There’s an English idiom that has been floating through my mind for the past few days. “Preaching to the choir.” If someone is accused of doing this, there usually bears a negative connotation to it. The meaning loosely translating to making one’s case to one’s supporters, or to those who agree already. In the churches I attended as a Christian, I would understand this phrase as pertaining to sermons on things like gay marriage, but it would also be similar to preaching against murder. It’s preaching something to a group of people that wouldn’t really take anything away from the message, because it’s already something ingrained in them to do (or not do) at a core level.
I have been encountering this at varying degrees. Although I understand that we all do it, in our own ways sometimes, we like to call it “ranting” when we do so. Certainly, many do this with their blogs or Facebook posts, and there isn’t too much wrong with it.
However, there’s a slight deviation from this concept that has been bothering me the most.
This is when people posit arguments in such a way, and with such phraseology, that it can only be understood by “the choir”. I’ll try to clarify:
Specifically, I see the above constantly in my local newspaper’s “opinion” section. The town has a solid Christian population, sure, but also has LGBTQ organizations as well as a growing Atheist community. However, articles are submitted to the newspaper as LTEs and Opinion articles that rant about Christian topics such as abortion and gay marriage with phraseology that can not be taken seriously without putting oneself in the shoes of one of “the choir.”
My issue with these such “rants,” when made in public domains with a wide audience, is thus: What is the point of your argument? Who are you speaking to? Did you want to just get all that off of your chest, or did you want your choir of “amen”s? Usually, these articles are written as if they are arguments towards those who disagree, but the words used are simply too harsh and filled with presumptuous statements and nonsense religious statements that one could hardly know where to start.
It is one of the basic tenants of writing anything, from essays to fiction, asking the necessary question: Who is your intended audience? If you wish to make an argument against abortion, and gear that towards those who disagree than it would make sense to speak their language. If you wish to make an argument against abortion, and gear it towards those who agree…. then what was the point?
There are many more thoughts and extrapolations one can explore with this concept and key question… But I want to open it up to the reader.
What do you think? Were can we draw the line between a healthy and needed “rant” and an argument? With the advent of social media, certainly, maybe this is far too complicated?
Is it something we should start considering when we speak/type?
Penny for your thoughts?