Monday, April 25, 2011

Cyber-Debates - whats your take?

As a stay at home mommy, I've found myself inundated in the cyber-world. Between the 8 billion blogs and the increasingly annoying Facebook, I've found that I've replaced my social circle for a cyber one. Part of this was done out of necessity - I'm a VERY social being and having many young kids just makes it hard to get out with others, and part because it WAS fun. I loved being able to reconnect with people I haven't seen or talked to in many years! And...why call someone for advice, I can just read the millions of different opinions about it on blogs. Hello google!

But recently I've felt this cyber-world becoming heavy on my heart. I think there are several reasons for this. First, it doesn't really connect you with others. It's a pseudo-connection. I've taken face-to-face time and replaced it FB statuses and messaging, soo unfulfilling and find I still want face-to-face time!

Second, I don't feel like its edifying to the body. This one hurts me hard {conviction!} and also presents itself in many different forms. EVERYONE is opinionated. Everyone. Your FB status or blog post can be dissected, analyzed and either agreed with or refuted in the matter of minutes. I've seen this most on mommy blogs - my favorite example is this one from a close friend who was just being funny and ended up with quite the debate on her hands (and yes, I contributed- oof!).

But I also see it in the blogs of many fellow believers. And it just makes me ache. And I wonder, can a debate about non-essentials be edifying to the body?? Can we openly debate an issue while still showing love to one another and WITHOUT continuing to make true Christianity look like a three-ring circus.

I think this really this ties back into number one above. When we remove the face from our communication, it allows us to be more, dare I say harsh?, than we would be if we were face to face. I know when I read a blog that I don't agree with, my initial reaction is to "flame" the person with the correct view. I don't have to see them or talk to them - I can just say what's on my mind in whatever manner I feel like. Ouch. And talk about being left feeling more prideful and burdened than if I had said nothing at all!

I've had several people say that there needs to be a "sarcastic" font. This is probably true, but then we would also need an "I'm speaking in love" font along with a handful of others that represent emotions and tones that can only be deciphered when speaking to each other in person.

The truth is that there will be things out there people say, write and do that you won't agree with. I for one am tired of the "I do it right, you do it wrong" arguments. The world isn't black and white. When we treat it as such, we lose the opportunity to be examples of Matther 22:39 - "And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

I've {recently} made it one of my purposes to try to live this out. I want to respect how others do things and what they think, because I want others to respect me in return. When I read something I don't agree with, I've stopped myself from writing any initial thoughts and responses. Instead, I ask myself "could I say this to their face if they were standing in front of me". If the answer is "no", then I know I shouldn't reply with anything. If the answer is "yes EXCEPT they may misunderstand me", then I also don't respond.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good debate. And if you know Jeff and I even a little, you know we love a good intellectual argument. And I know I will still fail in my communication. I'm prideful. I think that my beliefs are the best, the way I mother - the most correct. But thankfully! God is slowly breaking down my pride and replacing it with His love.

So I ask - can debates {on mommy choices, biblical non-essentials, etc.} be done respectfully and in love in the cyber-world we now live in? What's been your experience?


  1. Well said my friend. It's so easy to have knee jerk reactions in cyber-world. And the differences in opinion get heated fast. And in the end, am I really speaking out of love for that person? Not really. I just want to be right. Can online debates be done respectfully and in love? I think so. I've seen it. It's rare...but with pride kept in check, it can work. Being (like you) a mom of little ones that are still small, the online world does seem to make it easier to "keep up" on what's going on. Though, nothing beats real, living life (messy and all) together interaction. So when r we getting together?? ha! Great post Abs :) xoxo

  2. Love this post! I don't know if any of our crafting conversation birthed this post, but I will say that I have been thinking about this alot lately! I think it is possible to have respectful cyber debates, but sometimes I wonder why we are spending our time doing it. Kind of silly. Maybe it's just exercise for our mommy brains!

    Love you, can't wait for some awesome face to face time this weekend.

  3. I agree that people are much more bold posting stuff online than they would be in person and I think your approach to responding to those you disagree with is a solid idea.

    Personally I think one of the reasons why it has gotten so out of control is that people have lost the ability to listen and understand. Many read a post they don't like and then freak out as if it was a personal attack on their life. People take a single sentence and carry out an argument to absurd results that the writer never intended. If we all made a little better effort to understand what the writer is trying to convey then online threads would be good ways to dispute ideas. Unfortunately, that is unlikely.

    I think it is increasingly rare for fruitful conversations through internet postings. This one seems to be going well. Good job..

  4. Loved this post! I've been thinking about this a lot lately. The way you parent is a big one - it's one that everyone thinks is important, and we're all sensitive about it. We all believe that we're doing it the right way, and for the most part that everyone else's way is wrong, but we don't ever want to be told that we're parenting wrong. I've had this issue with formula feeding - being unable to breastfeed due to a medication I'm taking, and then seeing HORRIBLE things written about formula and formula feeding moms. It's so hurtful and I get infuriated with them for being so judgmental without even knowing all the facts, and then what do I do? I turn around and judge everyone else's parenting style. "Why is their child still sleeping in their bed?" "Why are they choosing to work instead of be home with their child?" I don't know the facts, why am I passing judgment on these people? I'm speaking specfically about mothering, but I believe the same is true for a lot of debates - be it political, you name it! I've discovered it almost always leaves you with a yucky feeling and I find them to be counter-productive. I applaud you for blogging about this! Hope the pregnancy is treating you well!