You probably don’t know me, but I’m a blogger too. I just spent some time writing a post that was titled “5 Reasons Why The Matt Walsh Blog Is The Absolute Worst,” but I scrapped it. You know, there are a lot of reasons NOT to write a post with this title–One reason is that most people would probably be like, “Who the crap is Matt Walsh?” You’ve got a lot more readers than I do, but you’re far from a household name. An even better reason is that if I were to get in a “No YOU’RE the one who is stupid!” sort-of-argument with you, I’d probably lose. But then, in a fight between “I’m certain that I’m right!” and “I could be wrong,” “I’m certain that I’m right!” almost always wins. The best reason I had for scrapping what I had is this: When I told my wife the title, she said, “Oh no, Sweetie.” And her instincts are way better than mine. Anyway, that sort of post is really not what I’m about. And if it IS what I’m sometimes about, it’s not what I WANT to be about.
The first thing of yours that I read was a post about stay-at-home moms. Someone sent it to me because they thought I would like it. I did! It was a little on the pissed off side, but it was well-written. And man, I get it–I get pissed off a lot too. But when I read some of your other posts, it became very clear that, ideologically, we have landed at very different places. I don’t know what you believe about everything, but from the 15 or so posts that I’ve read, I’d say it’s safe for me to predict where you stand on an issue by choosing the exact opposite of what I believe. And that’s frustrating for me, because you seem like a smart guy. How can a guy who is clearly intelligent get things so consistently wrong? But it’s also strange because you and I both call ourselves Christians. And that’s where I feel the need to speak up.
For those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus, I believe there’s plenty of room for everyone on the ideological spectrum–conservatives and liberals and fundamentalists and progressives and all the other labels that divide us. As is usually the case, you probably don’t agree. I just clicked on your your most recent post, you say, “The enemy — the self-worshipping death cult known as modern liberalism — has become increasingly vile, violent, and deceitful.” Not a whole lot of room for common ground there….
But really, the kind of stuff you pump out is everywhere. If I were to spend every waking moment from here on out trying to respond to all the conservative bloggers who see the world in stark, black & white terms and credit The Almighty as being the reason for their ideological certainty, I’d never have the time be able to reply to them all. So why respond to your posts? It’s partially because people have sent me some of your posts wanting me to respond. It’s also because you’re good at what you do. When Sarah Palin says, “Waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists,” almost all Christians can see the twisted nature of what was said. But the places where you get it wrong aren’t always as apparent, and it’s easier for people to come away from the things you write thinking, “I guess that makes sense….” But the main reason I’m writing is not because I think you’re wrong–There are a lot of people I think are wrong. The main reason I’m writing is because I have hope. I have hope that you might recognize some shades of gray in your black & white world, and I have hope that someday you’ll be the sort of person whose words are recognized by their love and not by their anger.
I honestly don’t see a lot of hope in your writing. Or love, for that matter (Though, there seems to be quite a lot of faith. And 1 out of 3 ain’t bad. If we’re playing baseball, that’ll get you into the Hall of Fame). There’s a whole lot of anger. If you’re out there saying, “Hey, look at me. I’m a Christian blogger!” and everything you write is full of anger, what do you think that tells the world about Christians? Your posts also seem to be very colored by a certainty that this world is going to hell in a hand basket. But this world is being redeemed. Believe me when I say that I know there are a lot of things to be discouraged about, but there is beauty and truth and love out there too. It’s easy to see, especially when you’re looking for it. And I believe followers of Jesus are called to look for it. We are at our best when we are looking for it.
The Gospel is NOT a message of Personal Responsibility. There’s a time to preach personal responsibility, but if you believe it’s going to solve everything, you’re either being ignorant or you’re being dishonest. I hope that, for you, it’s the former. Many of your posts give the appearance of logic, but it’s logic that’s free from compassion. We are not called to use our words to be talented snipers…. We are called to use our words to love. And encourage. And inspire. And yes, challenge, but not in a way that says “Everyone who doesn’t think like me is an idiot.” And I realize that what I’m writing right now is being critical, so it might seem like I’m being hypocritical. Maybe…. I don’t think so. I believe that when people hate and over-simplify in the name of Jesus, the Church has a responsibility to stand up and say, “This isn’t right.”What you’re doing isn’t right, Matt.
I don’t think your posts are as bad as Breitbart and FoxNews and the sort…. I think they’re worse. Because your brand of anger mixed with a message of religious certainty is the sort of mixture that can end up strapping a bomb to its chest. I see you’ve got some shiny new ads on your blog, and that you’ve partnered with ultra-conservative Liberty Alliance (having articles with titles like “Obama the Jihadist) and Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller, so that should mean some more money coming your way…. But please, dude–There are enough voices in the world providing overly simplistic answers to very complex questions and crediting it all to “Christianity.” I have learned (and am still learning) that asking the right question is way more powerful than having the right answer. Acknowledging complexity might not bring in the same amount of veiws for your blog, but I guarantee it will bring in more people to the arms of Jesus.
So here’s my challange to you (and anyone else who happens to read this): Read some of Rachel Held Evans‘ stuff. Or, if that is too theologically radical for you, read some Jen Hatmaker–She’s probably a bit closer to you on the Liberal/Conservative spectrum. Listen to the way they inspire and challenge and reform, all while keeping LOVE at the forefront of their words. There is a humility there that I haven’t yet encountered in your writings. You are pumping out stuff on a daily basis to a wide audience, and it’s all filled to the brim with anger and division and hatred, and you’re proclaiming “This is what Christianity looks like.” There is a fire in your writing, but Christianity does not look like a fire of anger and division and hatred…. It looks like the fire of Peace and Reconciliation and Love. Find THAT fire, and use your considerable talents to fan that flame.
And as for the rest of you, if you come accross a Matt Walsh Blog post someone shared, and you’re not sure how to verbalize why it makes you feel so discouraged, feel free to put up this blog post as a response. Or, even better, find something that Rachel Held Evans or Jen Hatmaker has written on the subject, and post that as a response. They’re a lot better at this than I am. If you’re interested, you can follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheBoeskool, or you can Like My Facebook Page for some other fun stuff. Peace.