* Christians will be held to higher standards than non-Christians. I expect believers to be familiar with the New Testament’s instructions on how we treat others, especially fellow Christians.
There is evidently a segment that feels there’s a implied exception for when we have very strong feelings on the subject. The fact is that the requirement to be gentle, kind, loving, and slow to anger applies especially when we’re upset or feel indignant. No one here is Jesus or enjoys apostolic inspiration. Therefore, everyone has to begin with a spirit of humility –
(2Ti 2:24-26 NIV) 24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
And, yes, I realize that in the Churches of Christ there’s a long history of violating this command in our publications, bulletins, and sermons. That just means we need to repent.
* No judging motives. No personal invective. No personal insults.
* No ad hominem arguments.
* No fighting words. Call your opponent a “liar” or otherwise question his integrity, and the comment will be deleted and you might be moderated. Avoid harsh language.
* Do not put words in your opponent’s mouth. You may not mischaracterize what the other person has said.
* Blasphemy is not allowed. It’s okay to ask why a good God would do something that we find morally troubling. It’s not okay to accuse God of being evil. God judges us. We don’t judge God. Seeking to understand God is righteous. Asking hard questions is holy. Judging God is foolish and not allowed.
* No, I’m not going to open a thread on whether the scriptures are inspired. It’s not open for debate. There are lots of forums on the internet where the topic will be welcomed — but not this one.
* Stick to the subject. If you desperately want to discuss a topic, ask politely and maybe it’ll happen. Goading, lecturing, and condescending will only get you blocked.
* Use your real email address. If I try to contact you via the email you posted and it bounces, I’ll blacklist your IP address. The email address requirement isn’t there to be sold to spammers. It’s so I can talk to you privately. Lie to me about your email address, and it’s an instant blacklist.
Violators will be blacklisted — that is, the software will block your comments. If I moderate your comments, the way to get unmoderated is to email me privately and ask to be de-moderated (or else just show me that you can comply with the rules by doing so). And belligerent, rude, goading, or insulting emails will only get you blocked from my email reader, too (and I won’t respond). The way out of the blacklist is repentance, not a continuation of the behavior that got you there in the first place.
When I receive emails, I may answer personally or I may post the question on the blog — anonymously. I won’t necessarily ask permission to refer the question to the readers — but I’ll always remove identifying information.
You see, one way to avoid being overwhelmed by email responses is to turn email into blog posts — and emails often produce the most interesting, helpful, and vigorously discussed questions. The readers often offer excellent thoughts that I’d never have come to on my own.
If you don’t want your email posted on the internet, even anonymously, say so. But that means I also may not have time to answer. I mean, some emails ask very difficult questions, and if I tried to answer them all privately and maintain the blog, well, I’d have to give up the blog.