15 June 2005

The Do-It-Yourself Group Blogging Kit for Emerging Religious Types



Virtual drinking guilds and smoking-fraternity group blogs are all the rage these days—especially those devoted to picking fights about theology and religion. Here's a step-by-step guide to everything you need to start your own similar frat-house-cum-religious-debate blog. Follow my advice, and you and your coterie of compadres can soon be starting your own theological food-fights in the virtual realm, just like the Big Boys:

  1. You have to have a clever name. Pub-names (as well as names of famous writers' brotherhoods who once hung out in pubs) have been done to death. Yawn. Try something fresh: adapt the name of your favorite sports team ("Manchester Separated"), motorcycle club ("Heaven's Devils"), fast-food joint ("Bloggo Bell") or something similar. (I don't think "Posse Blogitatus" has been used yet. Whoever takes it first can have it, courtesy of the PyroManiac.)
  2. Recruit five to ten contributors with major attitudes. They don't necessarily have to be able to think; but they must be outspoken. Some of the über-bad-boy bloggers use copious amounts of brew to achieve the desired effect. I don't recommend this. Your blogger-team can include women, but they must be kept mostly in the background—and it's good if they at least try to be cruder than the guys.
  3. Always blur lines. Especially blur the lines between humor and malevolence; between cleverness and bad taste; and between fresh thinking and old heresies. Mock what is sacred and celebrate what is worldly, but never do this overtly or without a disclaimer—no matter how insincere the disclaimer.
  4. Speaking of fresh thinking, be careful to guard against affirming any old ideas. You don't want to be thought of as too staid. You must be provocative if you are going to compete in the cutting-edge religious-frat-house-blog marketplace. If you are concerned about retaining your good standing in your church or some Christian organization that you work for, you don't really need to advocate anything unorthodox to accomplish this. It's sufficient just to question the old orthodoxies.
  5. In fact, be careful not to affirm too much of anything. Instead, ask questions; raise doubts; stir controversy; foment scepticism. Again, always include the requisite disclaimers.
  6. Tolerate no criticism from readers. You might have to turn off the comments at your blog if your blog-team isn't clever enough to answer detractors. (By "answer" I mean, of course, that you need to insult and belittle them with personal put-downs.) One blog ran out of insults before running out of critics, so they devised a brilliant all-purpose answer for every criticism: Just tell people you are having a "private" conversation, so would-be critics of your ideas should pay you no mind. Inventive, huh?
  7. Now, here's the coup de grâce—a virtual cheat-sheet so that when you can't think of anything truly clever, you can still sound theologically erudite: Do-It-Yourself Impressive Theological Constructs®.

Voila! Your own group blog.

Now get blogging.


36 comments:

Richard Goff said...

Can we expect a full-on seminar tour in the near future? It's a sell-out in the making! Good stuff.

Peter Bogert said...

Ah Phil, 'tis good to have you on the scene.

BTW, your Shepherds Conference seminar on Justification is superb. My iPod was enjoying it with me on my 2-mile walk late this afternoon.

Gaddabout said...

You and James White should challenge BHT to a wrestling match. My money's on the Reformers.

Andrew said...

Wow, someone's really got you fired up!

jared said...

I think it's sorta funny that you mention us (Thinklings) in this post since we bear virtually no ideological resemblance to our friends at the BHT.

We Thinklings are all teetolallers.
We're all conservative theologically.
Only one us (me, I guess) could be considered rude (or whatever it is you're saying a group blog must be).
I could go on.

I don't mention this to be defensive per se, but to defend my fellow Thinklings who just don't match these good-humored criticisms AT ALL. I don't want them to get labeled with any brush you think might apply to me.

There was a day when satire was based on truth . . .

Encourager said...

Apparently the number one tip on "How to write a humorous post for your own blog while subtly skewering blogs of others" is Try not to read the blogs you are mocking too thoroughly, it might cause you to have to scrap, or at least seriously rewrite, your piece

revbill said...

Wow! Before long everyone will be talking like us theologs!

Pedantic Protestant said...

Ah, you beat me to the punch Mr Johnson! I was going to blog on this in my own pedantic style, but decided to play basketball instead.

Truly, he who hesitates is lost.

Kevin Jones said...

Thanks for the tips. I've been hoping to develop a small but fanatical cult-like following on my blog. Maybe I should become an emerging blog and follow your formula...

Carla said...

I just have one question ...

Exactly how much time per day, do you spend/obessing on creating these oh-so-clever PyroGraphics?

Pale Rider said...

Pure gold, Phil. Everytime I step into that BHT saloon I can't get over the cynics putting another head on their daily mug of scorn.
Its whining, ad nauseum . . . And contempt for anyone who might be a hair more positive about the groan du jour than they. Now most of us will admit that significant portions of the American church are in the crapper, but these fellows can't seem to find anything in 2000 years of Christendom to celebrate WHOLEHEARTEDLY. Your excellent satire (with heaping doses of the truth) will no doubt bring the narcissistic blogophants rolling out for a brawl. Don't touch the buhdda! Don't think that would bother you much, though! Keep it coming!

ct said...

This is your best post thus far, Phil. And when I say that it means something because, well...because.....

As for Jared's comment: the Thinklings still have comments activated, but they delete like the devil anything they can't handle or that just rocks their world like a 1.8 earth quake.

They also have their distinctive self-justifications after-the-fact. (Usually something like: "If I have one fault it's probably that I'm too loyal to my friends. You're not my friend. The internet gives me the chance to talk like a sixteen-year-old girl and pronounce people my friends or not my friends. You're not my friend. So, you're finished here, sorry, bye bye, you're banned." Then they write another sensitive-Christian post, or something referencing them taking their child to a park...)

Their prerogative, but they can't claim to be exemptions from your satire...

jared said...

Xenophon, yes when someone -- say, like you, for instance -- writes perverse things I can't even figure out how to suggest without being profane on our site, we tend to delete it. Most of our readers aren't interested in remarks like, say, your last remark at our site about Satan's, um, ejaculate.
So, yeah, when people like YOU write profane and perverse things, it rocks our site like an earthquake. If not wanting to hear disgusting things said about and to us makes me a 16 year old girl, well okay.

We Thinklings welcome dissent. We also require civility. You don't know how to do the former with the latter, and that's why you've been banned from more sites than just ours.

As for taking my kids to the park: I'll plead guilty to that one. Didn't know we weren't supposed to write about things like that online. But with degenerates like you lurking, it makes sense.

ct said...

Jared, dear sensitive, seemingly always angry, Jared...

Jared, you seem like a normal guy, and likable enough. Methinks though that you are a bit thin skinned and perhaps not as nice as you obviously think yourself to be.

I notice when you banned me (hardly for using bad language but solely for criticizing your 'friend' the iMonk) that one of your regulars made a follow-up post asking you why you always had to ban people. Well, because your site is your little control zone (which is your prerogative...and by the way notice I'm spelling prerogative correctly even though I'm a Phil's blog reader and hence, as one of your commentors said, 'not that bright') and hence your site is boring.

Now defend yourself by writing about how you took your child to see the ocean for the first time...

ct said...

I'll start my own blog again sometime, like the last one, and you'll all have no escape. You can't ignore arrows that hit their mark...like, your backside (Phil doesn't like bad language so I have to say 'backside'), your Achilles, your brain, your heart, your vanity, your man-fearing theology...alot of targets. A target-rich environment...

Kurt N. said...

Jared man, don't talk to Xenophon. You're higher class than that. :)

ct said...

I feel your specialness.

centuri0n said...

Xeno:

You have achieved infamy. Bask in your disrepute. ;-)

AuthenticTruth said...

Great satire! Much of what I have observed in the "emerging" blogs is a general attitude of rebellion. Kind of like a rebellious teenager.

Sled Dog said...

After reading a post like this, I wonder how much the Pyromaniac really differs from the sophmoric BHT guys(I don't know anything about "The Thinklings"). I'm not talking about doctrine, but in the way I used to have to break up fights between Junior High boys when I was a youth pastor. It just amazes me that people would actually encourage such conduct. Good stuff? Pure gold? Achieving infamy? What makes you people different that Michael Spencer's tavern mates?

ct said...

We can't give you discernment, sleddog. Only the Spirit can give you discernment.

Kurt N. said...

Well, remember, the BHT is a group bar, er, blog..whatever. Pyromaniac is just one man burning with a cluster of commenters come to bask in the heat (or to wonder where all the smoke's coming from) ;)

Sled Dog said...

Well, that's true Xeno...

It just seems that their is an air of immaturity surrounding all of this. Phil's got his groupies, Imonk has his.

When I read this post it struck me in the same way as when someone gleefully pointed out something in the MacArthur Study Bible concordance. Seems someone thought it would be cheeky to include the category "scriptures supporting infant baptism, noting Proverbs 30:6 as a reference:

"Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar"

I didn't know if this was some inside joke, or a barb, or what. All I knew was I wondered, "What
in the world is this doing here?"

I appreciate the Ambassador's Creed from the Stand to Reason Ministry:

An ambassador is…

Ready. An Ambassador is alert for chances to represent Christ and will not back away from a challenge or an opportunity.

Patient. An Ambassador won’t quarrel, but will listen in order to understand, then with gentleness seek to respectfully correct those in opposition.

Reasonable. An Ambassador has informed convictions (not just feelings), gives reasons, asks questions, aggressively seeks answers, and will not be stumped by the same challenge twice.

Tactical. An Ambassador adapts to each unique person and situation, maneuvering with wisdom to challenge bad thinking, presenting the truth in an understandable and compelling way.

Clear. An Ambassador is careful with language, and will not rely on Christian lingo nor gain unfair advantage with empty rhetoric.

Fair. An Ambassador is sympathetic and understanding towards the opposition, and will acknowledge the merits of contrary views.

Honest. An Ambassador is careful with the facts and will not misrepresent his opponent, overstate his own case, or understate the demands of the Gospel.

Humble. An Ambassador is provisional in his claims, knowing that his understanding of truth is fallible, and will not press a point beyond what his evidence allows.

Attractive. An Ambassador will act with grace, kindness, and good manners and will not dishonor Christ in his conduct.

Dependent. An Ambassador knows that effectiveness requires joining his best efforts with God’s power.

Sled Dog said...

Blogger complaint...that I can't go back and edit; I wrote "their" when I meant to write "there"...

Weston Hicks said...

You can't necessarily blame Mr. Johnson for his fan club, but this post definately seemed like sanctimonious carping attempting to sound cute. But I've really enjoyed many of his posts, so keep up the good work. The enemies of Pyro's fan club just need to quit interacting with them. Most of them don't demonstrate much besides a cultish devotion to finally having a sharp, witty guy in there corner. Its something of an oasis in the desert, I'm sure, but that doesn't mean you should encourage them with interaction.

ct said...

Phil Johnson's a dispensationalist. In my book that means he's nigh a theological delinquent (I used a different word, but edited it). Yet in his case since he understands the doctrines of grace and he values the Word of God as being the very Word of God he's on-the-mark and unfortunately rare these days, hence he gets attention.

He just needs to lose his allegiance to shallow doctrine like dispen.... (and perhaps lose his fear of going against John MacArthur and other men along those lines) and maybe actually awaken to what men such as Gill and Spurgeon knew (men who Phil shows a rather conspicuous partiality towards)...

pastorshaun said...

The sarcasm is flowing sweetly today.

Matthew said...

Hmm... a formal analysis will quickly show that the meaning of major elements is further compounded by considering the relevant dynamics of Luke-Acts.

Wow, it works! I feel more self-righteous already!

ct said...

Go over to the BHT sometime, and see how God hardens fools. Their sneering and mocking at anything Christian or patriotic has been on a discernable, pace-accumulating slide and has literally begun to smell through the cyber medium.

Kurt N. said...

Just so y'all know, this is the "patriotic" site that we "hard-hearted" types are chuckling at.

ct said...

It's worth repeating: Phil's satire on the BHT and related types is:

DEAD ON.

Sled Dog said...

Satire is often very effective at bringing a perspective to light. It is rarely effective at building any bridges...

ct said...

Lifelines or bridges? Which is more necessary? I'd say in the BHT crew's case throwing them a lifeline is what is necessary.

Also, satire, when on target (which Phil's in this case is) can be a healthy shock to awaken its target.

Mark said...

Phil,

You inspire me! And you inspired a less than inspiring blog name... I have a new blog (thanks to this post)...Posse Bloggare Posse Non Bloggare...I give you all the credit! Check it out: http://rpcbmt.blogspot.com

Thanks!
mark (aka TEXPresby)

john o'keefe said...

as one of those emerging bloggers - i would say, "close, so very close" - you missed it on some points, but hey - can't expect perfection (not even from a 'modernist') - given that i am emerging/postmodern all i can say is "maybe" :)

Dan said...

Cute, but a glance at site maintained by scholars such as Scot Mcknight's Jesus Creed and the consortium of academicians who maintain the Generous Orthodoxy ThinkTank seem to disprove everything said in this post (espeically the "affirm only what is new" criticism that once applied to the liberals of Machen's day, and has been used as a drip-pan catch-all criticism ever since).