Monday, May 21, 2012

Proverbs for Christian Blogging: How to Have Something to Say Without Being a Fool

In my years of blogging I have read a fair amount of articles on how to create a successful blog that receives a steady flow of traffic.  One piece of advice that is always present on these “How to Be an Awesome Blogger” lists is that you need to write frequently.  If you want to become a better writer and a successful blogger you need to at least post something daily. 

Yet there is another piece of advice that in some form or another is always present on these lists; namely, you need to have something to say.  Any schmuck could post something on a blog daily.  Just as an schmuck can post to Twitter of Facebook 12 times in 15 minutes.  Unfortunately for schmucks nobody really wants to know updates on various bowel movements, your opinion on foreign cheeses, or your minute by minute opinion of the happenings on C-Span.  If you want an audience you need to give them something worthy of reading. 

There really is more at stake here than just being able to gain traffic.  Not only did Jesus say we would be judged by every idle word spoken, but we also have a helpful Proverb that encourages the restraint of the lips (and probably tips of your fingers tapping away at your mobile device). 

    When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
        but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
    The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
        the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
    The lips of the righteous feed many,
        but fools die for lack of sense.
(Proverbs 10:19-21 ESV)

The Faithful Blogger’s Conundrum

You have to write every day.  But you cannot just write anything.  It needs to be seasoned with grace.  It needs to be edifying.  If we want to avoid talking as fools then we will avoid being ranked among those that “talk for ever upon nothing” (Bridges, 102). 

Some 150 years before Al Gore invented the internet, Charles Bridges speaks well to the blogger’s task:

…it is surely our wisdom to refrain our lips…not indeed to silence, but in caution; to weigh our words before uttering them; never speaking, except when we have something to say; speaking only just enough; considering the time, circumstances, and person; what is solid suitable, and profitable.

In other words we probably should only write when we have something to say.  And when we do write we should say “only just enough” and not labor on and on.  Yet, there is still that pressing dictum POST SOMETHING EVERYDAY.  What is a faithful blogger to do?

The Blogger’s Resource

There are two things that will help you to have something to say without being a fool.  First, be a Christian.  That means that you have the “indwelling Word” and because of this “the mouth of the righteous man is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 10:11).  The Spirit of God works in the life of the believer to make his tongue “choice silver” and to help “feed many”.  If you are a believer in Jesus you have something to say, every day, because His mercies are new every morning. 

Second, keep a notebook.  Proverbs 10:5 says, “He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame”.  Also 10:14 says, “The wise lay up knowledge”.  Not every day will feel like summer.  Yes, you have the Spirit of God and yes, his mercies are new every morning.  But some days are wintery and blisteringly cold.  It’s hard to see and feel the sunshine on those days.  You need a notebook filled with July’s insights when life hands you December.  Work your tail off in July so that your December isn’t barren.

I want to give a few practical tips on that next time…

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