12 Days of Christmas, #6: Southern Gospel Bloggers

Since I never post on Sundays, here’s day six to make up for it.

If I had the power to give anyone any Christmas gift, my sixth would go to all the Southern Gospel bloggers. It seems like bloggers in general, and for some reason Southern Gospel bloggers in particular, tend to be a pretty cynical and overcritical bunch. Album reviews tend to point out the flaws and mistakes, discrepancies and errors of those in the industry tend to be overemphasized, and emotional moments tend to be reduced to detached prose.

I have seen this as a general trend, and I’ve tried to be different, but sometimes I, too, have been too critical. So this is as much for me as for other bloggers.

If I could give all Southern Gospel bloggers a gift, I would give us more optimism, more goodwill, and more simple appreciation of the best music in the world.

We are the fortunate few who have the privilege of writing about the best music in the world. Thousands of people read what we have to say every day. Though every one of us can point to someone who is more qualified than we are, each of us have (by some method or another) become among the fortunate few who get to write about Southern Gospel music. In the upcoming year, let’s take better advantage of this opportunity and use this privilege and platform wisely, with more goodwill and optimism.

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9 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Actually, I several people in mind. I did have the person to whom you refer, but I also had in mind another blogger, a good friend of mine, who himself recently said he was sometimes too cynical and was working on getting over that. I wish him success. 🙂

    But as much as anyone else, I mean this to be applied to me. Sometimes I’m a bit too hard on the artists, and I guess you could call it a New Year’s Resolution that I will try to be a little easier on those who sacrifice to bring us the best music in the world.

  2. I love SG music but it does no one any favors to gloss over problems. I read blogs to get opinions both positive and negative. One of my reasons for dropping my SN subscription about 5 years ago was that every cd review was a review of the best cd the group had ever put out!(?) I’ll continue to read Avery and disagree with him quite regularly, but I think it would be a loss if he quit airing his opinions and criticisms. I understand the need to be balanced and by all means give praise where praise is due, but if I want to read how every SG artist is Mother Theresa, (in compassion) Billy Graham, (spiritually) and Pavoratti, (musically); I’ll just resubscribe to SN.

  3. Daniel, while I agree that there is one blogger is too critical and rarely if ever has anything good to say, it is grossly unfair to say that southern gospel bloggers as a whole fall into this category.

    That being said, I agree, that while we do not have to overlook our faults, it isn’t necessary to dwell on them. I have always believed that as Christians we are held to a higher editorial standard. If we need to point out our flaws we need to always do so with love. We have never been called to be critical, but we can critique with excellence.

    You are doing a good job with your blog and I wish to encourage you in this New Year to seek the One you serve and let Him always be the Judge of your work.

    God Bless, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  4. I can certainly identify with Sheldon. That was one thing about Avery that appealed to me so much, no more gloss and hot air, let’s have some reality.

    Agreeing with him or not isn’t the point. Being real, honest, and sincere is. And in my experience, the vast majority of published material on SG doesn’t ring of reality and sincerity.

    Avery is the best thing that’s ever happened to SG online. And may he never change.

  5. Assuming I’m the sometimes cynical friend Daniel mentioned, I’d like to say that there’s a balance between being overly cynical at times and wearing rose colored glasses. That’s the middle ground I try to find. Any criticism should be conveyed in a constructive manner.

    I agree with Daniel that a generally optimistic point of view is preferable to being cynical. At the same time, don’t expect me to pretend some mediocre effort is the best thing I’ve ever heard, cause that ain’t gonna happen!

    And Sheldon, you might want to reconsider that Singing News subscription. Some of the reviews I’ve read since Salem took over are more grounded in reality. You’re still going to find some “this is the group’s best CD ever” lines, but not nearly as often as in the past. I also hear that Singing News will be adding a new CD reviewer in the February 2007 issue, so you might want to check that out.

  6. David, you assumed wrong. You are the single most even-handed blogger out there.

    Let me issue somewhat of a clarification. Of course, Susan was right when she guessed which blogger sparked the idea. But I think a more positive outlook would be best on all parts.

    Maybe I should have reduced the post to one sentence: “Peace in Southern Gospel, goodwill among bloggers.”

  7. I agree with Sheldon and Tom.

  8. Daniel, I agree with you about David. He is pretty even-handed. LOL Don’t tell him I said that.

    Lest anyone think I don’t believe in honesty. Nothing could be further from the truth. I agree we need to address the negative issues in our industry. But, again, thee is more to critiquing than just pointing out the negative. If that is all one does, they have moved from honest journalism to simply complaining.

    The Bible instructs us to recognize our weaknesses and to change them. It also instructs us on being overly critical of others while forgetting the beam in our own eyes. There are many cute little sayings we could quote to help reinforce certain beliefs (like attracting more flies with honey…) but why look further than what God’s Word said?

    Philippians 4:8
    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

  9. I agree that DBM is very fair…and also with his conclusion that we do no one, most of all our readers, any service unless we call ’em as we see ’em!

    This doesn’t infer that we be mean-sprited, but it means that we must “speak the truth in love”(so to speak) as best as we’re able.

    I try my best to do the above as best I can(even if some won’t notice that), but I agree that I, too, can be a better observer of this great music and the people in it.

    Daniel, you do a very fine job here. Your obvious love for this music comes out in every post you make.

    Keep up the good work!