Friday, January 05, 2007

Temptation to quit blogging

I think I feel most exasperated when I sweat my way through a post, re-read it a half-dozen times or more, chop and chip and shine and tune and refine, augment and expand; double-check my references; anticipate responses and try to pre-empt them, publish it, and then...

...someone comes and knee-jerks out a particular kind of, "Yeah, but X."

In this case, "X" represents one of three things (or a combo):
  1. A re-statement of the very position I'd obliterated in the post, as if I'd never written the post.
  2. An objection I'd already pre-empted in the post, again as if I'd never written the post.
  3. A complete irrelevancy, written as if relevant, as if I'd never written the post.

Obviously, the common element is the "as if I'd never written the post." I stare at the comment, my face starting to flush, and sometimes I wonder: "So why do I bother to write?"

It's as if these people glance at the headline and the last paragraph, say to themselves, "Oh, it's about __, and he thinks __; well, what I think is __, so...." And then they write it.

Analogy alert. I'm no John Owen. Even saying that feels arrogant, as if anyone would ever suspect that I imagined that I was. But it's necessary to lay that down that as a preface to this question:

Do you think that Owen, after finishing "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ," probably had someone say, "Yeah, but didn't Christ really die to make salvation available to everyone? You know, 'For God so loved the world'...?"

And do you think John Owen went into his room, slapped his forehead, looked Heavenward, and asked "Why? Why do I bother?"

Probably. (And good heavens, what would the great man think if he read Geisler or Hunt today?)

So I suppose we lesser lights should try not to mind.

But sometimes, it's hard.

So, you try to embrace the eternal perspective, you take some comfort in the many who express understanding and appreciation (whether or not they agree), you remind yourself of the hundreds or thousands who read, derive some profit, and lack the time or opportunity to say so. And you soldier on.

But don't even get me started on the people who repeatedly demand that you demonstrate or prove something that you already set out, insist that you didn't, then throw a gigantic tantrum over your refusal to devote the rest of your life to re-inventing the wheel on demand. (And add to that when some casual spectator glances over part of the argument and supports that demand? And solemnly criticizes you for not mortgaging your life to scratch every idle, pugnacious and irresponsible itch? For free?!)

Ay yi yi, like I said: don't get me started.

Postscript: yes, it's a couple of the comments at my last post at Pyro that re-started this thinking. They weren't all that bad; they just touched that nerve.

32 comments:

Naomi F. said...

Dan, let me tell you something. You're no John Owen. You lesser lights should try not to mind. I know it's hard sometimes, but I mean just soldier on, man.

P.S. I'm wondering if this isn't fueled by a couple comments on your last Pyro post...

Even So... said...

Weeds with the seeds, man...keep broadcasting...my prayers are with you....and BTW, why do you always ignore my comments? .....

:-)

Even So... said...

For a little encouragement, check out this by Garry Gilley …and as a related issue, if I may, please check out this by yours truly from today....

Finally, listen to the scherzo movement from Beethoven's 9th...always works for me.....

Phil Johnson said...

Consider Jesus' three years with the Twelve, and all the goofy things they said and did right up to the very moment of His betrayal and beyond. Your most well-crafted posts are no clearer than He was in Luke 14:8-11; Matthew 23:10-12; Matthew 5:3; etc. Yet the disciples acted as if He'd never taught them those things.

It's part of the process of discipleship. Be patient with it. 2 Timothy 2:24-26.

Jared Wall said...

Dan, I don't know if it will mean anything, but I am always edified from reading your posts. Keep up the good work, brother.

Chris Anderson said...

Yeah, but do you think you're John Owen or something?! How arrogant of you to even say that you're Owenesque.

Sheesh.

(Now some casual needs to agree with me, then we'll make Dan prove he's either Owenesque or humble.)

Chris Anderson said...

That should read "casual spectator." Sorry.

Tim said...

Don't forget the many who read your posts and are instructed and/or edified, even though they never leave comments saying so.

Chris said...

Maybe instead of that funny looking word that you have to type in before you post a comment...

Require the commenter to take a short logic quiz. You know, you actually have to know what a "premises" is before you say someone is "operating on false premise".

Or (ooo, I hate this one), make sure that they know "beg the question" does not mean "ask a question".

DJP said...

I love that, Chris. And some program that makes them check their keyboards for wisps of hay before complaining about "straw men."

ThirstyDavid said...

If your posts were not so well-crafted, many of us who agree with you might chime in with our additional input. As it is, we read, nod our heads, and realize we have nothing to add. The nitwits troubling you have no such limitations. So you see, it's (note correct apostrophisation) your own fault.

Kim said...

I wish I could make a joke and be funny so that I could make you laugh. Alas, I am no comedienne.

I do think, however, that there are certain percentage of people who, when confronted with an opinion they don't like, simply put their fingers in their ears and say, "La, la, la, la,la" and don't even really hear what you are saying.

I believe that in all likelihood many people who read your posts (or others with whom they disagree) have already made up their mind before they've even read.

Please don't slap your head, DJP. It could leave scars

Carla said...

I hope it matters Brother Booyah - but you may count me among the readers (here and over yonder at TeamPyro) that find great blessings, challenges and edification in your writing. I do know exactly what you're talking about with the "as if you'd never addressed it" already issue. It's frustrating, but it's the way it works sometimes.

Keep looking up - and keep doing what you do, it's important.

SDG...

Rileysowner said...

Dan, what can I say. The only way I know you is through your posts, and they are excellent, clear, straightforward, and all that they should be to make them easy to understand.

However, there will always be people who just don't get it. You know that. Even if you stopped blogging you would still face this in your day to day life. You are a man with opinions and knowledge. I highly doubt you would stop expressing them just because you stopped blogging, and then you would have the same sort of people whose heads seem to be made of granite making the same sort of comments.

If you left blogging, the rest of us, who appreciate and learn from you, would be less well off. Keep contending for the faith. It is too important not to.

Carrie said...

I would instead worry when you see no opposition to your posts. The truth of God's Word always makes some people squirm.

BTW, I haven't commented over the last few weeks but I always enjoy your posts and am baffled by the naysayers.

C.T. Lillies said...

Dan you're a gem in the blog dung heap. Don't let the tumble bugs get you down.

Josh
"...the word of God is not bound."
--2 Timothy 2:9

tomgee said...

Dan, please never quit!

You are absolutely the best blog author I ever read. Your posts are challenging, insightful and always make me think more and love God more.

I'm part-time in seminary, and I'm always encouraged by both your theological depth and pastoral practicality.

Keep up the great work, brother! It brings glory to God!

Kevin Stilley said...

Dan, look at the bright side, there is also the large group of us that rarely read more than half of your post and aren't interested enough to make any further demands from you. ;)

Junction said...

Chris and Dan, there actually is a plugin for Wordpress blogs that would make someone pass a logic test before they are able to post a comment...it's called Challenge.
It defaults to a math test, but you can customize it anyway you want. I had it installed on my blog briefly, but then realized if no one comments anyway, it doesn't really matter :) Of course, that is the flip side here Dan, that no one even reads or comments on your posts at all.
Keep up the great work.

candyinsierras said...

Awww....tis but a flesh wound!

DJP said...

Thank you all; I am surprised and encouraged by your thoughts and graciousness. Thanks too for the emails I've gotten from still others.

Honestly, this was more of a "venting" post than anything else. The two blogs comprise about the most effective and far-spread ministry I've ever had, and I'm never genuinely tempted to stop. But these sorts of responses are about as discouraging as it gets.

Naomi, thanks for getting the comments off to a VERY funny start. (Would only have been funnier if you still had your Scary Naomi avatar.)

(More later, DV.)

Libbie said...

Well, I'm not going to join in with the mexican wave going down here, but I will say this:

There was a time when I would have disagreed with you every which way and then some. Now, I find it very hard to imagine someone being unconvinced by your coherence.

However, there was a big loooong time in the middle that I often forget about, where I thought I disagreed, but I had these misgivings, and then there was another stage where I agreed but wasn't quite sure why, and so on.

I know it's maddening to have to deal with dunderheaded questions that you are quite sure you have covered in the post, but then, you're a dad - you must have explained things plenty of times over with your children, because sometimes it takes a while for them to 'stick'.

To paraphrase Professor Kirke, "They don't teach logic in these schools anymore."
So be patient with us.

(if this appears twice, please dispose of one as you see fit. Blogger hates me now it's all beta-this, beta-that)

No Fluff Required said...

Yeah but, I hate that too!

C.T. Lillies said...

So is there a good text on strawmen and presuppamajigs on or off the premises?

Josh
"...the word of God is not bound."
--2 Timothy 2:9

joey said...

Dan, I'm glad to read that you're just venting. I love your posts, they're always thought provoking and challenging. Besides, if you weren't around, who would there be to tell me to stay away from the gifts.

Gummby said...

To echo Phil's thoughts, here's Acts 1:6-10. Disciples still asking about the physical, political kingdom.

David Williamson said...

A greater frustration could be writing the type of blog entry Luther would have penned if he'd had access to Wi-Fi, a searing indictment of contemporary fallacies fused with a vision for hope, and nobody commenting!

LeeC said...

Dude.

I love your posts, and they have been used in my growth without a doubt. I know at least once, probably more I was one of the guys that has cheesed you off with what sounded like a clueless comment.

Please be patient with us. I'm sure some are just reacting to the title or some such nonsense I've seen it at church way too often to think otherwise.

But others of us are just a bit obtuse and are either A. not that great at reading comprehension either all together or at the time of the reading or B. Something in your post triggered our gnat-like attention span onto some rabbit trail and we are obliviously commenting on that instead of the context of the message.


For me, I read and post at work where I have brief periods of inactivity to do so, but when I am needed I'm needed right away. So that makes for some disjointed reading and replying. I am working on replying less often instead of just posting to be in on things or something.

So please have mercy on us chuckleheads and keep on posting. (I know you are venting BTW I DID read your replies ;) )

Thanks Brother.

4given said...

Don't you dare atop blogging. The blogosphere would suffer HUGELY!!!!

4given said...

Interpretation...

"atop" actually means "stop". I'm obviously the one that needs to stop blogging. :-/

DJP said...

Lee, I wanted to respond before I completely forgot. I appreciate your thoughts, and do not remember you ever "cheesing me off." So -- it must not have been too consequential.

LeeC said...

Heh,
No worries Brother.
Either way, There was one post I don't even recal early on that I made a comment and your reply was to the effect that I needed to read the post.

If I recall correctly I had read it, but I got caught up in a rabbit trail and in my enthusiasm for the trail posted about it there where it wasn't realy pertinent.

Or perhaps my feeble memory is making the whole thing up. ;-)

As you said, it was of no consequence, just hoping to add some insight from the other side to ease your frustration some.

BTW word verification was made to vex the dislexic....