New Rhetoric

June 19, 2007

Brian McLaren has an excellent piece at the "God's Politics" blog entitled "The Need for a New Rhetoric." Here are a few highlights:

A number of my friends have given up blogging, either temporarily or permanently. The reason? The blogosphere seems to indulge a certain kind of rhetoric that they don't want to be associated with anymore.

Although I continue to post here at the God's Politics blog on occasion, and I believe in the power and potential of the blogosphere, I share my friends' frustration with the kind of disrespectful dialogue that frequently ensues in the comments section of so many blogs. The majority want to have substantive and respectful dialogue, and they tolerate the static because they believe in the level playing field of the blogosphere.

... Misleading labels, name-calling, innuendo, insult, cynicism, deception, even flattery can find their way into any of our communication and add another straw to the overweighted camel of civility and mutual respect. (I've already edited out some of my own rhetorical descents in this piece, and I imagine I've still failed to live up to the ideal I'm espousing.)
McLaren tells a story about how love is needed in our language. He adds:
Without it, the apostle Paul said, we're nothing. With it, even the way we disagree can lead us to a better place, whether in the blogosphere or in the world of domestic politics and international relations.
Amen! We need to tone down the rhetoric. And above all, we need more love.