A little while ago, I was ranting about something that I can’t now remember. Neil looked at me and said “You’ve been reading the Wrong Blogs again, haven’t you?” He was right. But what are the ‘Wrong Blogs”?

I am not going to give a list of blogs to stay clear of because this is not what “the Wrong Blogs” means. There are of course unpleasant blogs full of hatred and spite, where people enter into truly awful online behaviour. Certainly if I find one of those I run away (virtually, you understand) very quickly. The same can be said for Trolls who pop up on some blogs from time to time.

However, when on line (which I am frequently) sometimes I run into posts or comments which leave me fuming, ranting at my husband or on the verge of metaphorically packing up my backpack and heading off for a cabin in the woods right away from people of any kind. Sometimes my favourite blogs can do this. So what is going on?

Now sometimes all bloggers have bad days. They are only human after all. The same can be said about those who comment of posts. Normally lovely, generous people might vent their frustration on their blog when they have had a bad day with the children or had to put up with a rude person in a long queue in a hot shop.

However, what interests me is what goes on inside me when I read the “Wrong Blogs”. A lot of responsibility lies right here in yours truly. For example, why do I, on some occasions, read blogs I know are going to leave me feeling cross? What is it in me that almost compels me to write corrective or sarcastic comments to people I don’t know in the comment box? Sometimes I feel “Right I can’t let them get away with that” But Why? Why do I have to answer the comment of some stranger? They have no impact on my real life.

For me, I think the reason is that sometimes these things plug into the sinful parts of my personality. Recently I heard one type of sin described as not having a proper view of ourselves. For example when on the Internet, particularly reading blogs, I can make the mistake in thinking that my views are really very important or that I alone have everything sorted out. Coming across posts or comments that disagree with my terribly important view can offend this over-blown sense of myself. Of course sometimes the opposite can happen. I will read something that contradicts what I know to be true or right and I get caught in a downward spiral of self-doubt or self-criticism.

Either way, I take my eyes off God. Here the Ignatian Examen comes in really handy. I know over the years of doing this that there are certain clues which tell me I am open to God or turned away from him. When reading blogs I have to pay attention to what is going on inside me. Does this feel like the touch of God? Has it given me something to ponder, something new to meditate on or has it given me a gentle challenge that makes me think about where I am in relation to God? Often this will be in line with what God is already doing in my life. These are all signs that I have things in perspective and that I am turned towards God.

Or is the opposite happening. Do I smell a whiff of sulfur? Do I start indulging in self-righteous anger or be determine to write a comment that asserts the way I see things and in doing so act without any kind of love or self-control? Do I begin to doubt something that God has been doing in my life or something that has been confirmed as a call? Even worse do I want to give up on some aspect of my faith altogether? These are all signs that there is something going on in me which is pulling me away from God.

Of course, it is quite difficult to fully get across how I tell the difference as sometimes the reaction going on in me is an instinctive feeling and I recognise a qualitive difference between when I am facing God and when I am turning away.

However, I do know that blogs and other reading on the internet can produce both reactions in me so I know it is a ‘place’ where I need to be aware of my internal processes. When I start ranting or doubting this is a time to stop reading and go and spend some time in God’s presence. Certainly typing in the comment box is the very last thing I should be doing, less my turning away from God hurts some innocent person sitting at their own computer many miles away.

Of course I have had plenty of experiences when I am very grateful for some wonderful person who has written something that is just the thing I needed to hear and I am so grateful for all those thoughtful bloggers who share so much of their own spirituality with me.

So the days when I am reading “The Wrong Blogs” are often the days when I need to look closely at myself and pray. And remember not to take my ‘GRRRRRR’ out on my husband!