For the last 3 to 4 weeks, Mandarin Bible Fellowship worked through 1 Corinthians 8-10 in our Sunday Bible studies. The main theme is pretty obvious. Gospel is Paul's agenda as he has been appointed as the Apostle to the Gentiles (1 Corinthians 9:17 "... entrusted with a stewardship"). His will is to save some for the sake of the gospel, so he became all things to all people (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). The idea of "became all things to all people", as we have discussed in the Bible study, does not mean that you would become or adopt to win the favour of those you want to evangelise, but instead you are willing to give up your freedom and forsake your rights to make the gospel more affordable to others. So he made a few examples in these chapters - he would not eat meat if it would stumble a fellow Christian brother (1 Corinthians 8:13), and he would not eat meat if it would damage the conscience of an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 10:28-29). He tried to please everyone in everything he did, in the hope that they might be saved (1 Corinthians 10:33). This task is not for the Apostles only, but Paul asked us to follow his example, as he imitated Christ, the ultimate example of someone sacrificing rights, comfort, freedom and glory for the love of mankind (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Recently, the issue of "blogging" has been escalated as an item of discussion of my church's ministry team. Apparently, blogging cause ministry difficulties, especially when the blogger is in the position of implicitly or explicitly representing the church. It is not the first time a form of on-line discussion has triggered other people's concern at our church, and I am normally the one being put into the position of resolving some of these issues, as I am hosting these services. I do not approve all the decisions that have been made so far, as beside being a Christian, I am also an advocate of freedom in speech.
That is exactly what a blog has given you - freedom of speech. It is your own soap box to let you blow your own trumpet. This word, "blog" that is short of "web-log", means nothing but a set of web pages indexed in reverse chronological order, has given liberation to the journalist-wanna-be generation of today. Everyone can publish what he/she thinks of politics, the latest gadget, Bible studies and daily musings. But they too have the power and freedom to post gossips, hatred, whinges and heresy. You are free to boast about your knowledge, and you have the freedom to say whatever you like.
However, should that be the attitude of a Christian blogger? Should we use our rights to say whatever we want to say, regardless who might be reading these? One funny comment that I received this week is that some people linked "blog" and "private diary" together. Do you know that if it is hosted on a public-visible web server on the Internet, and is not protected by password and/or firewall, it is no where considered private? Someone might be thinking, oh, it is my private diary - but may I suggest you to write your private diary on your own computer, or use the traditional dead-tree version with a locker. If it is on the Internet, it ought to be seen. If it has been read, it ought to make some impact to your readers. If it has potential to alter or confirm the view of your readers, then as a Christian we must put ourselves into the shoes of Paul in 1 Corinthians 8-10. Are we stumbling blocks to our fellow brothers and sisters? Are we stumbling blocks to our unbelieving neighbours? Are we gospel centred?
I do not mean that only apologetic evangelistic weblogs are qualified Christian blogs. Nor did Paul suggest that you should not eat anything at all if you cannot share the gospel on the dining table. It is about whether you live the love of Christ in your daily lives - not just the real visible and touchable life, but it also includes your virtual blog life. Christian bloggers should have a clear conscience about what they are writing - not because there are rules and regulations against bad mouthing on the web, but for the sake of the gospel more people can be saved.
Looking at my own archives, I have frequently consciously or unconsciously made the mistakes of blabbering over matters that maybe I should not have said. I can't guarantee that it would not happen again (you know, me, a sinner), but certainly I should put 1 Corinthians in mind, before I make my way to the Post button.