Doug Leblanc: How do I blog without losing something important in my soul?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet

9 Comments
Posted December 31, 2007 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. D. C. Toedt wrote:

When I first saw your headline, Kendall, I thought it’d be something along the lines of aborigines who wouldn’t let their pictures be taken because the camera would steal their souls . . . .

December 31, 6:31 pm | [comment link]
2. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

I am proud and privileged to call Doug LeBlanc my friend, and thus this announcement of his retirement from GetReligion.com is bittersweet for me.  On the one hand, I will miss reading his often incisive and always thoughtful comments on that popular blog.  Doug is an outstanding journalist: fair, conscientious, and scrupulously honest.  But those same qualities are precisely what made him increasingly uncomfortable with blogging in general, where extremely partisan editorializing and outright personal attacks are all too common (the present blog being normally a notable exception, of course, thanks in part to the silent monitoring and occasional intervention as necessary by the Elves). 

I think Doug has always been more of a reporter than a propagandist, and he’s tried his hardest to be objective and accurate.  He often seems to fit the description of a true man according to Rudyard Kipling, i.e., keeping his head or cool while others around him were losing theirs.

So it’s no great surprise that Doug has finally gotten weary of the whole enterprise of religious blogging these days.  And he raises a sobering question in this sort of farewell speech.  And the question is this:  Is blogging on religion in the midst of a great culture war dangerous for the souls of those involved?  It appears that this weighed heavily on Doug, for he saw all too much evidence of people willing to engage in very unChristian behavior in the name of Christ (and alas, on both sides too).

That is, Ephesians calls on us as disciples of Jesus Christ to “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear (or in this case, those who read)” (Eph. 4:29, NRSV).  Hmmm.  Sounds like a prescription for a rather boring blog, you might say.  Many might even have no hesitation or shame in admitting that strict observance of such a severe rule would take an awful lot of the fun out of blogging. 

My point, precisely.  That’s why I think my friend is finally getting out.  I am happy to testify on his behalf that Doug is one of the kindest, most decent men I know.  He always approaches his work with words in a highly responsible, professional manner.  And that is surely why I expect that many others beside myself will miss Doug’s irenic contributions to the often anything but irenic world of religious blogging.

Blessings on you, Doug.  I look forward to reading that book on tithing eventually.  Sign me up for an advance copy.

David Handy+

December 31, 11:48 pm | [comment link]
3. azusa wrote:

It will be a difficult year for all who (still) call themselves Anglicans, so we must pray for an extra measure of grace, honesty and restraint: to speak the truth in love, as well as keeping silent in love (but nver stilling the voice of prayer and adoration to our Lord).
A blessed New Year in Christ to all at T19.

January 1, 5:34 am | [comment link]
4. BabyBlue wrote:

A Caddie in field filled with PintosThis one’s for you, Doug. smile

bb

January 1, 10:59 am | [comment link]
5. wvparson wrote:

Delightful and wise words from my friend Doug to begin a New Year and perhaps a resolution.

January 1, 11:47 am | [comment link]
6. anglicanlutenist wrote:

Durn… now I’m accountable.  I love sarcasm.  It’s like mother’s milk to me.  (In point of fact is was mother’s milk coming up.)    It is the outstanding feature of relief map of my soul. 
  I then read a hyperlinked sentence in the article above:  ‘sarcasm is of the spirit of murder’    And, of course, I had to click on that.  (I was ok up until then, not having too much truck with Buddhists anyway, still, you can’t fail to notice quality of spirit   ...in reference to Eskow who ‘refused to exploit an agressive email from a reporter that would have diminished the reporter’s image’).
  A dozen years ago I was part of an internet writer’s group… (don’t ask me what I was doing there)—I don’t think anyone had even yet come up with the term blog—  I invisioned my part at the time as firing salvo after of salvo of gobs of thick syrupy sarcastic wit into the forecastle (and watch my mates scurry take cover), The blog took on a maritine personna from the days of fighting sail.  The moderator of the ‘Great Cabin Aft’,  Gene mentioned to me that he also used to set people right and proper with frequency in his responses, but found that he felt like unaldulterated crap every time he did so to some derserving idiot online. 
    It’s sort of like, ‘You sip strychnine and
        wait for the other fella to drop.’   

  Now I’m aware of the date.  Resolutions and all that stuff….  I ain’t resolvin’ nutthin….    I am however, going to monitor my intake of strychnine a bit more closely.

  God rest ye merry gentlemen.

January 1, 12:17 pm | [comment link]
7. Judith L wrote:

Blogs add so much to the life of my mind and spirit, I would hate for my faves to follow Leblanc’s path.

January 1, 2:01 pm | [comment link]
8. Douglas LeBlanc wrote:

I am deeply touched by my dear friend David Handy’s tribute, and I wish my integrity were as bulletproof as he describes it.

Thanks as ever, BabyBlue, for the Dylan references. I think Dylan’s “What Good Am I?” would be the best theme song for my post.

Judith L., you need not be concerned about anyone following my path. I intended my post only as a public and individual confession and not as a manifesto.

January 3, 10:35 am | [comment link]
9. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

#8, Doug,

You’re welcome.  I meant every word.  In fact, for once I was even understating things.  Hmmm.  Maybe, just maybe, you’re having a beneficial effect on me after all.

David Handy+
Proud member of the DLeBFC (i.e., of course, the Douglas LeBlanc Fan Club)

January 3, 2:25 pm | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): Blessed New Year to All Blog Readers

Previous entry (below): Chicago’s Episcopal Church of the Mediator closes doors after 129 years

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)