Making Christianity irrelevant

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.

7 thoughts on “Making Christianity irrelevant

  1. Jeremy

    Agreed. I went along to EA’s blogging day, and it was great. Unfortunately they felt the need to get some PR mileage out it, and this was the result. Suffice to say it was written by the EA, not by the 25 or so bloggers present.
    It’s a shame, because I’m with you in thinking there’s room for a Christian bloggers vision statement. Something that sets us apart, calls for integrity, truth-telling, grace and relationship, a better way of being online. Your paragraph is a nice starting point, and I’d also recommend Tim O’Reilly’s bloggers code of conduct:

    Blogging:Blogger’s Code of Conduct
    [ed: url turned into link]
  2. Phil Whittall

    Hi Dave, a few corrections need making. Olive I think has got the wrong end of the stick. During the final session we were discussing the ten commandments for bloggers, I suggested that what we had was a bit dull and it would be more recognisable if they followed the 10 from Exodus. So it was suggested because the point here was that it was to have a bit of humour to it. It was then sent round as far as I’m aware to all participants at the day, because I have another email to that effect. the final one Ruth has has changed again and that’s up to the EA. So if you want to be a literalist ok, but bloggers do nick material, tend to incessant blogging and take it al way more seriously than sometimes we should. I like faith and theology’s 10 too. They are funnier, but then the EA 10 kicked it all off by getting the interest of the Times.

  3. Phil Whittall

    Hi Dave
    See this
    Ten Blogging Commandments which references the key phrase ‘tongue in cheek’ on the 10 commandments but perhaps you might prefer the ‘blogging relationship commitment’ further down the page
    [ed: turned url into link]

  4. Dave Warnock

    Happy to be corrected, however, I still do not have much confidence in the process. It is not encouraging that at least some of those present were so surprised at the final version being so different (and then having their names associated with it).
    I just don’t see anyone finding the EA 10 commandments funny, nobody else has picked up that they are ‘tongue in cheek’. So I stand by my critique of them.
    The ‘blogging relationship commitment’ is better (although I would not consider it finished), but I can see that it would not generate much media interest. Question is: Which is more important? Helping people discover more Christian ways to blog or generating media interest.
    Given that I believe the media interest has just made us seem quaint and irrelevant it is clear which I think is more important.
    Now I think the O’Reilly bloggers code of conduct (that Jeremy pointed us to) is actually a much better document than either of these.

  5. Ben Myers

    “Is blogging really a significant cause of adultery?”
    Yeah, I thought that was the funniest part of these “commandments”. I just can’t remember the last time someone left a comment on my blog which made me start lusting after them. And let’s not even mention the fact that the vast majority of Christian bloggers are men. (“Oh Mr Smith, your comment on Lutheran christology has got me all hot and bothered…”)


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