One of the most memorable messages at GodBlogCon was a three-word exhortation by Hugh Hewitt. Asked for words of advice for bloggers, he stated simply, "Praise the good."
Those three words prompted a fair amount of discussion, and the Mere Orthodoxy guys led a good dialogue about it during their workshop on group blogging. What does it mean for bloggers to "praise the good"? What would "praising the good" look like on a blog?
Hewitt's advice came on the heels of several other panelists' suggestion that we communicate gracefully and Biblically on our blogs. It also calls to mind Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."
What does the phrase "praising the good" mean to you? Is it a worthy goal, and what would it look like?
- Does it mean only talking about good and praiseworthy things?
- Does it mean facing the world with a relentlessly positive attitude, digging through even the most negative or sin-ridden topics in search of something praiseworthy?
- Does it mean balancing criticism with praise, making sure to counter each critique of sin or foolishness by also making a positive case for a morally superior alternative?
For me, this "praising the good" is a compelling idea. I don't think we need to turn every blog post into a relentlessly happy celebration of goodness, but I do think that one way Christian bloggers can truly set an example to others is by not buying into the general spirit of negativity that clouds an awful lot of the internet. There's a place for calling out bad theology, sinful behavior, and other examples of brokenness in society and the church; but we should be careful not to define ourselves entirely by what we aren't. As Christians, we have something exceptionally positive to offer the watching world, and if we don't showcase it--if we don't periodically take the time to draw attention to the goodness and excellence of God's Word and the Christian life--then we'll wind up as just another subculture sniping at society from the sidelines.
To me, "praise the good" evokes visions of a blogging community that is focused on higher things, that praises the everyday grace of God at least as much as it laments the fallen-ness of our world. Whether your area of interest is politics, theology, music, culture, or just life in general, are your eyes open to the hints of God's grace behind everything in Creation? Do you talk as openly and enthusiastically about those snippets of grace as you do about politicians you dislike, theology you find absurd, and movies you hate?
I don't know about you, but that's a question I want to ask myself each time I hit the "publish" button on a blog post.