This blog wants to explain why I am not an abuse advocate. In addition this blog wants to point out the challenges and issues with blogging and life in cyber space. There are some concerns that exist with blogging that need to be discussed. This comes after cutting my teeth on this topic now for some time.
“The crucial differences which distinguish human societies and human beings
are not biological. They are cultural.”
“Culture is the name for what people are interested in, their thoughts, their models,
the books they read and the speeches they hear”
General Meade at Gettysburg
This is a post that I decided to do this evening. Recently I had a conversation with someone and they raised some issues with me and shared some thoughts. That frank discussion leads to today’s post. I am going to step back from writing about evangelicalism and write about the blogging and internet culture. I want people to know where I stand and am coming from.
Why I Am Not An Abuse Advocate
Over the years I have seen some bloggers come and go. I have interacted with a number of people as well who shared stories. I want to be crystal clear. I am not an abuse advocate. To be honest I lack the training and remain concerned about people who portray themselves to be advocates. Victims advocates in my view has become very tainted like the word Christian. It has become a loaded word and its a word that has received some damage. This blog would ask you to be careful and mindful of someone who states they are an advocate. After all how well do you know them, especially after some of these scandals that have been written about? But I lack the training and believe it to be wrong to use that word. So again I am not an abuse advocate.
While I am not an advocate I am not saying that you can’t care or be concerned. And there are lots of ways to do this work. While I am not an abuse advocate I have cut my teeth on academic history and research in both college and grad school. That research took me to historical societies in Montana and universities like Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois. I spent time working with raw primary sources that taught me how to research and write. Literally I made copies in the Northwestern archives and sat at a table and learned how someone would write so I could better understand their writing styles and what was being said. There are many people who can do research and analysis. Here in the Washington, D.C. area I have met some at happy hours and social events. Some people may have done work at institutions like Brookings. Sometimes you have people that can do academic research as well. Here in D.C. you can also run into a lot of personalities who have a rich background. From a statistician at the IRS to an analyst at the FBI or CIA. You can meet some interesting people who can give a differing take on issues. My hope is that those kinds of individuals will get involved in this kind of blogging.
As a Blogger I Don’t Want a Following I Just Want to Research and Write About Difficult Topics
As someone who writes a blog my goal is to just read, research and write. In some ways this blog has allowed me to practice writing. I’m slightly dyslexic and try and use social media to learn how to write better and grow. In addition I have seen a lot of the dark side of religion and I am still trying to understand that topic. Interviewing, meeting, phone calls and more have been revealing to me and shed some light on this topic. And for that I am grateful. While I am not an abuse advocate I am willing to learn, listen and take a stab at different topics. As a guy who writes a blog I am not considerably active on Twitter though I have a presence. If you want to come along for the ride that is fine. But I am not out to create a large social media platform. I don’t want followers in many ways. I am human and seek to try and do the right thing. My goal is not to create followers but thinkers. If you walk away from me thinking more for yourself than this blog will have done its goal. I think this is part of the reason why I gravitate to John Fea or Warren Throckmorton’s blog.
Concerns That Exist with the Blogging and Internet World
I have been blogging for 5 years and been active on the internet. I do this while trying to live a life, go to happy hours, work out at the gym and more. In some ways its a struggle with balance both. But over the last five years I have seen a lot, enough to express some concerns about the blogging and internet world. I am worried about narcissists and people who want to be the center of attention. I am worried about people who want to tell stories of other people when they have not told their own. I am worried about personality cults that can develop on the internet. I work hard at just focusing on the issues before me. That is it, but its an issue that troubles me. I have told my story before which can be found on this blog. Just the other day I told the story of how I became a whistle blower in a Washington, D.C. area mega church.
Concerns About Narcissists Getting Platforms
One concern I have about the internet is the following. The internet has given anyone and everyone a platform. Its also given narcissists both overt and covert a means to have a platform. To be frank you can find narcissists in all kinds of life. From sports, to government, to church and yes even blogging and social media. My hope is that people will think about information more carefully and consider sources better. Please educate yourself on overt and covert narcissism.
Beware of People Who Lack Humility to Admit Error
This is another thing to consider. Beware of people who refuse to admit error and double down. A person who can’t admit error or take opposing views. This is part of the reason why I pop up in differing churches and organizations and make an effort at getting to know people. I try and build bridges for a reason. Earlier this morning I got a text from a pastor who challenged me on something that I wrote the other day. He said I made a giant leap and wanted to engage. I realized that in contemplating what was said that he had made a legitimate point. And after this post I need to tone down the language in last night’s post. But beware of people who double down and refuse to admit problems or take feedback. Living in a bubble is warped and dangerous in my opinion. And the internet has amplified the bubbles that exist.
If You’re Not Angering Someone All The Time Then You Aren’t Blogging But Creating Propaganda
Here is another thing to consider. Its hard to write a blog because I also know that I am going to upset or concern someone. I have received emails from churches asking me to take down posts. I have even had family members of some pastors that I have written about write me emails expressing their displeasure. The way I look at it is that if you are not bothering someone regularly on all sides then you are not doing blogging correctly. If you are just going to focus on Calvinists and overlook Arminian problems you have missed the boat. If you are not going to look at Christian Nationalism or refuse to point out some challenges in atheist culture because as a blogger you will upset your followers then you are not speaking truth. You are just maintaining your social media platform. Sometimes speaking the truth can hurt as some people do not want to hear it. I am sorry but reality can be difficult for some people.
Abuse Can Happen and People Can be Pressured to Tell Stories They Do Not Want to
There are many blogs that have popped up over the years. Some have come and gone. Some focus on progressive issues, others on Catholic or Greek Orthodox. Others discuss Southern Baptists and evangelical issues. Honestly there are so many that exist especially when you consider Patheos and the independent blogs that are out there in cyber space. Here is another point to make, who is going to monitor some of those blogs? Over the years I have heard several stories of blogs that can abuse or hurt other people as well. That is not right and it is in itself troubling. Recently I heard of a blogger who challenged some abuse in the progressive community and he himself was abused in return. It was upsetting to me to know that it happened. But the issue needs to be raised, can blogs abuse other people? Yes they can. Here is another thing to consider. Sometimes some bloggers can pressure people to tell their stories when they do not want to. People have shared with me how some bloggers can beg and apply pressure to people to tell their story on their blog. That is concerning in itself as people should be given the freedom to tell their story if they want to. Others might not want to tell their story and that is fine. To each his own and each person is different.
Double Standards Can Happen Over Sexual Abuse
Here is another thing that can also happen today in cyber space. Some progressive bloggers who talk about politics can point out Trump’s abuse. And they speak of it while ignoring Bill Clinton abusing his power with an intern. Then you can have others who speak about sex abuse in the Catholic Church or Sovereign Grace. They can speak about the problems of sex abuse and talk about how evil it is, and then they can dismiss Donald Trump’s sexual abuse or lewd comments about grabbing pussy or more. Neither situation above is good. This blog wants to be consistent and if one is going to talk about sexual abuse they need to hold the line when when the topic comes up. So from modern evangelicalism, to sports, to education, to Boy Scouts, business and entertainment world to politics. There needs to be a universal standard that applies to everyone.
Maybe This Will Drive the Point Home for Some People
If none of this has registered let me describe things in another way.
- Perhaps you came from Sovereign Grace, Acts 29, Harvest Bible Chapel and you were troubled by the alternative facts and how things were off inside the organization. If you are going to talk about alternative facts and then drink from the well of Britbart, Turning Point, Charlie Kirk or something like Info Wars then you have not learned your lesson.
- Maybe you came from Harvest Bible Chapel and you were upset with James MacDonald making a lewd video of a person moaning in an orgasm that Rick Donald allegedly liked. If you thought that was in-appropriate but you overlook Donald Trump standing on the stage in a rally in Minneapolis mimicking and and copying former FBI agent’s Lisa Page’s orgasm then you have no right to criticize James MacDonald.
- You thought that it was wrong for Mark Driscoll to bully, slander and have violence and anger issues and you felt compelled to make that your hill to die on. Then you overlook Donald Trump mimicking the handicapped and mocking someone disabled or screaming profanities on Twitter frequently. The lesson is that you have failed to learn and apply the lessons from Mars Hill.
- Finally maybe you are concerned about child sex abuse. You thought the stories of Sovereign Grace Fairfax, the Roman Catholic church and more are evil and heinous. But you can dismiss Trump boasting of grabbing pussy and walking in on dressing teenagers because its convenient to avoid that abuse because you want a Supreme Court seat. If you can ignore such glaring issues like that then nothing in our culture is going to change and all this effort at blogging is for nothing.
This is not an easy post to write but I needed to say what was stated. I will get back to writing about evangelical Christianity again tomorrow.