Why do some in the Christian blogosphere feel that the most important thing to do is to not just “win” an argument but also dance on your opponent’s grave?In fairness to "De", the original post at Thinklings did link 3 times to this blog and to Phil Johnson (cf. the underlined text) in an effort to make her point. It's very generous to excoriate me and then link to me because then people might come here and see for themselves what exactly happened -- and find a whole new reason to start the verbal brawl all over again.
Especially when the people arguing agree, as far as I can tell, on every real essential of the Christian faith.
I also don’t get the playground triumphalism. It’s the “I just kicked your a–, and now I’m going to crap in your hat” attitude.
Excuse my language, but there’s a reason that I’ve retreated from the more “provocative” corners of the God blogosphere. This is it.
It’s the pride I see. It’s the inability to, if you’re not going to help a wounded brother, at least resist the urge to crush your boots into his wounds. It’s pride and arrogance. Yes, truth needs to be defended. But if we treat eachother like dirt, what’s the point?
What on earth do we think we’re accomplishing? Why don’t more people stand up to this nonsense? Doesn’t anyone take James seriously anymore?
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.I expect comments [and ridicule] from people who don’t get what I’m saying.
- James 3:6 (ESV)
So a coupla-few notes on "De"'s comments for the sake of not disappointing.
(1) The t-shirt sales are going nicely, thank you. It is my best-selling item to date -- and the genius of it is that it's not all about one side of the argument. To say "I blogged iMonk" is not to say (as "De" vulgarly did) "I kicked iMonk's A--" or "now I'm going to cr@p in iMonk's hat" -- but to say "I was in the fray". See: it turns out that most people participating in this discussion were rushing to iMonk's defense. To "blog" some person (or persona, as Mr. Spencer has claimed) is not necessarily to "snark" some person (or persona). That a t-shirt is seen as "triumphalism" is to miss out on the point that a t-shirt is actually commerce -- and I make a little money ($1 per shirt, for the invasively-curious) by selling to the largest number of people.
(2) For those of you who are going to say, "Yeah, but the Bull's Eye ...", what about the Bull's Eye? Is there a picture of Michael Spencer on the Bull's Eye? Since I designed the shirt, I can say without any reservation that I intended the Bull's Eye to indicate comments that were on the mark. If you think that those who were positioned against my remarks about iMonk were not on the mark, welcome to the right side of the argument.
(3) I am always amused by people who wag James at anyone in the context of using words like "ass" and "crap". "But wait," comes the complaint, "De didn't say 'ass': De typed 'a--'. That's completely different."
I'm wondering: since when did "a--" attain the same status are "G-d" in the lexicon of common usage? Can anyone seriously advocate that De did not mean "ass" when De typed "a--"? What if I linked to a porn site to make a point in a blog post -- but only the PG-13 front page which did not itself have any porn on it? Would I be morally clean or morally culpable for sending people to a porn site? And how many of you clicked thru just now, proving my point that the link is as good as being there?
So until De can fix his vocabulary up to a place that conforms with James' admonition about the tongue, his lectures on godly speech are a little tone-deaf.
(3a) And just to be sure I said it, one of the essentials of the Christian faith is that there is something precious about God's church -- and specifically about God's ministers. When someone can prove that iMonk's rants about the Christian life upholds those essentials, your monkey can then dance whilst you grind the organ.
(4) Thank God De is not a sinner like that wretched publican centuri0n. I'm sure that is going to raise a lot of hackles, but there you go. Blog it. But do so in a way that conforms to your view of how we ought to treat people that are flat-out wrong that doesn't exempt you from the standard you want to establish.
(5) What I am trying to accomplish -- since De asked, and since it seems that having made my point about 50 ways to Sunday I might as well find another way to do it -- is to expose iMonk as a fraudulent persona (or person, depending on who you ask) who does not have a credible place in the blogosphere.
The problem is that those who are all worked up about this discussion want to change the goal from "is iMonk a credible person?" to "is talking about this using both humor and facts really 'Christian'?"
When Dave Barry lampoons anything, it's humor and nobody flinches -- he's popular, and he's generally seen as family-friendly at least to the teen-aged level. Dennis Swanberg -- very funny, and he lampoons Billy Graham who is old and sick. I think the jury is still out on Brad Stine -- though I'm not sure anyone thinks Stine is offensive, the question is whether he is funny.
And I list those three examples not to say, "and my stuff is just as good as theirs." I list those three examples to say that there is plenty of room for humor and lampoon in the realm of family-friendly -- and even Christian -- dialog. The problem is when those who are the subject of the lampoon don't get the jokes.
So De: I hope this fulfilled your prophecy that you would be misunderstood and you would also be ridiculed. I would hate to see perfectly good spiritual gifts neglected for the sake of one blog post.