Five signs you need to quit blogging

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I’ve been at this whole blogging thing for about five years now. One thing I learned very quickly: blogging can be tricky business. Although it’s not actually all that hard to get attention in the Christian blogosphere, it can be fleeting. Deadlines can weigh on you. Life gets busy, and you have to ask: should I still be doing this?

(And for those wondering, no this isn’t my subtle way of saying I’m giving up the ghost.)

So when do you know you need to quit? Here are five signs:

1. You hear your wife making “jokes” about being a blog widow. Repeatedly. Within earshot. On purpose. This is usually a good sign that you’re spending too much time on the interwebs instead of ministering with and to your family. (And my wife wants you to know she doesn’t feel this way, for which I’m grateful.)

2. Your website is the sum-total of your ministry. Brother and sister bloggers, please hear me: I love you very much. I appreciate much of what you write. But your website is not your ministry. It should be an extension of your ministry, but if you’re not serving in a local church and being involved with flesh-and-blood people in any way, then can you please shut it down?

3. You’re always going to war—and usually over the wrong things. You might say you’re “truth-teller,” a “contender for the faith,” or some other such thing, I’ve got a news flash for you, Walter Cronkite: you aren’t.1 Seriously, building an audience on controversy isn’t hard. It’s probably the easiest thing to do, regardless of where you live on the theological spectrum. Evangelical “celebrities” make it really easy for you, too.

But you know what? It’s lame.

If your whole bag is saying The Gospel Coalition is full of gospel-compromisers, the “New Calvinism” is leading people back to Rome or drinking decaf leads you to liberalism, you need to get your head straight.2 You might feel tough using the word “heretic,” but you’ve got to take it easy. It’s a big word and can’t be taken back easily (the same goes for those who liberally toss about “fundamentalist” by the way). There are times when it’s definitely necessary, but you know when you should use it? When it’s really necessary.3

“For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (Matt. 7:2). If you’re always on the warpath, do you really think that’s not going to come back to bite you?

4. You turn every issue to your pet cause. I’ve seen radical egalitarian types lose their beans when a man says husbands should help around the house (because “helping” isn’t good enough), and pundits desperately search for a calvinistic conspiracy theory shaped needle in a haystack, but c’mon. Sometimes a comment is just a comment. If you’re always looking for the “thing” to justify your position, it’s a good sign you need to shut things down.

5. Your online persona and who you are in reality are unrecognizable. Confession: everybody’s got a little bit of this.4 Many bloggers find it easier to communicate their thoughts through words on a screen than words from their mouths. I get it. I’m like that, too. But if you’re a raging firebrand online and are about as gentle as a kitten offline, if being behind a domain name makes you feel mighty when you normally feel weak, you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

If you travel around the Christian blog world at all, you’ll almost certainly recognize a few things I’ve listed here (which is also why I’ve chosen to forego naming specific sites). Heck, I’ve been guilty of a number of them myself (particularly being a bit too liberal with the h-word). Keeping the main thing (Jesus) the main thing can be tricky, but it’s worth it. And if you can’t, it’s okay to admit it. Just be willing to do something about it.

Show 4 footnotes

  1. Look, a Zoolander reference! Does that mean I’m still “with it” and/or “hip?” Probably not.
  2. Full disclosure: I switched to decaf about a month ago. I sleep a lot better. I still love Jesus. And I still really hate sin.
  3. And eschatology doesn’t count as a time to call someone a heretic by the way. Chances are, all of us have at least partially heretical views on this point.
  4. Except Trevin Wax. He’s remarkably consistent.

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  • Kim Shay

    I’ve been blogging since 2004, and there have been many times I’ve asked myself this question. I find blogging can feed into an already present disposition to complain and be critical. Some days, when I log off to pay attention to real life, I find myself uneasy and grumbly all day. That’s when I know it’s time to stop visiting certain sights and or just take a couple of days off.

  • http://myharpblog.com/ Elliott J. Scott

    Wow, great article. This is an amazing resource for bloggers to keep themselves in check. Thanks for writing!

  • Andrew Bernhardt

    I’ve also been blogging for a long time (since BBS days), and recently I’ve been thinking about the same thing – not just blogging but also participating in online forums.

    I don’t post as often as others (…it doesn’t come as easy to me, and I have plenty of other things taking up my time), but I still like to spend time reading what others have to say and occasionally putting in my two cents.

    Sometimes I’ll read a blog or forum post in the morning before going to work, then have to wait till I get home to comment. In the meantime, a whole string of comments and replies has been added, many by the same people. I think, ‘Don’t these people have anything else to do during the day than spend it online?’ But even though I have other things to do, I tend to do the same thing during my free time. I’m also guilty.

    A blog can be used as a ministry, but as you mentioned in point #2, I wonder if we consider it our main form of ministry when it shouldn’t be. James said true religion is going out and helping the widows and orphans. I think ministry should be like that: getting your hands dirty helping the needy. Being personal – face to face. It’s easy to sit comfortably at home and spend all my ministry time in front of a computer monitor, but it is harder to show love that way.

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  • Nitoy Gonzales

    Well said Aaron…

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