For those who don’t know, John is a popular Christian writer whose posts go viral with appalling regularity. (No, I’m not jealous at all.) The Christian Bloggers Network is, well, pretty much what the name suggests: a place where thousands of Christian writers like John and me to share our content with each other.
Facebook groups can play a big part in building an audience—every blogger’s biggest challenge (followed closely by what happens once you’ve managed to get an audience). The right group, with a little bit of timing and luck, can generate thousands of new readers for your blog. I was lucky enough to have this happen to me when the Unapologetically Episcopalian FB group shared my post on why I love the Episcopal Church. (I still owe them a cake.)
Now, these groups are not public property. Their admins are perfectly free to decide what flies and what doesn’t on their pages.
In the case of the Christian Bloggers Network, one of its two admins has shared the view that progressivism is a “self-imposed mental disability,” so it’s not surprising they don’t take kindly to some of John’s content.
Yet, it is the Christian Bloggers Network, after all. Not the Conservative Christian Bloggers Network. Or the Evangelical Christian Bloggers Network. Or the Everyone But Progressive Christian Bloggers Network.
Interestingly, they didn’t stop at blocking John. They’ve deleted almost every post sharing his content or asking why he was blocked. (See one example below, which got taken down within minutes.) They’ve offered no explanation that I’ve seen—either publicly or privately to John.
(Update: they’ve blocked me as well. Yay!)
Now, if you’ve read John’s blog for any length of time, you might have noticed there’s a pretty consistent theme to his writing. It might be summed up as this: Christians, don’t be jerks.
John has written about depression, doubt, what (not) to do if your kids come out, how we use the Bible as a weapon, and how we treat those who leave the church. In every case, his message is basically: be kind.
This, apparently, is anathema.
Which begs the question: what does pass as Christian, according to groups like this?
Labeling Catholics as Satan worshippers? That’s acceptably Christian, it seems.
Peddling end-times hysteria? (Never mind Jesus’ teaching or the 0-for-who-knows-how-many-times-now record of end-times prognosticators.) You better believe that’s Christian.
I don’t even know what this is, but apparently it’s Christian…
Jesus wants to make you a millionaire? Oh so Christian.
To be fair, the admins at the Christian Bloggers Network may or may not agree with any of these posts. Yet each of them was posted to their page, and none have been taken down.
But telling parents of gay kids to love their children no matter what? That’s not Christian, evidently.
Proclaiming peace to your Muslim neighbors? Not Christian.
Asking other Christians to “radiate the kindness and humility of Jesus” to those who are struggling with faith? That’s SO not Christian.
Photo: John Pavlovitz FB page