The Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida (where I used to serve) has urged his diocese, “I would encourage you to join me in a 40-day fast from reading the web blogs. ” To be fair, Bp. Lipscomb has in mind the topical, controversy-mongering blogs that derive a sort of vampiric appeal from exacerbating the disagreements that beset the Episcopal Church these days. When he refers to “the blogs” (without specific antecedent in the letter), he pretty surely refers to just a few.
At the same time, the letter bespeaks some sad misunderstandings about Blogaria, and about media in general, that risk casting Bp. Lipscomb as the House of Bishops’ Ted Stevens. I have no way to know whether anyone has answered his appeal, but I haven’t detected any less blogging, nor have any of the church-in-crisis blogs reported a fall-off in readership. Indeed, Kendall Harmon’s (not itself a flame-brandishing blog, though some arsonists frequent it) reports all-time high readership.
As Micah asked me, “Would Bp. Lipscomb ask that his diocese not read any books for forty days?” Would he say, “I encourage you to undertake a 40-day fast from newspapers?” Or “neighborhood hang-outs?” “telephone calls?” If he asked people to avoid a particular subset of blogs, or to eschew all media of a particular tenor (“ecclesiastical tabloids,” let us call them), that would be one thing; but alas, Lipscomb’s gesture toward cultivating a more irenic atmosphere seems likely only to provide fodder for. . . the blogs.
isn’t it weird that this call went out over the internet?