Blogging as Violence

Richard Beck

Richard Beck, thoughtful as always, decides to break his own rule and blog about blogging. Having been flogged in some quarters and praised in others for taking on liberal icon Marcus Borg last week, Richard’s post has been supremely helpful to me:

One of the things I’ve learned from writers like James Alison, a theologian deeply informed by Rene Girard, is how rivalry is intimately associated with our self-concept. Specifically, most of us create, build up and maintain our self-esteem through rivalry with others. Our sense of self-worth is created and supported by some contrast and opposition to others. I am a self in that I am over and against others. Better. Smarter. More righteous. More successful. More authentic. More humane. Less hoodwinked. More tolerant. More insightful. More kind. More something.

In short, selfhood is inherently rivalrous. Rivalry creates the self. Rivalry is the fuel of self-esteem and self-worth.

Which means that the self is inherently violent. The definition of the self is an act of aggression and violence. To be “Richard Beck” is to engage in violence against others, if not physically than affectionally. From sunrise to sunset every thought I have about myself is implicated in acts of comparison, judgement, and evaluation of others, allowing me to create a sense of self and then fill that self with feelings of significance and worthiness.

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Who’s Lightin’ It Up? The Burner Blog

A couple weeks ago, I started a Hump Day Series called “Got It Goin’ On.” What a great idea, I thought. But, like Led Zeppelin, I didn’t steal that idea. It just quietly seeped into my head from another source. And that source is The Burner Blog. You see, The Burner Blog has had a “Got It Goin’ On” feature for a long time, even giving out a pretty sweet badge for it:

When someone pointed this out to me, I had a V8 moment. So I’m giving it back to them, and renaming my series, Lightin’ It Up. Every Wednesday, I’ll point to someone, or organization, or blog that I think is kicking some ass and doing some good in the world.

This week, that honor goes to…

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What Happened on the Blog this Weekend

On Saturday, I published a guest post here. That’s not particularly uncommon. I have, of late, invited posts from guest authors. In fact, when someone emails me to express an opinion that is contrary to something I’ve written, my usual response is, “Why don’t you write a guest post on that, and I’ll publish it.”

A couple things come to mind about this stance. For one thing, I am only a person who writes books and a compensated blog because, starting in 1999, kind people shared their platforms with me. Sure, I suppose they thought I had something to say, but they also chose to give a 30-year-old youth pastor a chance to write books and speak at conferences. A decade-and-a-half later, I’m happy to do the same for other, new voices that I think you might appreciate.

Secondly, I strongly believe that writing is a meritocracy. If you have something interesting to say, and you’re relatively articulate, people will read your writing. So I feel like there’s not much to lose, and a lot to gain when I publish a post by a new voice.

What happened this weekend follows both those rules.

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The Wisest of Words from Rachel

The truth is, that dude whose blog posts totally rub you the wrong way may be the best person in the world with which to watch a football game or talk theology over beer. That acquaintance on Facebook whose pictures make her life seem perfect may struggle with self-doubt, depression, and fear. That stuffy Calvinist you love to hate may melt into a goofy, delightful playmate when he’s tickling his kids on the living room floor. The feminist you always imagine shouting other people down may have an unbelievably tender heart.  The pastor you think is always wrong probably gets a few things right. And the pastor you think is always right definitely gets some stuff wrong.

via You don’t hate me. You hate my brand..


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