On Ranting

Disclosure: This is not my first blog.

I used to have another blog, one that I updated with a fair degree of regularity. I didn’t have a lot of followers, but the ones I did have were reliable followers who would read and comment often. I enjoyed that blog, especially when I posted about something personal or sought input on a tricky issue. Then my “faithful” few would engage in discussion and debate in the comment section, and I would find perspectives I had not considered before.

I missed that. That’s largely why I started a new blog.

But I’ve learned some lessons along the way. And one of them is that when I rant, I don’t get the responses I like.

I realize it’s been a week since I posted anything here. It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve written several drafts, all of them “ranty” in tone and nature. I’ve saved them as drafts, hoping to revise them into coherence, but every time I’ve re-read them, I’ve found myself bitterly disappointed.

I thought I was done ranting.

The problem is that the Vast and Glorious Internet rewards ranting. On my old blog, my most popular posts were the ones in which I ranted with great passion and vehemence on the offensive topic of the day. I had record hits and comments, and occasionally, some other blogger or two would link to my post.

Rewarding to the ego? Certainly.

Good for my mental health? For my reputation? Not in the least.

Inevitably, when I returned to those posts, I felt only deep shame and embarrassment. Even if all of the comments and links were favorable, I hated that I let my emotions get away from me in that fashion. I try to be rational–I try to be a voice of reason, a good ambassador for my family, church, volunteer groups, and mostly for Christ. Ranting does not make me a good ambassador.

This season of my life has been a challenge, to say the least. I am still grieving the loss of my work. I am dealing with that grief through prayer and busy-ness–filling my empty hours with lots and lots of volunteer work, knitting, and reading. But aside from adjusting to this “new normal,” I am wrestling with God over many of the non-essentials of the faith. I have a lot of opinions about the corporate church in America, the inconsistencies of people who loudly proclaim themselves Christ-followers, the role of the church, and on and on. I do not neatly fit into a category, I fear, and thus my unpopular opinions might seem defensive and unkind and strident to my own brothers and sisters in Christ.

I have no desire to alienate people I will spend eternity with.

Actually, I have no desire to alienate anyone.

I desire to have an attractive manner that will draw people to Christ. Ranting is anathema to maintaining an attractive manner.

And so, the drafts will remain drafts as long as they sound unreasonable, arrogant, emotional, or “ranty.” I do not want to have followers who only visit because I’m on a tirade. This blog is not about gaining followers, anyway. This is more of a true “web log”–my online journal of my faith journey, mostly, although I will occasionally dive into politics or personal anecdotes should the mood strike favorably in that direction. If people choose to join me, they may. If not, I wish them well.

But while I won’t shy away from the controversial or the challenging issues, necessarily, I will at least promise that I will let those posts sit for a time before I share my thoughts. I will impose a waiting period before I hit “publish.” I don’t want to be known as a ranter. I want to be considered reasonable, intelligent, and perhaps even thought-provoking. And if that means that only four people read my posts, then that is perfectly fine with me.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

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4 thoughts on “On Ranting

  1. speakpeacealways

    Maybe you have a gift for stirring people to think, and if you surrender that gift to Jesus, and bring it under His Lordship, He can use it to bring about changes in attitudes of people. I’m sure Martin Luther would have made good use of the internet and blog world. All the best on your journey in truth and grace.

    1. jmpadoc Post author

      I suppose it is possible that I could stir people to think. I would not put myself in the same category as Mr. Luther, however! 🙂 I must remember that there’s a difference between an impassioned but reasoned argument and a rant. That’s where I need the enforced waiting period.

      Thank you for the comment!

  2. Laurel C Kriegler

    I think one does have to at least practice the “think before you speak” rule, but one also needs to get issues out of one’s system. So, like you say, it’s whether one keeps certain pieces of writing private, while making others public.

    1. jmpadoc Post author

      Yes, agreed. And while I might return to some of those drafts and see if I can manage to force them into coherence and reason, at the moment, they should remain private.

      I also don’t want to be over-cautious, though, and avoid controversial things for fear of reprisal or offense. It should be all right to bring up something controversial in the public square/blogosphere–as long as the topic is approached with a graceful and articulate manner. I think I’m still learning where to draw that fine line between ranting and reasoning . . .

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