I’m not exactly sure where or how to start this post – but it has been brewing for I’d say 25 years – so nobody take it too personally. I don’t react strongly to a lot of things (people purposely excluding others, anyone talking bad about my Lord’s church), but I have an instant “knee-jerk reflex” to negative anonymous letters (and now posts). It goes back a long way but the posts of the last several days have precipitated this specific post.
I appreciate all the comments. As I said, I was not happy about the decision to no longer allow people to post without going to the trouble of signing in. Some have given me fodder to mull over in my little brain: Especially opposing views. There were some very sensible comments some I agree with and some I don’t. But since the posters were anonymous I can’t respond to them personally to clarify prior to my response and I since I don’t know them I have no history from which to evaluate their intent, thereby setting the tone of my response.
One poster friend said: “I don't see what the problem with someone wanting to remain anonymous would be...what's the big deal?” Good question:
Every church I’ve ever worked with has had a sniper anonymous letter writer who sadistically and systematically did harm to the progress of the church. I meet with hundreds of preachers and church leaders every year. One “circle” group I meet with has had no subject over the last 10 years that has come up as often as the subject of anonymous letters. I’ve seen guys quit, I’ve seen grown, mature men cry, I’ve seen Satan work through negative anonymous letters. I know of NOTHING more “de-sailing”! Those who choose to work this way make themselves tools of the devil – I’m sure often unintentionally, but they are verbal terrorist blowing the heart out of others. I do not and I will not read anonymous letters. They present problems and offer no opportunity to solve them. I’ve NEVER read one that was accurate. In our culture unsigned letters speak of notes from terrorist (like the Unabomber) or kidnappers. I can’t communicate how hurtful such behavior is more clearly. Even as a result of one of the anonymous posts yesterday I had a call from a discouraged saint who was at the point of tears.
One of the many problems is it forces the reader judge and jump to opinions: See I have a sneaking suspicion that moose is an unhappy person who wants others to share in their misery – but I don’t know for all I know is what they wrote…Of the sort that they think they MUST find something wrong – something bad – something to worry about and they won’t be happy till everyone else is as miserable than they are. Now, none of that may be true but I can’t know as long as he/she hides. I wonder as I think about them: What do you have to fear? Do you not believe your statements enough to stand behind them? Is it not truth? And then I consider these questions: What if it is someone just wanting to cause dissention? What if it is the same person? The two posters could be one with different sign in names. I have an uncle who used to do that in chat rooms – show up as two people and ask himself the questions he thought should be asked and then answer them himself. What if the poster is just lying?
Now I want to address a few things in the comments section said by Any Nonny Moose and lightweight. I’d rather not address them openly but they by remaining anonymous give me no other forum through which to address them.
“what was posted was not harmful to SM in any way” I disagree. I think that which paints the Body of Christ in a bad light is harmful. See, the fact is, all we have to do is to start polluting the water for the spirit of this place to be besmirched.
“it showed an opposing view to the "everythings perfect" attitude that is in many of the comments on this blog.” Folks, I admit problems – yes I do (and we have some) – but I choose to see the very best-I love the church! Some refuse to see good happening – they find the cloud in every silver lining, they focus on the thorn and ignore the rose. Can we do and be better. Was what the original poster said of any merit – it was. And I have addressed it. And will further – but to get on and say things that may or may not be accurate serves no purpose. What did you hope to accomplish – “wowho…I convinced someone that not everything is perfect about the church. I slapped some sense of reality and discouragement into their silly little happy heads!” Well…good for you – aren’t you something? I know that sounds harsh…sorry. It’s how it strikes me and since I don’t know who you are I can’t check out what your intent was.
“that is the truth. it was not directly harmful or mean to Dale. in fact, he was not even mentioned” I do believe this is wrong. The original poster actually accused me of belittling or making fun of a person in front of the whole church on a Sunday (that is not the exact words but that’s how it came across to me and I can’t check it out). The fact is I did make a joke in the direction of that person – the two of us kid all the time – like I do with Tom on the length of his prayers and Kenny on being cheap and Eric on leading every song in the book every Sunday – and none of these guys take it wrong. In fact they hit back. It’s good natured bantering. You see – there is a degree of truth in each of them - the point of the barb is I love them anyway – in fact enough to totally overlook it. My friend Jerrie Barber says there is two ways to know if your “joke” has been offensive – 1. Are they laughing and 2. Check it out with them. So just to be sure, I did. . I wrote the guy that I was supposedly rude to and he said I have not been and that he too enjoys the kidding back and forth. If you could see the e-mail barbs we’ve sent to each other the last year you’d know. I love him and he loves me! Again, I don’t like being cast in a bad light (who does) but that was not the issue. I thought the post made THE LORD’S CHURCH look bad. I won’t knowingly allow that on this blog!
“Yo should check your comments guys, you defend something you have not idea about.” That’s mighty bold of you “moose” anonymously attacking people who are willing to sign their names. Also, what’s bad about coming to someone’s aid who you love. Why wouldn’t you? And further I don’t know that anyone (other than me) condemned the poster. How could we – we don’t know who it is!!!!!
“be careful about name calling” I would agree.
“I would ask Dale allow anonymous comments and deeal with the conversations as they come. if someone say something offensive, remove it. but don't remove comments just because they disagree with you.” I’m leaning this way. Of course it would be subjective. And I have not removed comments, ever, just because they disagreed with me. In fact I’ve only removed two comments of the 500 or so that have been made over the last year.
“one last statement about anymous comments and that is that when you dont allow them, you really only allow for people who will only speak about you in a positive way and agree with you. you can call them what you want but they are seen as sycophants.” This is a very fatalistic way to view life. You perhaps (but I don’t know you) reveal something about yourself. What you are saying in essence is that every statement not made anonymously is a lie.- what a miserable way to view life. I think unsigned comments lend themselves much more readily to lies. And I think it could be that by that very statement you are saying revealing that when you talk to someone face to face or in letter (when you sign your name) you are always telling lies.
Now to lightweight:
I think your comments are excellent. I mean that. I even agree with you. I’ve seen people who should be mature mistreat fellow Christians and it sickens me too. But by not signing your name I feel you harm your credibility for many of the reasons stated above. I also would rather you go to the people involved and at least try (I know it’s difficult and rarely successful) to help them grow and let them know they have hurt others. Thanks for your obvious tender heart in your approach but I do think you’d be more successful if you just tired the Matthew manner.
Now for a few other general comments in this now way to long epistle:
I would think that anything that could in any way be viewed as negative toward another or that if spoken plainly would hurt someone’s feelings is inappropriate. I suspicion most who post anonymous would too – else they’d sign their name. The text says we are to only speak that which is useful.
Knowing who it is helps me to know how to respond – I talk differently to my dad than my sons. I talk differently to a new Christian than one who should be mature (Hebrews 5).
I’d rather talk to you one on one than in a public forum on matters that could lead to negative contention. In other words if you have a problem with me come to me. I am not shocked when someone disagrees with me and I am often in the wrong. In fact if you listen to me preach for three or four years and never disagree I have to wonder a little.
When posting what I say can be misunderstood and what others comment may be as well. When you sign your name it gives the chance to clarify and/or correct. To deal with it. Anonymously you can twist what I say all out of context and I don’t know if you are just being mean or if we are just misunderstanding each other.
Wow this got long – I hope what I’ve said has been said in love – I’ve tried to make it that way. I know I was a little tough on moose – sorry. What I said I said not to start a fight but to make all consider what is said.
You can now reply and be as ugly as you want to be cause I don’t know who is saying it!
Remember this is "The Blog That Binds" it is not designed to bring people down but to lift them up. There's plenty in life to bring us down without Christians contributing to it.
Oh yes, one other thing. If I know who you are, regardless of your comments I will try to love you!
And let me do emphasize one last thing again: I will not allow my blog to run down my family or my Family!