Welcome to Carnivorous Caribou

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blogger Break

Quite briefly stated, I'm shutting down the blog for a couple of weeks...maybe longer. Here's why:
    1. I don't want to be a negative guy. Anyone can be the person who simply points out problems in everyone else. I fear this blog may be turning me into that guy.
    2. Yet, I have a passion to see the Church become more discerning. As a pastor, it's difficult to figure out what your role is when people in your church are reading/listening to/watching things you wish they weren't. Are you shepherding them if you ignore things you find dangerous?
    3. Blog comments can be used to open dialogue and allow people to see different perspectives. A blog can different than a written paper in that people can help formulate a view as it is in process.
    4. However, it appears that most of my commenters view things pretty similar to me. And while I appreciate all of you (and of course feel you are right when you agree with me!), I worry that if I may be becoming more critical, am I making you so as well? Are we feeding off of one another? (Of course, the other possibility is that I have chased away all people that disagree with me. And if so, I'm not proud of that.)
Bottom line: I don't really like myself right now and I'm not sure if the blog is contributing to that.

However, I am not fishing! HONESTLY!

I'd be interested in your feedback. It may help me work through these thoughts. However, it still is my blog, so there are some ground rules:
    1. No anonymity! Sorry, mom (and lg), but you'll have to register. I'll even come over to your house and do it for you if you want, but I'm sick of people making strong comments while hiding behind a shield.
    2. No empty comments. Again, I am not fishing for compliments. If you're going to comment about my blog, please do so in these four ways:

    a. Does this blog actually help stimulate your spiritual growth? Do you find yourself more passionate about Christ, or exhibiting character that would grieve our Lord after reading this blog?
    b. Does this blog help you think critically without getting overly critical?
    c. Can a blog even be a place for honest discussion? Can it foster communication or simply turn into a one way conversation?
    d. Do the blog posts make you think, "Yikes, I'm glad I'm not in that guys church" or "This pastor cares about his congregation."


If you are uncomfortable replying via the blog, you can also email me here.

See you again around August 21st...maybe.

11 Comments:

  • At 11:12 PM, Blogger Brad said…

    Danny,

    It would be very difficult for me to express how disappointed I would be if you shut down your blog. (It's hard enough to think about your taking two weeks off, especially since they're the last two weeks of my break)

    There are some of us out here who are starving for the kind of interaction your blog facilitates.
    Furthermore, the topics you address are legitimate issues facing the church, and they need to be discussed. Given the small number of blogs where such interaction is available and such issues are discussed, it would simply be unacceptable for you to discontinue yours.

    Look, there will always be people out there who don't want to hear anything negative said about anyone at anytime. At least, that's what they say as they criticize you for doing so. You can't take that kind of criticism too seriously.

    Do we need to be concerned about being over-critical? Of course. Are you over-critical? I really don't think so. Not that it is wise to compare man to man, but there are plenty of blogs out there that make yours look like an episode of Barney.

    And what if you have been too critical at times? We don't learn gracious speech by ceasing to open our mouths. If someone thinks you've crossed the line, they can say so, you can evaluate their claims, and if they have merit, you can repent and change.

    If I've been guilty of being over-critical on your blog, or of making you feel like you're being over-critical (I can think of comments that might have done either), please lay it not to my account.

    What you're doing here is profitable, without question. Is it the most effective medium? Probably not as effective as having a group of mutually interested people sitting in the same room over a cup of (anything that tastes good) and discussing the same issue. But just try getting that to happen. Taking what we can get, I can't think of a better way to facilitate the kind of quality interaction available here.

    Take a break. Change what you need to change. Then get back at it.

    Hey, even Vic says you should keep it up.

     
  • At 12:16 AM, Blogger BReformed said…

    This may be my first or second comment on your site. Sorry, maybe I should have commented more often.

    Danny, I don't think any of us wants to "be negative". Susan can attest that almost every time I preach or teach I ask her afterward, "Did I sound mad?" or "Did that come across negative?" We are sometimes (only sometimes) more critical of ourselves than others. Certainly Jeremiah didn't want to be negative, either, and he was more or less called to it -- at a crucial time in Israel's apostate digression. Now we are not called to negativity, but if the church is in a digression toward false teaching, or apostasy, then what do you think the mood of the Holy Spirit is? I'd say negative. If the Holy Spirit's mood is negative, what would you expect God's Spirit-filled messenger to be? If God is fed up with lukewarmness, He's going to puke. If the church doesn't repent, He's going to yank the lampstand from its place. Yes, that's negative.

    But then there's the gospel!! The gospel is the alternative, and that's the whole point of preaching caution and correction. That part ain't fun, but somebody has to do it so that we can get to the good news!

    Two Sunday's ago, I preached a strong message on repentance. For the first time, I had church members saying, "I thought about that all day." A week later at a pool party, it came up again as being "very helpful" and produced more theological conversation than had been experienced by these people in a long time! It was a negative sermon; I actually told people they may not be saved. It resulted in understanding of, and an enthusiasm for, the gospel! I am not joking. I could see it actually mitigate the nonsense that I have seen other pastors put up with: fussing with crap and conversing about things that have nothing to do with eternity. The pool party needed no "token devotion" or facade of spirituality; the people were at the trough asking for it and all that after a negative sermon! When people are properly focused on eternity and the gravity of that proposition, the Kingdom of Heaven becomes their thought life! It is a tough, continuous battle to get people to that point, as you know.

    I think your posts are balanced, timely, intellectually stimulating, and very serious. Perhaps the seriousness is perceived as "negative". It ought not to be; it's just serious. After all, this is not tidily winks. The church and world climate is not good, and scripture says it will not get better. The church needs, and the blogosphere needs, serious truth-tellers. Like-minded thinkers and preachers need to speak publicly, and interact with each other publicly. Our congregations need to see that we are not playing games, we are not experimenting with church dynamics, and we are not pusillanimous leaders. Preachers need to be more like other "gifted" occupations: rocket scientists live and breath their formulae; engineers dream about their inventions (I know because my dad is one); seamstresses live to cut fabric from the next pattern; sports fanatics know all the stats; musicians anticipate the next score. So why can't preachers wax deeply on the subjects that speak to the salvation of men's souls from eternal damnation without a fear of sounding negative?

    I'm being too negative. Deep breath. Exhale.

    My time is not flexible right now for persistent blogging, but in order to promote balance on BReformed, I have had a desire to do a book review on Monday, "Theology on Tuesday", a hymn on Wednesday, an essay on some doctrine or propositional truth on Thursday, a "Week in Review" on Friday, and a Sunday preview lesson on Saturday. Maybe you could develop a similar schedule to lend the balance you think is missing, and broaden the scope of your carnivorality.

    My short answers to your questions:

    Question a): Absolutely.

    Question b): Absolutely. In fact, it de-fuses my negativity. Your interview with Vic is a great example. After reading his paper, I was about to write a diatribe of my own. Your balanced interview was a perfect antidote to my negativity, and I learned a thing or two from your interview.

    Question c): Of course it can. It's a technological "Mars Hill", if you will. Like I said earlier, we should interact publicly more often to encourage that two-way conversation you note is missing.

    Question d) You can ask my family, or my close friends who know me: your influence here draws me to your church -- but God has other plans.

    Yes, we may be feeding off one another. But what, exactly, is wrong with any post on your site that I should not feed off of it? There isn't a shred of impoliteness, heresy, arrogance...any of the stuff you'd find on my site. So there.

    Keep your blog open, brother.

     
  • At 8:43 AM, Blogger ~d said…

    danny,
    i like what you said a couple of weeks ago in church about the way God had been dealing with you, teaching you, moving you toward something, though you weren't sure what it would look like in the end. (not your exact words, but close?) i should have expressed to you then what that does to a member of the body who sits under you teaching each week - it is hugely reassuring! to know that you seek God's heart before approaching the pulpit with the authority He's given you is not only encouraging, it really made me sit up and take more notice than usual. so whatever is going on now, as you decide how to proceed, that, too, God will make clear to you. You and He know your heart better than we do, and your honest introspection and reflection can only result in something positive.

     
  • At 8:49 AM, Blogger TheReformedThinker said…

    Danny,

    I agree with both Brad and David. I understand the need to sometimes take a break when things reach a boiling point, but I pray after the break you would keep your blog going. It encourages and challenges me daily. I don't view your blog as negative, I view it as one of the few blogs that consistently with love point people to the truth. We are commanded (whether we are preachers or laymen) to preach the word in season and out of season. When it is out of season it stands to reason that you are going to be viewed as negative at times, but in reality you are doing what you are commanded to do. You preach, and blog, to God's glory not man's approval. The prophets are filled with examples how they were the only ones crying out for God's truth, I imagine they felt very similar to you.

    The prophet Ezekiel in Chapter 3 gives some great words of encouragement. The Lord tells him that he is sending him to a rebellious people and in v. 5 he says "As for them, whether they listen or not - for they are a rebellious house - they will know that a prophet has been among them." Don't confuse the resistence you see to being counter culture as being negative.

    Danny, there are 3 blogs I check multiple times a day. Yours, BReformed's, and his wifes MericulGrace. I find that each of these blogs challenge me every single day. As I have said before I am starving for this kind of teaching as I don't get it at the church I have been attending. I want the meat of the word, I want to understand His Scripture more clearly, I want to bring glory to His name. And your blog has been an indescribeable aide in that process. You have been gifted by God to explain the deep things of God.

    Fight the fight, keep the faith and sheperd your flock.

    "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, throught Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen" Jude 24,25

    Brothers in Christ, friends for life,
    Matt

     
  • At 9:04 AM, Blogger jason said…

    Danny,
    I've been reading a biography on Luther recently and no, i don't think you are overly negative. I think what you see as being critical we see as keeping the evangelical community honest, asking everyone to explain how what their church does and how that reflects the gospel. If there is something wrong with that I don't want to be right.

     
  • At 9:48 AM, Blogger RevPharoah said…

    a) Yes, overall, your comments and insights challenge me to be more passionate about Christ and the gospel

    b) Yes, the blog helps me think critically

    c) I think blogs are a good place to post thoughts, but not necessarily all that good for conversation.

    d) I hear a guy who is passionate about Christ, Scripture and Truth. But I'm not sure the expression of that passion in this blog recently would make people feel loved.

    Yesterday I was talking with a friend and sharing the gospel with him. His question was, "If humanity has been around for about 15,000 years, and Jesus came about 2,000 years ago, it seems like God took an awfully long time to send us the only way to be saved?"

    You can't answer that question without knowing good dispensational theology! We started talking about Abraham and Melchizedek! Good meaty Bible teaching is necessary for evangelism and discipleship.

    But I still go back to I Timothy 1:5 "The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, and a good conscience and a sincere faith." Not a desire to be right.

     
  • At 4:16 PM, Blogger ~~anna~~ said…

    Danny,
    I have always found your blog to be inspiring, encouraging and thought provoking. It on occasion has made me laugh, cry, ponder and evaluate. Yes, at times to actually stop and praise the LORD for the man he has put in leadership of our church. It has reminded me to pray for our church leaders.
    So, take a break if you feel so lead, but please return to offer a strong spiritual influence.

     
  • At 8:16 AM, Blogger thehonus said…

    Danny,

    I think that you know how I feel. I quit blogging about a year ago because it reinforced my naturally tendencies to be negative, critical and sarcastic (the trifecta!). In fact, in recent months I've stopped checking out nearly all on-line journals as they seem to be fostering even greater polarization among sincere believers. I encourage you to honestly search your soul with your time off and ask the Spirit to show you whether or not this thing needs to be a part of your life.

    I love you bro,

    Honus

     
  • At 6:51 PM, Blogger BReformed said…

    Will these bones live?

     
  • At 8:02 PM, Blogger TheReformedThinker said…

    oh brother where are thou?

     
  • At 9:06 PM, Blogger Brad said…

    Where is the promise of his coming?

     

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