Archive for the 'Commenting' Category

Ken couldn’t let his recent defeat on the internet at wikipedia.com go down without some article on CRN.  I mean, I know he is God’s appointed ruler over all that is orthodox, so he wouldn’t want the world to see that he is immortal and flawed (”pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” comes to mind).  He didn’t bother to bring up the fact that opinion blogs, such as apprising, are not allowed to be cited on wiki pages, or that most of his “proof” is himself citing himself.   Gotta love his closing remarks though

thus the lead Watchdog Watcher Chris Lyons may finally rest easy…

Well, at least for now anyway…

He might as well have said “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!”

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There has surfaced around this country a phenomenon that involves leaving a “noose” around people or their belongings, usually black people, in an outright expression of racism. We as Christians must strongly and abjectly reject any form, outright or subtle, of racism. It is against the teachings of Christ and the designs of our Creator to be racist in any way.

We all deal with prejudice, but let us as followers of Jesus Christ never be complacent or silent about that ugly sin. I know all of us at CRNinfo will agree, racism is unchristian and we must reach out to the human community at large regardless of race. And there is no race in Christ, we are all the sons of God by faith. We must be the voice of God in the midst of this darkness, pray that God will connect you with people who look different than you and by that connection He can use you to heal any wounds and reveal Christ and His colorless love.

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Anonymous Watchdawggies beware!In the book of Matthew, Jesus gives us advice on allowing our words to be our own, that our “yes” should be “yes”, and our “no” should be “no” – with no other need of qualification. This teaching is an underlying biblical precept behind journalistic integrity. One needs to be willing to give an answer that is a) truthful; and b) one’s own.

There has been some discussion on the use of anonymity in posting and replying to blog articles, from which I have held off fully delving into. I’ve taken some time to check out journalistic sources, written and living, and having done so, I think that it is incredibly important that we in the Christian blogging community consider our theory and practice.

Blogging and Reporting

Per a number of journalistic courses, one of the lynchpins of journalistic integrity is that of attribution (or authorship for opinion pieces). If controversial statements cannot be attributed to a source, or opinion to a writer, trust with the reader does not exist. This is why there are such strict rules within journalism about attributing sources that wish to remain anonymous – if there is a legitimate reason to maintain anonymity, the quote and source have to be validated by a more senior editor.

In the case of editorial opinion, attribution is also the keystone of integrity. Without it, no writer is accountable for his or her written opinions. Without it, the writer is free to be as irresponsible as they wish to be without fear of consequence. For a journalist, it is an ultimate act of cowardice to withold signature to your opinion and the ultimate act of arrogance to sign your name to something you didn’t write.

The one primary exception for opinion pieces and group reporting is given for editorial board opinions and journalist pool articles, in which no individual authorship is given, and is assumed to be attributed to the senior editor/reporter of the board/pool. If they refuse this responsibility, then authorship is to be attributed to all individuals contributing to the story. Sometimes, this is done anyway, to give credit where credit is due.

What does this mean for us? Initially, we had an account called “Sliced” used for linking articles, and we used our names to identify original articles. For similar reasons to those above, we did away with this posting account. For ODM bloggers, there are some with this level of integrity and accountability, while there are others that completely lack this basic level of integrity and accountability. When individuals from the latter are taken to task for the anonymously written content on their site, they just throw up their hands and pass the buck of responsibility, taking the coward’s way out, saying “sorry, it wasn’t me”. Even the most senior editor. Getting someone to stand up for their own words is like trying to nail jell-o to a wall (which, interestingly, is one of their chief criticisms of the e/e movement…)

However, since accountability isn’t an ODM strong suit, this shouldn’t be surprising.

Commenting

In blogging, one of the basest – often the only – source of accountability is the use of comments. By allowing (or disallowing) comments, bloggers signal their willingness (or unwillingness) to be held accountable for what they write. Worse yet, the willingness to freely allow supportive comments while severely restricting dissenting ones is a clear signal of bankruptcy of accountability (and a lack of confidence in their own writing).

In light of this, we at CRN.info have a “DO NOT DELETE COMMENTS” policy* to which we adhere. We both allow and value well-reasoned dissent, particular when offered in a fashion congruent with Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching.

What about anonymity in commenting? Originally, we required people to register on this site before accepting their comments. However, this prevented people with no personal email accounts from participating, so we relaxed our policy to “moderation of the first comment, and auto-approval thereafter”. To this point, this seems to have worked. However, if it appears that people are using this function to hide behind anonymity, this will revert back to required registration with a functioning email address.

In Summary

We believe that integrity and accountability on the part of Christian bloggers, ourselves included, is a bedrock principle that should be expected of us. We believe that our “yes” should be “yes”, and our “no” should be “no” – and that the reader should know WHO’S saying “yes” or “no”. Without attribution of content and an open and free playing field on which to challenge what we have written, this accountability and integrity is utterly absent.

That is why we manage this site the way we do.

___________________________

*The exceptions to this policy are for use of overt blasphemy and/or profanity. There have been two instances where comments that should not have been deleted (or should have been approved from moderation) were not, both of which were subsequently apologized for and corrected, to the best of our ability

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Is the United States a Christian Nation? Are we the new Israel? If one looks at Crosstalk.com, this would be one conclusion you might come to. The entire look and feel is about the American flag and the red, white, and blue. In addition, some of the comments about the Hamtramck, Michigan news story also suggested an paranoid patriotism. The critics think they are not only protecting the Church in America, they are protecting the “manifest destiny” of this country.

It seems that our country actually has some very syncretistic roots. It was a mix of humanism, deism, and Christianity. For example, Thomas Jefferson not only owned slaves, he was also a devout deist. One of his most infamous works was the Jefferson Bible, his version in which he removed the miracles and resurrection because he didn’t believe Jesus was God. Some Unitarian/Universalist churches even use the Jefferson Bible as their pew bible.

Yes, there were Christians who helped found our country. But to claim that we are a special country that God loves more than others is really reaching. And to devout energy to keeping the infidels out seems like a waste of time and unscriptural. God is bringing the harvest to us. Shouldn’t we pray that we are prepared to share His Truth with whomever our new neighbors are?

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From here:

Mentone, AL – Since its founding almost a half a century ago St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Mentone has been a church that by its own confession has “struggled to be happy.” The members of the congregation of just over 100 people seem to consistently struggle with one another, arguing and holding grudges.

Over the years disputes have broken out over everything from building projects to who will run Vacation Bible School, to someone’s casserole not being eaten at a church picnic.

“We have two ladies in this church that haven’t spoken to one another in over twenty years” said deacon Charles Ainsworth. “I don’t remember all of the details, but it had something to do with one of the ladies criticizing the flower arrangement that one of the other ladies had made. It’s not that we don’t love one another, we just don’t seem to like one another. “We’ve all grown up together, and we just seem to get on each others nerves a lot.”

The various pastors of the church over the years have tried to preach peace among the congregation, but to no avail. But the church’s current pastor, Rev. Prentiss Carnes recently “discovered” a verse that may be the solution to all of the strife within the church.

“I was reading in Ephesians and came across 4:26a where it says ‘Be angry and yet do not sin,’” said Carnes. “I started thinking and realized that there’s a Biblical mandate here to be angry, that perhaps all these years we’ve been getting it all wrong. May God has called us to be an angry church. That seems to be where our gifts lie, in being angry.”

And “angry” is just what they are fostering now at St. Luke’s. The church has recently made Ephesians 4:26a its theme verse and has set out to make itself known as “the angriest church in America.”

“It’s a relief to know that we’re okay” said Lillian Ainsworth, wife of Charles. “We stayed so blooming mad at one another all of the time I wasn’t sure what our problem was, but I see now that we just have a different calling by God. The Lord calls some of us to be angry and that is our calling I suppose.”

“I believe we can be angry at one another and not sin because we still love each other deep down” said Carnes. “But we need to foster this anger that we have and learn how to do it better. God commands it, and therefore we must do it.”

One of our previous posts dealt with the overall nastiness of Phil Johnson, and two of the commenters in that topic have put forth the argument that Elijah was mean and personally insulting to the prophets of Baal, and that Paul wrote that he hoped the Judaizers would mutilate themselves, and Johnie Mac’s attack dogs came no where close to rising to that level.

Of course, both of those examples are prophets dealing with enemies of God, rather than brothers and sisters in Christ. Making the argument that Elijah and Paul were, to say the least, harsh in these two examples and so its ok to be harsh is as silly as claiming a church has been spiritually gifted with anger.

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Tim already wrote an article on the subject, so I will keep this brief.  The Willow Creek Arts Conference video clips that Slice is up in arms over are short commentary about a 90 minute talk that the speakers gave at the event.  To make statements about the small amount of content in the clips is akin to walking in on the last 5 minutes of a 90 minute conversation and feeling you have a handle on the while thing.  From someone who was actually at the event, Donald Miller’s content was hardly controversial and, in my opinion, timely and very biblical.

In closing and responding to many of the comments at Slice, many people have questioned the whole reason for having an arts conference.  Let’s not forget that once upon a time, the church was known for its art.  In fact, the church was the artist center for the culture.  Everything from the Sistine Chapel to the David statue, the artists communicated biblical truth thru their work.  And, it was from this art culture we received many of the hymns that more believers hold as holy and sacred.

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Erwin McManus’ latest book Soul Cravings has been receiving a lot of heat at CRN in some recent posts.  The writer at 9 Marks Review took offense with this quote from the book.

Jesus said that the kingdom of God is within us….It seems what he is implying is that we have a better chance of finding God in the universe within us than in the one that surrounds us. And it is on this path that I invited you to walk with me. I invite you to engage in an exploration of the human spirit, to journey deep inside yourself and search out the mystery of the universe that exists with you…

He had this to say

The problem is, it’s patently untrue that all human beings are all really seeking God, as you put it. Mr. McManus, please, find me one verse in the entire Bible—just one!—that says human beings in the flesh are seeking God.

The problem with this is Mr. McManus never said “that all human beings are all really seeking God” within the quote.  In fact, in the podcast that the author refers to earlier in this letter, Erwin talks about how many people are seeking after other elements to satisfy their soul cravings.  The basic premise of the book is not that all humans are seeking God.  The premise of the book is that God has placed within human beings certain cravings that can only be satisfied by Him.

This reveals a huge problem in much of the finger pointing and hostile rumors that run all over the internet.  If we have a preconceived notion about what an emergent or purpose-driven or fundy believes, then we can add to and twist a person’s writing to fit that notion.  It’s something we all need to be careful with, especially when you have placed yourself in a position of influence.  After reading an article by Alex S. Leung citing this letter, one commenter wrote

I love it when you bring up these types of topics for me to think over and learn how to pick out heresy when I see it… Excellent. Keep this kind of stuff up.

I wonder how many people are now walking around thinking Erwin McManus is a heretic due to one man’s bad exegesis of his work.

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One of the biggest complaints about Slice and the rest of the watchpoodles out there is that they moderate comments in such a way that legitimate criticisms are never seen, while letting through mostly complimentary comments thus shutting down any real sort of conversation as well as creating the impression that most of their site’s viewers are in rabid agreement. Now Ingrid has decided to push back against such criticisms in this hit piece:

This morning I had to raise an eyebrow at the protestations of one emergent pastor we’ll call “Mike”. He was shocked, just shocked, that I wouldn’t post his rage-filled comments. He was angry at this blog for daring to question the public promotion of filthy movies by another “pastor.”

Ah… I get it now, the only people who oppose Ingrid are people who are “rage filled”.

She continues:

I have wondered many times at the boiling indignation of emergents who can’t understand why Slice will not let them have free reign in the comment section, regardless how personally nasty, profane or heretical they may be when these same men are really, really good with the delete button on their own blogs when Christians try to defend those they like to shred for upholding biblical truth.

Ah, not just “rage filled” but also “personally nasty”, and they even censor their own blogs! Why, I bet Ingrid would be fine with people who point out her various distortions, personal nastiness, and poor Biblical interpretation if they weren’t all blog censoring, potty mouths with a penchant for rage.

Of course we all know that’s not the case. I’ve had comments that disagreed respectfully with Ingrid that somehow never made it out of moderation, several individuals I know both in real life and over the internet have had the same experience. And somehow, we’ve all had most of our comments deleted.

And just in case you’re thinking that I and everyone I know are “rage filled”, “personally nasty” and are busily censoring comments from anyone who thinks like Ingrid check out this comment on the Submissions page from a gentleman named Ian.

Ingrid has recently promoted and is selling through her site and radio show an album of Hymns by Huddersfield Choral Society. I live in Huddersfield (a random little town in England) so I know this group quite well, I know that they are not anything to do with a church or ministry, they are a purely secular society. They take people on based on their musical ability, not religious persuasion or lifestyle. With around 200 members, there will be adulterers, fornicators, yes – probably even homosexuals within their ranks – and Ingrid feels this is a suitable group to be promoting on her blog and radio show?! Ah well, anything that helps the Huddersfield economy! :-)

Anyway, I tried to point out this hypocrisy to her in a (very reasonable) comment, but it was deleted… Here’s what I put:

My goodness, how did my little town of Huddersfield get on this website! They are indeed an excellent choir, I saw them perform live recently in the town square and it was a fantastic performance.

One question though Ingrid, and I mean this in all sincerity: This choral society is a secular society – it is not associated with any church or ministry, its requirements for membership is based on musical skill not religious belief or lifestyle. I personally have no problem with this, they are a talented group and I enjoy listening to their performances, even more so if they are singing songs of worship to my God. However, I’m surprised at you promoting them after your recent post on Sinead ‘O Connar’s psalms set to music?

Now was that nasty or rage filled? Was that heretical in the least? Absolutely not. So why was that censored? The easy answer is that it made Ingrid look bad. It exposed her penchant for judging by appearances and style rather than actual content.

Give it up Ingrid. While there may be a few less than gentlemanly comments that Ingrid deletes, to generally characterize all of the disagreeing commenters as “rage filled” and “personally nasty” is dishonest. Of course admitting the truth would mean that she’d have to admit that the positions she takes, and the way she takes them are indefensible.

Edit: BTW, for those interested in seeing what Ingrid views as “rage filled” and “profane” I believe the minister’s blog she’s talking about can be found here. His responses and blog don’t strike me as all that outrageous at all.

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After reading this comment from “Carol A” over at Slice about a church meeting in a bar on Sundays, my heart was pretty saddened again. This just confirmed my earlier thoughts in the original post. It says all too much about the theology of Ken, Ingrid, Slice and C?N.

Oh, Lord, how long must we witness these blasphemous abominations?

First of all, “unsaved” or “unchurched” people don’t believe in God, they don’t believe in Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Why would they want to go to a “church” to worship someone who they don’t believe in? I don’t get the reasoning for these people even going.

Second point, why do these “leaders” want to attract goats to a place where sheep are worshiping their Creator? How can they think this crazy “synthesis” of goats and sheep is going to bring about anything?

That last line killed me. Why would we want to attract “goats” to church? Wow. That’s all I have to say.

And for the record, my post asking Ingrid for scriptures backing up her claims was not approved or published.

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As I have been perusing the comments at Slice, I have been deeply saddened. These are usually in response to a piece on how evil the seeker sensitive church is, and how the church is being taken over by the devil as we speak. Some have good content, others are obviously written out of ignorance or hate. There is one common though that I see throughout them. It is usually something to the effect of, “Lord, how much longer can we endure this? Come Lord, come!”

I obviously don’t agree completely with their assessment of the church today. But, as I read that, I think to myself how much more selfish can that statement be? Here they are pointing out that people are being dragged to hell left and right. They have the answer to solve the problem. And what do they want to do? Leave the scene! I am not to sure if this is a product of reformed theology or just a self-seeking heart.

Imagine watching a building burn with thousands of men, women and children in it. You have the fire hose in your hand. But, you cry out, “The fire is too hot! I gotta get outta here!” To me, that is exactly what many of these people are doing. They are too concerned with their own comfortable way of life being preserved, that they leave the situation in fear of being burned while saving someone. I would rather smell of the smokes of hell in an attempt to help bring someone to Christ, than stand by and watch people I love fall away. “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers”

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