Our everyday practices of searching and linking, our communicative acts of discussing and disagreeing, performing and posing, intensify our dependence on the information networks… Communicative capitalism captures our political interventions, formatting them as contributions to its circuits of affect and entertainment–we feel political, involved, like contributors who really matter.
I can’t help but feel that this, after a fashion, can provide some insight into what can go on in the theological internet community. There is the pervading sense that the playing field is leveled when face and voice are removed; education and experience become a disputable commodity. And one of the unintended consequences of the pervading egalitarian sensibility that one interacts with and contracts in the blogosphere is, at least in Reformed circles, a diminishing of confessional behavior, if not its complete absence. The result is a tendency to speak authoritatively where our governing ecclesiastical bodies, be they Synod or General Assembly, have not. Speaking out of turn has become common place, irregardless of one’s place in Christ’s Church or particular Confession. And the loss is great because, in embracing this behavior, whether unwittingly or by intent, the protections provided by Confessions begin to diminish and the shelter found beneath Elders, both in local assembly and larger denominational gatherings, is torn down. The individual begins to embrace a subversive understanding of the priesthood of all believers, that matters of orthodoxy are his to determine and conversely that his newly acquired certainty authorizes and compels him to prosecute “heresy” where he finds it.
Now, all this does not mean that blogs and the subsequent conversations that ensue are without value or that I myself will not take part. There’s great value to be gained and learning to be had. Rather, we must continually be conscious of our confessional restraints and comport ourselves accordingly.