Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blogging: responsibility, accountability, and integrity

Blogging as a Roman Catholic deacon requires responsibility, accountability, and integrity. As a deacon blogger, I strive to be responsible, to have integrity, and to be accountable. None of this means renouncing my right to express myself freely. To that end, on the main page of Καθολικός διάκονος, I have written what I call Integrity notes. These notes have appeared on my blog for the better part of two years. In addition to dealing with issues of copyright and fair use, I also have an extremely clear disclaimer:

"Due to the fact that I blog as a Roman Catholic deacon, I strive to maintain accountability by keeping my pastor informed of my activities, inviting him to read what I post, and insuring that the authorities of my diocese are also aware of my blogging. This in no way implies that what I write reflects the views of my pastor, of the Cathedral of Madeleine, or of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, or even that my views are endorsed by any of the above. Neither does any of this imply a canonically granted imprimatur or nihil obstat. To wit: all thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are exclusively my own, especially that which proves to be stupid and/or erroneous.

"Given the purpose of this undertaking, I also look to my readers to keep me honest, constructive, and charitable."

More importantly, my wife reads what I write and post on a regular basis, often at my invitation. While it is fair to say that our opinions diverge from time-to-time, she knows what I am doing, which is important to me because this also means being responsible and accountable.

Being responsible as a writer (even one whose preferred genre is uncreative non-fiction), also requires me to be honest and authentic. The way I see my efforts here is that at a time and in a culture when Christian faith is alternately reduced either to sentimentality or to morality, it is important to take an intelligent and adult approach to the way I express my faith by attending to all the factors that constitute reality, especially in the realm of contemporary culture (i.e., literature, film, music, theater, television, et. al.). In service to that end, it is inevitable that I will be provocative and challenging from time-to-time. By no means do I expect everybody to agree with all the conclusions I draw or my way of presenting certain issues. I certainly invite disagreement, especially when it results in intelligent discussion. On the rare occasion I post something I know will cause offense, I give warning in big red letters.

Passive-aggressive is a therapeutic way of saying coward. Because it is a poor way to conduct oneself, it is contrary to the Gospel: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother," etc. (Matt. 18:15-17). So, if you have objections to what I write and you are a person with any integrity, you have three alternatives: state them to me personally by commenting on the post that provokes you, by e-mailing me, or talking to me in person; read it and remain silent; or don't read my blog. Otherwise, I have no interest in your critique.

I always do a self-reflective post on blogging during Lent. This year's came a little early.

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