[#] Still all about me (last call)

After all the edifying posts and e-mails I got today, I'm sure I'll be blogging for a long time, so let's not break out the prayer of Jabez or anything for the sake of my poor widdo self-esteem. However, one of the e-mails I got was so exceptional that I'm posting it here.

HT and "go Devils" to the alert reading staff at the "Pros from Dover":

First, the lead: I like your blog. It's your blog, which is to say it's YOU, and anything less would make the blog worse.

Next, an explanation: COMMENTS would be the ideal venue for my (um) comments, but half the time I can't even read the comments under your posts, and Ctrl-Alt-Delete--End Task is the only way to unfreeze my machine. It's my 20th-century technology, so please don't see it as anything you'd have to address from your end. (That is, you're having problems with Haloscan, 'cuz I'm the one having the problems.)

Final disclaimer: Your way-back-when post about being in or out of the debate was both memorable and dead-on right, satifying the two criteria for "classic." That said, I'm out of the debate. As requested, then, some thoughts on the nature of the debate.

Check this out, which I hope is relevant. Specific stances aside, he addresses the nature of controvery and the different ways style adds to or detracts from a debate. Ask yourself this: If you're being controversialist, what results? Do you get disagreement on details from people who accept your fundamental theses on Christianity, thereby yielding an elevated systhesis of ideas (a la Georg Hegel)? Or do you get called nasty names from people stressing petty disagreements (a la contemporary Democrats)? Your Santa Claus posts -- and I won't get into whether you were right or wrong, Christian or non-Christian or anti-Christian, since I've learned my lesson with the Great Pumpkin some years ago -- what kind of debate does it prompt? The Lincoln-Douglas variety or the Bush-Gore kind?

Here's the extent of my exposure to religious debate: I'm officially Lutheran (ELCA as opposed to Missouri Synod). When Lutherans get together with Episcopalians and the discussion veers to larger Church issues, it initially focuses on the unification of the two denominations. (Good so far.) It quickly degenrates to Catholic bashing, starting with the pope, ending with all Catholics. That bridges into an elitist unity between us, as we in the "high churches" -- an actual term! -- look down our noses at the Presbyterians and Methodists and Baptists and Seventh-day Adventists. Then, when those stinking Anglicans leave, we talk about them behind their backs. {Cent notes for the record that no Reformed Catholics were given merciless beatings for the sake of this post}

Of course we think we're right -- we all do -- none of us holds an opinion on anything we think is wrong -- so assuming that one side (your side) is right, is the ensuing debate right vs. not-quite-right but getting there with your help or right vs. hopelessly stupid or right vs. something else? Drawing from the above example, Lutherans are right as opposed to not as good as them, leading one to conclude that either one is right or one should know one's place. That's not your style either. (By the way, just to put it out there, there's a big overlap between Lutherans and Germans.)

I think your tone -- to finally answer your question -- strikes the right balance: you have opinions, so you're opinionated, thus you attract other opinionated people to your discussions -- and by the way, they all see themselves as preceding the "vs." No, you're not nasty, nor are you condescending or combative, though you do highlight what you see as errors in others' opinions -- and you accordingly influence whatever debate you host -- but you can't control it completely. You'll get all types, including ones who just want to fight and the ones who shy away from controversialists. Oh well.

Last things: At risk of entering the debate, your family has Santa Claus. Inasmuch as I think that's a good thing, it doesn't matter what I think -- it's your house, it's your family, and (to get back on point) it's your blog. Also: It doesn't matter that I'm not personally big on the inclusion of Santa in Christmas -- I have no kids of my own, my nieces are too big, my nephews are totally into the big guy but they're in New Jersey. And I'm glad that Coca-Cola replaced Santa with the polar bears on their cans. Personal opinions for what they're worth. I do, however, celebrate St. Valentine's Day. In addition to the secular celebration, I recognize that it's a feast day on the Catholic calendar to commemorate a man who was martyred for his faith in A.D. 270. Some people have a problem with St. Valentines Day, others with (regular) Valentine's Day, or with V-Day, or the latest mutation of "V-Day." All types. Oh well.

(So after all that typing I've come full circle. Almost as long as "The Dark Tower" series by Stephen King which did the same thing. Sorry.)

By the way, this is the stuff of life-long friendships, and the reading staff at PFD has been my friend for (unbelievably) more than 20 years beginning with the day he offered me a nickle bag (which was literally a bag full of nickles).

That has no business on a christian apologetics blog, but there it is.