Three Rules For Better Blogging: Reflections On The Wisdom Of Mark the Monk

Three Rules For Better Blogging: Reflections On The Wisdom Of Mark the Monk August 31, 2011

The blogosphere can be a good tool for the Christian. For it to be used well, there are many basic rules which should followed by those writing and commenting on blogs. While I could find hundreds of them, I am sure, there are three which are always at the forefront of my mind when I write, and I think they would help everyone.

First, there should be the realization of one’s own faults, one’s own weaknesses. This should lead one to be humble instead of prideful. Humility, true humility, goes a long way. Humility keeps one pure, and makes sure one seeks after and follows God instead of the self.  We should not brag, but rather, do what is right and, in humility, accept what comes of it. Connected to this, we should look for those who express such humility, so they can guide us and lead us to following God in the humility he desires. “Do not be a discipline of someone who praises himself, lest you learn pride instead of humility,” as Mark the Monk wrote down.[1] Nothing does the soul better than humility, for it allows one to be open to correction and improvement.

Second, one should often write in such a way that one ends up reminding and teaching oneself of what is expected by the Christian.  It is easy to look to others and find something to criticize, but is that what we need for our own self-improvement? Is our criticism going to benefit them, or does it serve to make us feel smug? What good is that for our soul?  We should, rather, write on those things which we are contemplating, those things which are being stirred up in our soul. We should reflect upon them and come to understand them better. We should let the light of truth shine upon our lives and, if necessary, write in such a way so as to remind ourselves what is most expected of us. “Do not try to resolve a tangled situation with contentiousness, but rather with what the spiritual law calls for: patience and prayer and unwavering hope.”[2] We must be patient and hope on God, calling to God in prayer, looking for God’s grace to help enlighten us as we explore the spiritual life. It is in self-criticism and spiritual reflection that God works. If we want some good to be had from our writing, converting ourselves to the good is worthwhile. And if we happen to do that for ourselves, it is likely, through God’s grace, our reflection can and will help others achieve such an end as well.

Third, and often the most difficult, one must come with a heart full of love, and one should be charitable to everyone, not just those who agree with you. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love bears all for the sake of the beloved. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is king, and should guide us in our actions on the internet. It is such love, such compassion, which will preserve any spiritual gifts we have, while if we act in any other way, the gift we have is liable to be taken away: “The person who has some spiritual gift and feels compassion for those who do not have it will keep the gift because of his compassion, but the braggart will lose it when attacked on all sides by temptations and boastfulness.”[3]

These three rules will help preserve the blogosphere and make sure that those on it keep following God instead of themselves. When we look back at the scandals involved on the net, it is clear these three rules have not been followed. Let us, therefore, strive to do better, and make the internet a place where our love, instead of our self-love, can be made known.

[1] Mark the Monk, “On the Spiritual Law” in Counsels on the Spiritual Life. Trans. Tom Vivian and Augustine Casiday (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2009), 93.

[2] Ibid., 93.

[3] Ibid., 92-3.

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