This is not going to be easy.

In writing a blog or newsletter or journal or whatever this site is going to turn out to be, there is a path of least resistance, and it's this: get pissed off about something someone else said, and write a post explaining why they are wrong.

It's easy; it used to, occasionally, even be entertaining. I've done it before, back in the mid-00s when I blogged professionally (not as a professional blogger, but as a blogger who wrote primarily about his professional interests, for an audience of similarly-situated professionals). My modus operandi was to pounce on a remark in someone else's blog, something I found smug or irritating or just plain wrong, and then respond with my own post denouncing their opinion in my own smug, irritating, just plain wrong fashion.

That sounds like a familiar approach now, of course — it basically describes the Internet — but it felt excitingly novel back in the wild early years of blogging, when we were still feeling our way through a new frontier of open publishing. At the time I would not have guessed that the snarky commentary that some of us thought we were "kind of good at, maybe" would wind up becoming the default genre of, not just social media, but all media. My only interest was in getting comments and pingbacks from the very small pond in which I swam — remember, this is from before the days of like-fueled dopamine, so to gain that euphoric hit I needed people to actually respond in writing via a comment box or, even better, a link from their own blog. I found the best way to encourage that kind of response was to respond to others myself, and in doing so to be a bit funny, but primarily to sound both definitive and dismissive. (My attitude about most topics was: "Don't be ridiculous.")

When Twitter appeared I remember feeling appalled, and saying so, not because I was smart enough to foresee that it would drive society to its basest levels of tribalism (I wasn't), but because I just didn't see how one could possibly be funny, dismissive and definitive in so few characters. I thought that one must to be able to explain why one is right and others wrong, and I believed doing that would always require something lengthier, something like, well, a blog post.

Oh, wow, was I wrong. Turns out, the only thing you can be in so few characters is funny, dismissive, and definitive. And a universe full of people convinced of their own rightness, it turns out, is kind of a horrible universe.

Anyway, the point of this post — following up on the last/first post as a sort of groping towards a mission for this entire website — is that I am going to try and avoid the path of least resistance, and avoid writing about things that piss me off. Trust me, there are a lot of things that I read on the Internet that make me angry; there are a lot of people that I think are horribly, undoubtedly wrong; but since, as I have declared in the very title of the site, I am probably wrong, as well, then I don't think I should make my goal here to offer my opinions about what I think is "right."

Perhaps I was correct, back in the day, that the only way to gain engagement or any kind of an audience is to pick fights and dare others to "come at me," but since I'm not here with any particular interest in audience building, that's not the approach I'm going to take. When I respond to things I've seen or read, I want it to be in a way that is both positive and humble: what do I think this person means? How can their perspective change mine, if indeed it should? How can I respond to people toward whom I feel an instinctive opposition in a way that acknowledges, not only their humanity, but their value, to God and to the world and to me, personally?

This is not going to be easy. I'm probably going to fail, more than once. It's no more my natural inclination than it is probably yours. But it has to be worth a try.

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