Last week I was in one of those zombie zoney moods, you know, when you trip through the Internet rapidly reading things and checking out new blogs. It’s a change from scrolling through Facebook, my source for major national news.
Anyway, I ran into a Christian blog that mentioned a specific, unique topic. I won’t identify it because I don’t want to single out or embarrass a particular person, but let’s just say it was about Dreadfully Debutante Dogs.
“What an unusual choice of topic and wordage,” I thought. “Very unique.” One paragraph was enough for me, so I moved on.
Three blogs later I ran into the term again: Dreadfully Debutante Dogs. Again, this was such an unusual term, drawn from such an obscure passage of the Bible, that I was intrigued, and I read more carefully (which was difficult, because the blog was dense, thick, and well . . . boring. In more ways than one, it matched the first one, to which I returned and slogged through.)
These were completely separate blogs, written by people unrelated to one another, who miraculously, in the same week, chose to write pretty much the same thing on pretty much the same singular topic — Dreadfully Debutante Dogs.
Which caused me to wonder: was this a miracle? (Nah.) Was it a coincidence? (Read enough mystery stories and you, like the good Mr. Holmes, do not believe in coincidences.) Or was this the result of two separate people, drawing from the same Bible study materials, regurgitating what they’ve learned? (That is sounding really, really possible.)
Maybe I’m naive, but I have always presumed that people — especially Christian people — writing blogs purporting to be their own thoughts are actually using their own thoughts — drawn from study, prayer, life experience, meditation, and instruction from the Holy Spirit, NOT reiteration from somebody else who is already making a good living off of selling his or her books, DVDs, seminars, or darling figurines. (There was no attribution given, in either blog, to the source of the nearly identical observations on Dreadfully Debutante Dogs.)
One — this practice is plagiarism. If you’ve picked up everything you know about Dreadfully Debutante Dogs from Chrissie Christian’s weekly reader, and pretty much urp it back, undigested, on your blog, then you owe Chrissie the courtesy of attribution. While you may change the wordage, the idea is hers, and while I have little adoration for the Chrissie Christians of the world, I do believe in giving credit where credit is due.
Two — this practice hurts you. While it’s great to reap the benefits of what Chrissie Christian learns from the Holy Spirit and passes on — via her books and blog — if you’re always relying on Chrissie to tell you what God is saying, then you never hear it from God Himself.
He really does speak to us as individuals. The problem lies in that we’re frequently not listening for His voice, directly, in our intellectual lives. Whether it’s that we think we’re too dumb, uneducated, nonspiritual, too low on the leadership pole, or female (check out Deborah from Judges; God does speak to women without going through men first), too few Christians read the Bible solo, without Pastor’s counsel, Mr. Financial Guru’s teaching, SweetLady’s soft voice, or the Pamphlet of the Week, firmly guiding them in their reading, thought, and interpretation.
You are smarter than you think. More importantly, God is serious about interacting, individually, with each and every one of His people.
Hard to believe, isn’t it, that you matter enough to the Master of the Universe that He can speak to you without human intermediaries and external interpretation? It’s kind of scary, too, because in the back of our mind we think, “What if it isn’t true? What if I don’t matter that much? What if I can’t hear what He says?”
It’s hard to hear someone murmuring when the radio, TV, and Pandora are all on, full volume. Switch them off.
Close your eyes. Ask Him for guidance. And then wait. It’ll come.
Probably not in the next five minutes. But eventually, in an odd way. He’ll let you know.
All of the artwork in my posts is by my Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson. Find more of Steve’s work in the following places:
- Original Paintings at Steve Henderson Fine Art
- Signed Limited Edition Prints at Steve Henderson Fine Art
- Inspirational Posters at Steve Henderson Fine Art
- Open Edition Licensed Prints at Great Big Canvas
- Open Edition Licensed Prints at Light in the Box
- Posters at Amazon.com, AllPosters.com, Art.com, and Sagebrush Licensed Fine Art
Manufacturers and retailers, license Steve’s art through Art Licensing.