Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One anonymous blog comment too many

A few days ago, an anonymous commenter dropped a comment on the "Pink Flamingos in a Sea of Blue Herons" piece I wrote. Said comment doesn't really require a response:
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 KJV Posted by: Man of God on February 19, 2011

It was just a warning to tell me I should be silent in the church, and in a preaching class, if I take the King James Version translation of the Bible seriously. It took him all of three seconds to write it. It took me all of three seconds to be steamed by it.

Here's why I didn't post a comment to follow it:

  • Man of God did not have the courage to tell me who he is. Unfortunately, this is not a trait I would associate with a "man of God." To have a conversation, I deserve to know who I am conversing with.
  • Man of God doesn't want to dialogue. He just wants to wield Scripture verses like a sword. So it's unlikely he'll care at all if I point out that Paul instructed women in his culture on "how" they should pray and prophesy in public in 1 Corinthians 11. He doesn't care to discuss or to dive in deeper, to have a thoughtful conversation on why two passages in the same letter seem to contradict each other, so responding would be fruitless.
  • The awful truth is, I was PMSing at the time, and I didn't believe my response would be redemptive, but reactive.
There you have it. That is my take on "Man of God." I do need to thank him for one thing. He got me thinking about the harm we cause by "drive-by" comments. Posting anonymously to make a point, without bringing ourselves into the light, without offering the love of Christ, doesn't help anybody, no matter what their viewpoint might be. I want desperately to discuss the difficult issues of the Christian faith with the wider body beyond my church. But in doing so, my speech must be kind, loving, and redemptive. Yes, ESPECIALLY on the Internet.

"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." 
-Colossians 4:6 ESV

Have you experienced painful "drive-by" comments? Do you believe we should reveal our identities when commenting on posts? Why or why not?


  1. Excellent response, Suzi. I'm thankful for your courage and commitment to grace and truth.

  2. Sadly, "Man of God" subscribes to the "memorize scripture, quote it out of context" school of thought. I pray he and others like him are won over by your grace.

    In fact, that's the best thing about such anonymous, brick-wielding comments -- they challenge our intention to respond to each person graciously, and force us to exercise that intention. After all, it's not our friends and supporters who Jesus said we'd need to turn the other cheek toward...

  3. Thank you, ladies. The real, honest-to-goodness, end to this story is that I encouraged a twitter friend and seminarian (twitter: @KurtWillems), to read the post and comment on it if he felt led. He did. And the encouraging nature of his comment on said post more than made up for the drive-by comment. There is power in our words...and we can wield it wisely.

  4. I completely agree with your thoughts - I can relate a lot to this frusteration and have not always taken the time to think through a response like this, so it was good for me to read! Would love to sit down and talk with you more about women in the church, your personal experiences, and how to dialogue about it with people! Where do you live, Suzanne? (if you feel comfortable posting that on your blog!)

  5. Hey Blythe: I'd love to connect. Just email me at suzanneburden @ gmail.com.

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