On blogging and “tone”

So. For those of you not following along with the discussion on yesterday’s post about worship… here’s an update.

I wrote that post with a healthy dose of irony. I thought. And I was aiming for humour, rather than offence, when adopting the persona of an “angry young man” essentially writing to a bunch of other “angry young people” and calling them old. I was trying to call out those people who were once advocators of change for being a bit stuck in the rut of that advocacy when things have changed. I also thought it was funny that the issue at hand dealt with music – which I thought was universally understood to be a marker of generational change…

And, in order to be noticed, I adopted hyperbole. I ironically wrote a reactive polemic against reactive polemics, calling for nuance. I thought that would be relatively clear.

But it turns out, once again, that the Internet isn’t very good for that sort of stuff. Even though I think that blogging is a medium different to other mediums (ie content is spur of the moment, geared towards the sensational, provocative, not completely thought out and referenced, opinionated, a contribution to discourse, etc), and think the reader has as much responsibility to consider the genre when responding as the writer does to consider the reader when writing… I think this post failed. People responded to the style, rather than the substance. And so, I edited it. You should read the post and join the discussion.

I am sorry that my post was not clear, and I’m sorry that it was possibly an offensive caricature of particular positions (again, ironically, because I would argue that almost all reactionary/polemic based stuff, especially on the internet, relies on caricatures and straw men).

Also, I am sorry if you’re 35 and I called you old, or if my post offended you in myriad other ways. But I guess my one response is – don’t let the offence get in the way of engaging with the issue, or be an excuse for dismissing the substance of the post or its criticism of your position.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the pastor of City South Presbyterian Church, a church in Brisbane, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus. If you'd like to support his writing financially you can do that by giving to his church.

4 thoughts on “On blogging and “tone””

  1. Hi Nathan, I enjoy the tone of your blog – it’s part of why I tune in. Please don’t change.

    Employing a ridiculing tone on the worship issue touched a raw nerve for me because it’s something that has been used to great effect in the debate already, and has largely been unhelpful in my view. I have observed that its use has helped people to have unthinking responses – see my fb comment on your original post about the mention of “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs. Ok, at least, I had an unthinking response to it – not completely sure of others.

    So my objection was to the use of that tone on this particular issue only. Again, I agreed with much of your content, and I am paying attention to that content – I’m sorry it only rated one line in my response and the tone-nazi comments filled the rest.


    1. Hi Dene,

      This post isn’t indicative of a general change in tone – just indicative that I’ve reflected on the acerbic and ironic tone not being particularly helpful in certain contexts… and it’s just something I have to be more mindful of… if I keep saying “people need to understand the medium” then at some point it’s actually my problem, as well as theirs…

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