A reminder of long-standing policies —
* 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 who feel 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 these commands 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 email addresses aren’t there to be sold to spammers. It’s so I can talk to you privately. Give me a false 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 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.
Here are a few points about how I interpret my own rules —
* I’m not keen on tolerating “fighting words.” If you call your opponent a liar or accuse him of being dishonest, your comment will be deleted and I just might block you. If you think he’s being dishonest, then you’ll just have to find a more delicate way to express yourself. It’s a healthy exercise. There are other fighting words, but “liar” is the most commonly used one.
The fact is, that I’ve very rarely thought someone here was being dishonest, and those who are tend to get moderated or blocked entirely. If you think someone is lying, don’t make a public accusation. Email me and I’ll contact him and try to resolve the problem. If I agree that we have a liar here, I’ll likely block him. But it’s unacceptable to call someone a “liar” or impugn his honesty in the comment section.
* Attacks that impugn the character of the other person will be deleted and will lead to moderation.
The software gives me two choices: either I can “moderate” your comments or “block” them. “Moderation” means your comments are blocked until I approve them. At best, this means a delay in posting. I’ll not explain or debate my decisions.
I rarely moderate comments. You just can’t have a good conversation when every comment gets delayed. It’s a policy that’s served me and, I think, the readers well. It makes for much better discussion.
I went a long time — maybe over a year — before I moderated the first person. And I really hate having to pre-review comments. It’s a pain in the neck.
If I “block” you, then you get treated as a spammer. I’ll not even see your comments. And the great spam database in the clouds will be told that you’re a spammer, and so you may be blocked at other blogs that run the same anti-spam software — which is the vast majority of them. I rarely do this, but it has happened when the commenter was intentionally abusive and rude. It’s very, very rare.
Please don’t make me moderate you. I find the whole thing very unpleasant, but I’m not going to subject the readers to un-Christian behavior.