Before I make the post I intend to make here, I have a correction and an apology I'd like to make. In the last 24 hours, I have defended myself against some pretty salacious "reproaches" by saying that I used a Biblical word to describe what Steve said -- referencing Prov 12:1. The word I said I used was "stupid".

The problem is that this is what I actually published to Haloscan:

I know what I meant to say -- because as I typed the post I was thinking Prov 12:1. In fact, in my first front-page resonse to this, um, event, I said this:

The problem is that I didn't use the word I intended to use. I didn't, and I have to admit that I feel a little, um, stupid for making that error. So for not saying what I intended to say the way I intended to say it, and for defending that errant choice of word after the fact, I apologize. In particular, I apologize to Terry Rayburn, to whom I said at least one unkind thing because he referenced the word I actually used. Please forgive me, Terry, for treating you as if you cannot read -- that was over the top and wholly a result of my own poor judgment.

To some people, this may seem like a little thing, but the truth is that I should have said what I meant, and I didn't. Because that's really at the core of my problem with Steve's callous post that kicked off this, um, event, it's important that I clear the air when I make that kind of error.

The "some people" who might feel that way includes a reader named "Clint", who asked this question last night:

And that is a wholly fair question. Why not let it go? Why not just let the Steve Camp Fan Club enjoy the world they live in, and let Steve in particular say whatever it is that he says and live in Nashville -- which is far enough away that, honestly, who needs to interact with him? Why defend the Hall family?

And the truth is, calling Steve's comment "dumb" has been a massive time-destroyer for me. I have a lot of work to do, given the circumstances at my employer; I have a fabulous family which, for those of you who don't understand this, requires of me a significant time commitment; also bookstore; hobbies; etc. I don't really have 6 hours a day to devote to explaining to Steve and his cohorts why calling the Hall family "unbelievers" in the 2 Cor 6 sense, and why using that as an explanation as to why my friends and co-workers lost their jobs, is reprehensible at best.

So why do it?

[1] Because the hits just keep coming. Listen: I'd be glad to let it go. I haven't re-instigated any of this discussion, but have responded to those comments made here on this topic. Even tried to change the subject Friday morning, but apparently stories about how funny my kids are don't compare to defending Steve Camp's right to call anyone at any time an "unbeliever".

The record shows that those who will defend Steve take any failure to respond as some kind of derelection of a moral duty. May it never be that we offend that kind of person by omission.

[2] Because the hits which come are frankly insulting. They range from small insults -- like the insinuation that I have a guilty conscience -- to intermediate insults -- like the insinuation that I am a bad parent -- to large insults -- expressly saying I am worthless, for example, or saying that my employer is in league with the moral equivalent of a pornographer.

These are the people who want me to use a standard of "gentleness" in offering criticism to Steve. I think their double-standard deserves to be dealt with, and for the record there are only a handful of bloggers that I know who will do so directly rather than with a passive-aggressive approach. Sadly for all of my criticis on this matter, I am one of those bloggers who will deal with the matter directly.

[3] Because there is a larger question of what it means to be someone concerned about unity and truth in the Body of Christ. I'll say it plainly here: anyone who is willing to judge the eternal and spiritual state of another person -- or worse, of a group or class of people -- in order to advance a personal agenda when all the evidence they have indicates an indeterminate spiritual condition (or much worse: that the external evidence indicates they are at least nominal disciples of Christ in fellowship with other believers) is a wholly-dispreputable person.

Anything else I would say to bolster this point in particular on either side of the fence -- either in favor of those I work for, or against Steve -- would be treading on confidentialities. Suffice it to say that there is far more to this question than meets the eye.

If Steve ever apologizes, the whole effort would be worth it. He doesn't even have to come out and say, "I affirm that the Hall family and the executives at Hallmark are faithful servants of Jesus Christ." He just has to say, "I said something rashly which is, at best, unprovable, and it spirtuallly slanders people I have never met. I was wrong. I apologize."

I have other things to do today and tomorrow, so if you want to lay on without getting an immediate response, I say lay on. Just don't take silence as acceptance.