Is Reading MMI a Waste of Time?

Orginally published on Wednesday, April 08, 2009 at 8:29 AM
by Todd Rhoades

Uber Blogger Tim Challies is taking on the 'discernment blogs' with a recent post. In his post entitled "Evil as Entertainment", he really takes on the (unnamed) discernment blogs that are always spreading bad news about what's going on in the church. Here's part of what he had to say...

"I want to say a word today about watchblogs or discernment blogs or whatever you want to call them. I am referring to blogs that specialize in sharing bad news. They share stories and videos and anecdotes about Christians and churches and supposed Christians and supposed churches. Day after day they offer examples of all that is wrong in the church. They may vary what they offer a little bit, but what is true of them is that they offer a steady diet of negative content related to the church in general or perhaps related to just one person or one ministry. You know of some of these sites, I am sure..."

Tim continues…

“I was thinking about such blogs a few days ago and arrived at a conclusion about them that actually rather surprised me. This is what I realized: these blogs are really little more than entertainment. And once I had these blogs filed in that way in my mind, their popularity and their draw began to make much more sense to me. They are really just a spiritualized form of YouTube or any other site that entertains by sharing what is gross and base and negative and that does so for the sake of entertainment. ”

You can read his whole post (it’s long and well worth the read) here...

What do you think?

I, by no means, consider myself a ‘discernment’ blog.  But, a friend recently introduced my website as saying it was ‘half Bible, half National Enquirer.  And I must admit, I kind of like that definition.

Over the years, I’ve been outspoken against certain discernment blogs that are always blasting people that don’t agree with them.  Yet, truthfully, in doing so, I am telling you that “I” don’t agree with them.  It’s a fine line, I realize.

I do, think, however, that much has to do with the tone of how things are said.  Many of the discernment blogs are downright mean (something I don’t think we are here at MMI).  I drawn the line at mean.  Instead, I prefer ‘sarcastic’.  Not everybody gets it, but most do.

My philosophy, unlike many discernment blogs, is that we need to lighten up a little.  We need to learn from others… even others that we don’t agree with all the time.  We need to be the best leaders we can be, without taking ourselves too seriously.

So… the result is… you get a lot of DIFFERENT things here at MMI.  Some great leadership tips.  Some really funny things that I find that I think might make you laugh.  Some interesting things that are happening in the church world (the good, the bad, and the ugly).  Something things that are happening that WILL effect your ministry; and many that will NOT.

I think there’s value in getting ‘the big picture’ of what’s going on in the church world for the same reason I watch the news.  The recent shooting of 13 people in New York had no immediate impact on my life; but I still had an interest in hearing about it.  In Tim’s view, this might be using ‘evil as entertainment’.  I would disagree here.

OK… enough rambling on this subject.  I hope that MMI will be balanced.  Some hard-hitting leadership pieces.  Some funny (actually hysterical) stuff that will cause you to smile.  And some stuff that will just make you shake your head (like yesterday’s Hell Yeah church).

I hope you’ll keep reading, and that you’ll not only enjoy, but take something that will be a great addition to your ministry.


PS—How do YOU view MMI?  Is it mostly a time-waster?  Is it mostly a funny diversion?  Is it a tool for ministry?  Is it all the previous?  I’m not looking for a pat on the shoulder… I’m really interested in how you view your time here.

This post has been viewed 335 times so far.

  There are 17 Comments:

  • Posted by Brian L.

    It’s not a time-waster for me, although I have to admit that if I’m involved in a conversation I’m here a lot when I could be doing other things (like cleaning my desk - ugh).

  • Posted by

    MMI is different than Slice and others because Todd allows comments.  So we get into discussions about important stuff, just as if we were all sitting discussing this stuff in a pub.  Except that in a pub, maybe CS would buy the next round, which , alas, can’t happen online.  ;^)

    That said, I do sometimes feel like I could/should be geting other stuff done.

  • Posted by Andy Wood

    Yes.  All the above and more.  For me it can often be a (refreshing) sanity check

  • Posted by

    I think Challies is more focused on the discernment blogs that tell you what to think.
    You do a good job of presenting information and letting your readers do the thinking.
    I definitely benefit from MMI (If not, I would delete you from my newsreader list in a New York minute).

  • Posted by Todd Rhoades

    Thanks, Bill.  Yeah, I think that Tim’s comments were at a very select few discernment blogs.  And I think he makes some good points.

    I think alot of a blogs persona comes from not only the host, but also in the WHAT and the HOW of how things are presented.


  • Posted by

    I find MMI interesting because of the conversation that can take place here (and I don’t mean that in an emergent way).  While there are some tabloid-like stories occasionally, like the pastor shooting an arrow in his church, that truthfully have little impact on me directly, the information about big conferences, themes, and activities in major denominations or movements has a definite impact.  Because, there are stories about Lakewood, Willow Creek, Saddleback, or any number of other churches or pastors that have a prolific effect in American evangelicalism.  I find value in those stories to see how the local pastor will be incorporating those ideas into teaching and preaching.

    And, Dave, why am I the next one shouting the rounds?  I think Peter, Leonard, or Brian are the men with the big cash here.  =)


  • Posted by Brian L.

    Hey CS - if you’re talking about me with the big cash, let me remind you that I’m bi-vocational, with 5 kiddos, a mother-in-law that lives with us, and my oldest getting ready for college!

    However, if you were in town, I’d definitely grab a brew with you!

    I appreciate you, bro.  And thanks for the kind comments on the other thread.

  • Posted by

    Dont know Todd, you quit sending to me. Whats that all about?

  • Posted by djchuang

    That’s the way I see MMI, as current events in and around the church world that we can learn from, sometimes insightful, sometimes cautionary, sometimes to not take ourselves so seriously. Maybe we can reimagine MMI as the “O’Rhoades Report: fair and balanced coverage of the church world.”

  • Posted by

    Is MMI a waste of time?  Only if I use it that way (which I don’t - most of the time anyway smile).

    I agree that it gives good leadership principles and ideas, it makes me laugh regularly, I keep up on what is going on in the ministry world (it’s easy to be myopic) and yes sometimes I can’t believe some of what I read.  I also like it because it points out extremes and I don’t want to be there except as an extreme follower of Christ.

    Like the others, I like the discussion.  I don’t always agree but respectful dialogue is beneficial.

  • Posted by
  • Posted by

    Discernment blogs can get negative, just by the sheer mass of postings. And if the comments section is read the effect is squared. But these sites do have a function - they speak truth to power. And the one thing corrupt ministries do NOT want is to be exposed to the light - for their actions and teachings to be called out in the open…

  • Posted by

    Slice is just downright depressing after a while - regardless of how true a blog may be.  MMI has a wider perspective offering the good and the bad.  MMI also discusses - and for the discernment ministries discussion is not really up for discussion.

  • Posted by
  • Posted by


    You are the Matt Drudge of the religious world.  Keep up the good work.

  • Posted by David Huff

    Todd, I think your site is both informative and entertaining, actually it’s a great balance of both.  I’ve gotten a lot of great info from the articles, some great laughs and had some articles leave me shaking my head wondering, “what where they thinking?” They were all well worth the reading.

  • Posted by Peter Hamm

    “I think there’s value in getting ‘the big picture’ of what’s going on in the church world for the same reason I watch the news. “ AND THAT’S why I am reading right now!

    I’ll buy the next round, guys, but I’m submitting the receipt as a ministry meeting expense…


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