Historically, I’ve been very slow to moderate readers — sometimes to the chagrin of other readers. But while on my Sabbatical, I realized one reason the blog is often a greater burden on me than it ought to be is my slow trigger on moderation.
Therefore, I’m going to be much quicker to moderate commenters. And I may not give any warning if the violation is egregious enough.
But there’s a problem. With the new DISQUS commenting software, I can’t single out a reader for pre-approval. Either I pre-approve all comments or none. And the only realistic choice is none.
That means that my only option for a misbehaving reader is to block him — and his comments will be blocked forever and I’ll never see them again. Therefore, if I moderate your comments, the only way to get unmoderated is to email me privately and ask to be de-moderated. And belligerent, rude, goading, or insulting emails will only get you blocked from my email reader, too (and I likely 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.
Everyone gets a fresh start. Here are the rules —
* 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.
(1Pe 3:8-11 NIV) 8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
(Jam 3:13 NIV) 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
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.
* 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 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 inerrancy. 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.
* Try to make sense. We all have trouble making our points at times, but persistent incoherence will 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 emails aren’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.
At this time, I don’t think anyone is blacklisted. My old blacklist doesn’t work with DISQUS. So this really is a clean slate for everyone. But there will be a very quick trigger going forward. Please don’t test my patience. I’ll not necessarily issue a warning.