the following:
1. What a naff process, the 10 commandments got changed dramatically from what the bloggers saw in advance (see Olive’s comment and Richard’s post). That seems poor and caused by a desire to fit a newspaper news cycle rather than to actually get something right and agreed.
2. What naff language! Interesting that they came out at about the same time as Wayne Leman wrote Better Bibles Blog: how to pray in contemporary English. What a pity that, at least as a starting point, they did not get someone to review the language to make it at least slightly relevant.
3. Then there is the attitude this demonstrates to scripture. The Evangelical Alliance Basis of Faith includes:
3. The divine inspiration and supreme authority of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, which are the written Word of God—fully
trustworthy for faith and conduct.
Now according to scripture the original 10 commandments were given to Moses by God. How does a bunch of bloggers using a flawed process to create 10 blogging commandments and get them out to the media compare? All it does is undermine the real scriptures, the original 10 commandments. As such this is not just irrelevant but damaging to the Christian faith. I can just imagine comments like:
Hey Guys, you know those commandments that Christians used to tell us were so important, well obviously they did not mean it because they have just created a new completely different set, I wonder if the other commandments were created by a bunch of people chatting together for a few hours.
4. What bad commandments. I mean even if you had a good process, used relevant language and managed to avoid damaging the authority of Scripture – these are just bad commandments in all kinds of ways. Lets look at some of them.
7. You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind. Well excuse me but a) this is not specific to blogging and b) since when was it decided that it was ok to commit or permit adultery anywhere. We don’t need a new commandment about adultery as the proper 10 commandments and the teaching of Jesus are absolutely chrystal clear that adultery is wrong.
8. You shall not steal another person’s content.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I do believe that the original 10 commandments are pretty clear that theft and false testimony are wrong. Are those original 10 commandments an old unsupported version that has been replaced?
4. Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog.
Why? Should I also take a day off from other forms of reflection about my discipleship?
5. So if any 10 commandments, and these in particular, do nothing to make Christian faith relevant then what should be done. I suggest that a thought through code of practice would be a much better idea. This would properly address the issues of concern and could appear relevant and appropriate to the world. The process of creation could bring bloggers together and by appropriately referencing guiding scripture would introduce people to the Bible and show why it is relevant and has authority today.
As a rough idea I am thinking of something like this. Suppose you wish to address a concern that people are being led/encouraged into adultery through their blogging, you might create a guideline such as:
We commit ourselves to appropriate and healthy relationships in our blogging. We believe that God has created us so that we are only fully human when in relationship to others. Scripture teaches us that the quality of these relationships is of vital importance. Sadly the freedom and anonymity of the internet can lead us into bad relationships and damage existing ones. We therefore seek to find appropriate ways of being accountable for our online relationships for the good of our families and communities. The 10 commandments make it clear adultery is always wrong and Jesus makes it clear that this extends to the way we look at and treat other people. We therefore seek to keep our online relationships in accordance with his teaching …
Yeah I know, far too wordy. But hopefully you get the idea and can see how it could be applied to the other issues.
I hope that over time some good can come of this and that together we can do much better in the future.
[update] thinking a little more. Is blogging really a significant cause of adultery? I must be living a different kind of life because I just don’t see that. Are we just being evangelical Christians, who by definition seem to be screwed up on and obsessed by sex issues?
[update 2] A great post Faith and Theology: The (new) ten commandments for bloggers this beautifully illustrates the problem in a humorous way.