Why am I Nervous about Posting My Opinions?

When twitter lights up over an issue or my blog reader fills itself with impassioned commenters, I find myself going silent. Every once in a while I will retweet someone I am inclined to agree with, but otherwise I don’t jump into the fray. (N.B. For those unfamiliar with twitter, retweet is a twitter term used for an action similar to forwarding an email.) Today’s coverage over the horrible events that transpired in Tottenham with the riots. All the British tweeters I follow appear to have an opinion! When these discussions – whether about the theology or politics – I wonder why I am not bold enough to state my own case.
So I have been thinking about it and decided to open up a little. Maybe I will move past some of these issues. I start tonight with one.
I have self-doubts about my own opinions. I don’t want to be disagreed with and be unable to say anything back. Sometimes I find I do know what I am talking about. For example I retweeted to Facebook a joke about cookies and the economy. A more conservative friend of mine decided to give his own rendition of the joke. I commented, but didn’t really say anything. I think I asked a question or something, but was really too scared to form a coherent opinion. But my friend pushed back and I wrote a long answer with my now more left of centre opinion. My friend didn’t answer back, but I did seek out my friend Sarah McGiverin, who helped me engage with new political options when we were in seminary. She read through my answer and gave it her approval.
So one reason is my own doubts about myself. But where it hurts is even if I am wrong or there are places I need to be challenged (as in the example above) I miss out because of my doubts. At the end of the day, if I can’t give a full account, what does it matter? I’m not paid to have an opinion so why not say something?
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4 thoughts on “Why am I Nervous about Posting My Opinions?

  1. Posting an opinion involves risk and an exposure of self. What could follow is rejection.

    I’m often averse to posting my own opinions on the web, partly because I value peacemaking, but also because I have tendencies to be conflict-averse. I don’t like to fight. But reasoning and engaging in discussions that matter often involve friction, a friction that needs to be exposed and explored and leaned into, so that, as the Scripture says, iron might sharpen iron.

  2. Ben, thanks for commenting. I don’t know if I don’t like conflict or if I don’t like being proved wrong! That may be part of my problem too. But your last comment is exactly why I’m thinking through this. I don’t believe I need to fear being challenged by different thinking. It can be a great help.

  3. Conflict-averse – yes!
    But also the endlessness of everyone having an opinion about everything is just so exhausting if you’re an introvert… If you’re at the pub, you can join in quite actively without Formulating a View, but online it all has to be spelled out. I just don’t have that many opinions about that much stuff.
    Trying to be braver about just saying ‘bravo’ in the comments, to show I’m in the conversation.

  4. I think that @drgeorgemorley hits the nail on the head for me – there is a difference between conversation in person (or even over the phone) and publishing an opinion online. In print. Where every word has to be weighed, and found wanting. It is an exhausting process. Which makes replying to every comment in a thoughtful and thorough and self-revealing way infeasible. Which doesn’t mean, “Eh! Forget it! Just leave the self-examination alone! Everything you are doing is fine and exactly right!” Just saying, don’t assume that having a human limitation on your energies (remembering that best bit of pastoring advice my Dad gave me – “every time you choose to do something, you are choosing not to do something else”) is a personal shortcoming you can overcome.

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