Aardvark Alley

Lutheran Aardvark

Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

23 August 2005
  Pride Goeth Before a Blog
Reflecting Bloghardt in My Fun House Mirrors

Pastor Bloghardt at Higher Things wrote about his problems with an author contribution system for the Lutheran Carnival of Blogs. Now I'm going to stick my big nose in his business, with, God willing, no false pride.

Some good thinking went into his work and into the various comments by his readers. I believe the Proverb, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (16:18 ESV)" Yet, I still believe that the current system is still the best for several reasons, "pride" actually being one of them.

Before doing this, I humbly declare that I'm right up there with Bloghardt in the pride department. However, I won't let pride get in the way of good writing.

Considering that the Carnival is volunteer hosted and labor intensive, I believe that Dan, Elle, and the upcoming hosts all have real lives outside the blogosphere. Reading, culling, and selecting would demand a major time commitment. I know that when my turn rolls around, I'll be busy enough just getting everything formatted and linked. Plus, whomever hosts is also final arbiter of what is a) Lutheran, b) appropriate, and c) of decent quality. Thus, we do have some quality control, albeit at the expense of further time and effort expended by the host.

The sheer number of Lutheran blogs constantly grows. I doubt that the Lutheran Blog Directory includes half of them. My "confessional" blogroll alone lists some 70 or 80 blogs and I regularly discover new ones. What if I miss a gem because I didn't Google every way possible?

Granted, a nomination system could be put in place, but what if each of the visitors to each Lutheran blog submits even one favorite? It might be that Bloghardt enjoyed the muse's presence that week and most of them suggested one of his offerings. So we'd get "Bloghardt and the Seven Two or Three Dwarves."

Contrariwise, what if these hundreds of readers suggested hundreds of posts? We're back to mind-numbing pre-selection. Also, the submitters seem so far to have a fair grasp of a quia subscription to the Lutheran Confessions: Would the same hold true for the masses (not, of course, the enlightened bunch who read Aardvark Alley)?

Of course, Bloghardt's main problem is with the pride of the author / submitter. He rightly notes, "There is the Gospel and there is the promotion of self. The two are antithetical." Yet to not "take pride" in one's work diminishes the notion of Godly vocation (and blessed avocation).

I maintain that pride must be wrestled with before a confessional Lutheran blogger submits an offering to the Carnival. The very idea of putting one's own thoughts on public display is enough to puff the chest of the most ardent wearer of hair shirts. Yet even if I am not always most humble when I click the "Publish Post" button, I prayerfully desire that my real boasting be about Christ.

Does the good Pastor Bloghardt not take pride in his sermons? Marvelling that the Lord uses a sinner like me helps me stand tall and speak out on a Sunday morning. I want to listen to sermons and read blogs the originator proudly calls his own.

I can tell the difference between steak and bologna, and the readers of the Carnival should have steak. I'm not in a contest with Todd Peperkorn, hoping that one of my blogs holds a post that knocks the socks off of whatever he's submitted to the Carnival. However, sanctified pride makes me want to stand not only in his and others' worthy company but as worthy company to them. Sanctified pride (and yes, I think there can be such a thing, just as God can restrain and sanctify any emotions) drives me to my best effort.

If it pleases you, allow me to be so un-humble as to stand with Luther and challenge the writers of quality confessional Lutheran blogs to sin boldly. Conceive that baby in your mind, train and discipline it in your edit screen, and push it proudly into the blog world.

(Aside: I'm heavy into the "train and discipline" aspect with my major posts. I've edited various writings and publications since high school and I'm always wanting to revise my own stuff. Good thing I didn't write the Augsburg Confession or there'd be a new Variata every week.)

Sin boldly: Choose a "favorite son" for each week that you blog and introduce him to the Carnival's readers. To complete Luther, "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly." By your labors, the Lord may allow hundreds of others likewise to "rejoice in Christ even more boldly."

Now it's time for my post-midnight snack of humble pie.
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Sometimes I think that Pietism can be defined the same way Puritanism sometimes is: as "the nagging fear that somewhere, somehow, somebody is having fun!"

I don't think that being "proud" of something one has written, and wanting to share it with others, is the sin of "pride." Nor do I think that valuing the gifts God has given one qualifies. When you start to think they make you better than others, or taking credit for them yourself, of course...
I agree with Aardvarck.

What the devil wants is for us to pay attention to ourselves. He can do that by us taking pride in our contribution to the Carnival. He can also do that by getting us to be full of pride in not having contributed.

Either way we focus on ourselves.

"Look at me I contributed to the Carnival!"


"Look at me I did not contribute to the carnival because I do not want to commit the sin of pride. Aren't i better than all the others who did contribute?"
A couple of decades ago I read somthing from C.S. Lewis about pride and humility. As I recall, he noted that humility can be the worst form of pride . . . a person's self-serving statement that he/she not be recognized for an achievement appears to be humility, but is in reality pride.
I also like to use the expression "I'm humble and proud of it." It is a two way word/sword that summarizes well the tension we live under as "simultaneously saint and sinner" Christians.
In other words, may I in all humility, proudly ask that we learn to lighten up?
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