20060504

moderating comments

over the past i have always had a "post comments freely" blog - well, because of people wanting to sell insurance, get rich quick ideas and personal cam shots i moved to a "registered user only" and "code verification" process - it weeded out the autobots and the sales people, which was very cool. but just last week i did something i thought i would never do, i went to a "moderating comments" mode. i did this because some person decided to crash the blog and share some very disingenuous information in comments. but then i got to thinking, why did i do that? why did i move to a more restrictive comment mode? why did i allow that one person to change the way i have conversation with others? i searched my heart and came up with two reasons.

first, because i wanted to control what was being said about me. that is the simple reality i had to be honest about; it is a natural reaction, and very human one - but not very trusting in God. you see, i wanted to "have control" and not trust that God would be in control. but i soon realized that my judgment is not as clear as God's. i soon realized that i could become "them;" those who moderate comments to make themselvs look good and to make their point. my fear in this would be that i would reject a comment that God desired on the blog to help others. i thank God that i have not had the opportunity to reject any comments but the power is not a good thing to have in open conversations.

second, i figured if they could do it, i could do it. [it's the becoming "them" thing] i know,that is not a very good reason, but it was how i was feeling. i figured, most of the "anti-emerging" sites moderate comments on their sites, why not me? but then i got to thinking, just because they do not trust God, does not mean i need to stop trusting God. just because they do not desire to have an open and honest conversation does not mean i need to put up my walls of human protection. besides, they desire to hear only voices that agree with them; they desire to post only comments that support their misguided bashing of the emerging church. i have found that they say "let's talk" but they truly have no desire for an honest and open conversation. i figure God is bigger than that, so i removed the "moderate comments" mode.

you see, for me the danger is that by me selecting what comments i make myself more important than the people making a comment, and that is so not my heart. if i claim to what to hear all voices and i do not listen to the ones that disagree with me,i am not listening to all voices. i am secure enough in my faith to know where i stand in my relationship with jesus christ, which i follow with all my heart. if someone desires to disagree with me, i am cool with that and that voice should be heard.

for me, i believe in having an honest conversation with others who do not see it the way i do; i desire to be open to their expression of faith and offer a real generosity to their point of view; while always having a tolerance for differing ideas and a heart to never belittle what others are in process with. it is unfortunate but many who are "ant-emerging" desire none of those, because they do not see conversation, openness, generosity, tolerance and the expression of what is real as "bibical teachings." they see them as "human teachings" that are not of God - but i guess i see God in a very different light.

yet, i desire more. in my desire for conversation, openness, generosity,tolerance and what is real i desire to seek God's light in my walk of faith. in my faith walk i desire the authority of scripture, but not of other people. my "default" is scripture and not what other people desire to tell me scripture is about. one of the things that drive me crazy with many in the "anti-emerging" mindset is that they are quick to tell me what "other people say" and very slow to tell me what scripture says. for me, i desire a heart that is transformed by christ that makes me a new person with a clarity to what christ points to as real; to express love, grace, forgiveness,acceptance and much more. for me,my walk is defined by the people in community and it is not defined by others, outside community. being open to others is a key to growing in christ.

2 comments:

iggy said...

John,

As always your honesty and guenuine love show forth. I was trying to make the same decision and decided i don't care what the "anti" people say. In fact I have used it to make me even more loving and a way to train myself to respond not react. It is tough, yet i find confort that it is not me they are attacking, but Jesus in me and they are only revealing the failings of their own heart.

I have like you, been willing to share with the world the failings of my own heart in hopes that it will encourage and strngthen others who are afraid to come out of the bonds of the modern church or legalism, and walk in the Love and Freedom that comes only in a loving relationship with our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. I know even you and I have debated about topic we disagreed on, and in that I hope i never made you feel I was attacking you, but only questioning with the desire to better understand who you are and what you think.
Blessings,
iggy

Joy said...

John,

I must admit, when I started reading the comments on the post "when does conversation end", I took a step back...

I am new to the emergent/process idea, but I love realizing that I don't have God all figured out and the minute I think I do, I have just created my own personal god.

I read through the comments and REALLY appreciated how you responded. I appreciated that you didn't attack the person or the ideas. And that you represented yourself with the facts and allowed everyone else to form opinions.

I probably would not have been that brave. I would have moderated and deleted the unkind, unfavorable comments.

You've shown yourself the bigger man. I pray that the experience will keep you humble and near God's heart. You are in a scarey place... Open! This is admirable to a chicken heart like me!

Blessings
Kimber