Every now and then, I get a blog comment or an email in my inbox from people wanting to parse theology with me. I LOVE talking theology, but I have found I am not so good at it when it is done in a private medium that is dictated by a back and forth correspondence like emails or chat, etc. Starting now, if you see something you want to comment on (especially if you want to disagree with me, but also those who are sympathetic to my opinions), we need to agree to dialogue in a public forum. The reasons for this requirement are as follows;
- TRANSPARENCY – this restricts the propensity for ad hominem remarks and ensures that there is some public scrutiny and accountability to refine our expressed thoughts. Strict anonymity will also not be tolerated; if you need your identity concealed for personal reasons I can understand, but too often people use the internet as a crutch to lean on while hurling profane, unintelligible (or unreasonable) rants in the general direction of those they disagree with.
- COHERENCE – Private conversations sometimes get lost or disjointed if the text does not get carried over with each communication (switch to Gmail to avoid this problem! [ok google, give me money for advertising for you]). People lose sight of the original subject, lose track of the argument, etc. Most public forums like blog or Facebook commentary are stored and are accessible throughout the duration of the discourse.
- GUILT – That’s right, I am not innocent. I too have fallen back on the lack of accountability in private conversations to be a belligerent jerk. It’s not that I am intentional about it, I get defensive about my beliefs like anyone else. I don’t like how worked up I get sometimes, and I have noticed I don’t let myself get as worked up when I know that we are both open to a third party (or parties) being able to chime in.
So there you go. If you like or dislike something I have written, you gotta get in touch publicly. I will not moderate comments unless they contain openly hostile remarks or are obviously not being objective or reasonable. If you email me directly, I will remind you of these guidelines I have set for myself and invite you to post a comment or get in touch with me by Facebook (though I will not converse on the topic in question over a private message, only publicly accessible comments).
To those who I have been in touch with and have not maintained a modicum of respect, I apologize. Furthermore this IS NOT an indictment on any individual, but a pattern I have observed. I appreciate your input, but have found that any objective deliberation between people who disagree most often needs occur in a publicly accountable platform…