Why I Can’t Read Matt Walsh

THIS POST HAS BEEN READ OVER 4,000 TIMES SINCE I FIRST WROTE IT OVER A YEAR AGO. SO I DECIDED TO UPDATE IT A BIT AND REPOST IT. I HAVE SINCE AVOIDED MR. WALSH’S BLOG  AND HAVE BLOCKED HIS POSTS FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE. IF HIS BLOG IS NO LONGER WHAT IT USED TO BE, THEN DISREGARD THE COMMENTS BELOW. I HAVE A SUSPICION, THOUGH, THAT IT’S ONLY BECOME WORSE. NEVERTHELESS, HAPPY READING.

I try not to attack people, especially through social media. Jesus is clear: if you have a problem with somebody, go to them directly.

It could be argued that I’ve done so, by which I mean I sent an email once. I acknowledge the unbiblical spirit of my words even as I type.

Yet I cannot remain silent. A large number of my Facebook friends read and share Matt Walsh’s blog daily. I’d like to point out something that troubles me about this, and share thoughts about the blog that I hope you’ll keep in mind if you’re a Matt Walsh reader.

If you’re unfamiliar with Matt Walsh and his blog, spend some time reading it and make your own decisions about what he has to say. He’s a gifted writer, easy to read, and is certainly engaging. He writes about current topics, and takes a firm, traditional stance on most issues.

What his posts sorely lack, though, are love, mercy, and gentleness. The first time I saw Mr. Walsh’s blog shared, it was his response to a high school student who wrote him asking for advice. His health teacher was teaching safe sex rather than abstinence, and the young reader wondered what his response should be. Here’s an excerpt:

“Speaking of adults without character, please ignore everything your “health teacher” says on this subject. I have to put quotes around her title because it doesn’t sound like she’s doing much in the way of teaching, and whatever she’s blabbering about has very little to do with “health.” She seems to think there’s a “safe” way for emotionally immature juveniles to have casual sex. Maybe she’ll follow up this performance by advocating “safe drunk driving.”

Most of the response continues with this juvenile tone, demonizing the young man’s teacher.

Healthy disagreement is good, even necessary for us to grow. But Mr. Walsh shames and belittles anyone he believes to be wrong. Regardless of the truth he claims to speak, truth without love is irrelevant (GREAT BLOG ABOUT THAT TOPIC HERE). Truth requires generosity if it’s to be received by others. When it’s spoken with immaturity and an antagonistic spirit, Truth lacks authority and does great harm to any opportunity for civil dialogue. Not one person is swayed to a new way of thinking by being insulted.

Mr. Walsh’s blog is toxic and serves no productive purpose in our society. It is only meant to rile up the anger of people who think like him without offering anything original, thus deepening the division that already poisons our world.

Mr. Walsh’s influence seems to be growing, and that scares me. Is this the way we want to speak to people with whom we disagree? Is this the way Jesus spoke to anyone: with adolescent, narcissistic sarcasm and petty name calling? When those who reject Jesus and the Church read the posts we share on Facebook and Twitter, are they more likely to follow Jesus or will their view of Christians only be confirmed?

If you are a person who enjoy’s Mr. Walsh’s blog, I encourage you to read cautiously and resist adopting his attitude toward the people he vilifies. And if you choose to share his thoughts via social media, consider what others might see in him, in you, and in Jesus when you do so.

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17 responses to “Why I Can’t Read Matt Walsh

  1. I’ve been thinking along the same lines. Thistle and wheat — good advice.

  2. Thank you for posting this. Matt Walsh’s message is often lost in his ridiculousness, judgmentalness, and overall smugness.

    (I’ll also point out his message is predictably whatever the FoxNews hot button right wing topic of the day is).

    • Thanks Kyle. Yes, sadly, there’s hardly anything fresh or groundbreaking anywhere on world wide web. A sign of the times, I guess.

    • I very much appreciate the tone of the original post. I have to say, though, the tone of this particular comment (specifically the last sentence) strikes me as a little ad hominem. What difference does it make to this argument whether Walsh’s message is the Fox News topic of the day or the latest bulletin from the Daily Kos? The point of the article was the way he expresses himself and the way he represents Christ. Just my two cents.

  3. I fear the damage has in large part already been done – and not recognized as damage. The hateful side of preaching strokes people’s rage and fear, while appealing to the yearning for authority – which can feel very close to the yearning for a greater spirit. Those turned off are not nearly so troubling a problem as those hooked.

  4. E. Stephen Burnett

    Cory, this is overall very helpful. Thank you for it.

    At the same time, you may have misunderstood Matt. 18 peacemaking principles here:

    Jesus is clear: if you have a problem with somebody, go to them directly. If they don’t respond, take a couple friends. If they still resist, get some people with real authority to intervene, and then wash your hands of them.

    My hope in pointing this out is to encourage you: you needn’t feel guilty for turning aside from them. In fact, you already seem to suspect that this peacemking procedure has only to do with personal offenses and reconciliation attempts and has nothing to do with countering public actions publicly — which you have done in the spirit of the apostle Paul who often publicly rebuked public bad behavior and bad teaching (cf. Galatians 2).

  5. I’m tracking with you as far as Walsh’s blog in concerned. What I would take issue with is this:
    “Let me put it another way: as a follower of Jesus, if I were forced to choose between exposing my sons to this particular health teacher’s views on sex OR your blog post about them, I would choose the health teacher. It’s much easier to explain that there’s a better way to have sex than it is to help them understand why your attitude toward the health teacher is not of Christ.”

    I don’t understand why Walsh’s causticness–or any other Christian’s, for that matter–would somehow make morally sinful views *better* or more palatable. This is an idea that comes up periodically and I don’t get it. Would you say the same if the health teacher had been encouraging the students to be racists or to bully others? Would Walsh’s tone and rhetoric still be worse than that? I don’t understand why we have to elevate something that is false in order to distance ourself from another wrong.

    • Thank you for your comment Samuel. You make an excellent point. I would say that it doesn’t matter what you’re speaking if the person listening doesn’t believe you love him. That was Jesus’ style every time. He was sure to speak and act in a way that made the person feel loved first, and that opened the door to teaching truth. Truth ought to transform a person, and a person is much more willing to listen if they know the speaker loves them. I don’t get the sense from Matt Walsh’s blog that he genuinely loves the people he criticizes.

  6. racheltoalson

    So, so good. Thank you for writing what I’ve wanted to say for weeks, Cory. Matt Walsh lost me a long time ago.

  7. I tried to address this very same issue (and person) without calling him out by name because I struggled over Matthew 18 and how it related. But I completely agree with you. Here is what I wrote:

    http://jacoballee.com/1/post/2014/04/think-about-who-or-what-you-are-applauding.html

    This was one of my more popular articles. Lots of reposts. Many of them by Matt Walsh fans who continue to post his stuff since. I guess I didn’t get through.

  8. Pingback: This Week’s Good Reads – Pastor Dave Online

  9. Cory, your question (how are people seeing this six months after I posted it) is a good one. This is all very mysterious to me. I saw it from a share of a friend on Twitter. I’ve had posts go viral months after I posted them. The cyber world is hard to figure out. 🙂

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