“A blog is only as interesting as the interest shown in others.” ― Lee Odden link
Julie McMahon update: I am sure a number of you are wondering about a court order that was issued which mentions TWW in the document along with a bunch of other bloggers. A judge has apparently asked Julie and Tony to stop commenting on public social media. They are reportedly supposed to ask bloggers to remove posts and comments. Those are outlined in this document. The bloggers, on the other hand, are not legally obligated to remove the posts and comments. @XianAtty helped me to understand that today. So, I shall wait…
[Editor's Update 5/14: I apologize for the name confusion. Last night I went through the post and checked that I had written his name correctly. I must not have checked the title. I certainly want Mr. James to get the full credit for his work.]
Samuel James: the #whippersnapper saga continues…
Who is Sam? From his blocked twitter account, I learned
@ERLC Communications Specialist, Office of the President. Journalist and blogger. Full time knight in shining armor to @empottsy.
Let me refer you back to our post Tutorial: What You Can Learn From Twitter About Spin, CBMW, Zondervan, and a Church Covenant from last Monday. Let me call attention to this excerpt.
I returned home from our lake retreat late Saturday night plumb worn out. I plopped in front of my computer and looked at Twitter. Amy Smith (@watchkeep) and Julie Anne Smith (@DefendtheSheep) were discussing that( @brandonsmith85) blocked them even though they did not know him. Feeling a bit left out, I checked and I, too, was blocked! Yay! I am part of a club.
As an update, his friend Griffin Gulledge, also mentioned in that post, decided to unblock a bunch of us but has yet to show any proof as to why I am wicked and hateful. So, I give him 1/2 props for unblocking us. He accused us at one point of ageism so our good friend Tim Fall invented the hashtag #whippersnappers.
Now after all of this occurred, one would think we would all go on our merry way. But, lo and behold, a Samuel D James posted What Not to Do When a Fellow Christian Embarrasses The Rest of Us at Patheos. As comments began flying around social media, both Julie Anne Smith and Amy Smith checked his Twitter account. Guess what? They had been preemptively blocked. I am pleased to be able to announce to our readers that I, too, was blocked. It was deja vu all over again.
Samuel has wisely chosen not to allow comments on his blog at Patheos for reasons you shall be able to determine quite quickly. Sam admits that Christians can do some really bad things.
People who take the name of Christ and identify with His church are going to say or do something so inexplicable, so ridiculous, and so embarrassing that the rest of us will either shake our heads in disbelief or groan in frustration. Sometimes it’s something silly. Sometimes it’s more serious, and even blasphemous.
Please read the entire post. But for now, I wish to comment on 4 of his points (Numbers 6-9 in the post.) Here is a brief synopsis. Shut up already!
1. People leave the church because they don't love Jesus, not because they are abused or anything else. Nope-Impossible!
6) Don’t ever, ever, ever, EVER even passively, suggestively, or indirectly legitimize or rationalize bitterness and suspicion towards the church. If someone says to you, “This is why I don’t go to church,” they might think they’re telling the truth, but they’re not. They don’t love the church because they don’t love Jesus. Saying, “Yes, you have a point, church can be so frustrating” feels like empathy, but it’s not. It’s self-perservation at the cost of slandering Christ’s body.
This inexperienced young man is obviously oblivious to the very real issues of churches that harm individuals. I have been blogging for 6 years. My heart has ached for those who have been ill treated at the hands of arrogant church leadership. My compassion and empathy for those who have been hurt is now viewed by Sam as slander against Christ's body. He, along with just about every wannabe church leader, liberally sprinkle the word slander around without fully understanding what that means.
Slander is purposely telling a lie. I never, ever tell lies on this blog. I believe that what I am writing is true and that it needs to be told in order to prevent others from being hurt as well as to give support to those who have been hurt deeply by the church. In fact, I wrote a post Slander or an Inconvenient Truth. Might I suggest that Samuel Jones, through his advocacy of silence in his post, is actually encouraging people to live a lie by pretending all is well?
2. Watchblogs are out of bounds.
7) Don’t start a “watchdog blog.” Seriously, don’t ever.
For newer readers, the name "watchblog" has been turned into a derisive term by arrogant church leaders who do not like the little guy getting ahold of a microphone. However, starting today, I am embracing this term wholeheartedly. Watchblogging is a good thing.Here are some Bible verses that tell us to keep a watch link and link. One even tell us why.
The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who watches his way preserves his life. Proverbs 16:17
He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city. 2 Kings18:8
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand. Ezekiel 33:6
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. Isaiah 62:6
They prepare the table, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink. Arise, O princes; oil the shield! For thus the Lord said to me: “Go, set a watchman; let him announce what he sees. When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs, riders on donkeys, riders on camels, let him listen diligently, very diligently.” Then he who saw cried out: “Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord, continually by day, and at my post I am stationed whole nights. And behold, here come riders, horsemen in pairs!” And he answered, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the carved images of her gods he has shattered to the ground.” …Isaiah 21:5-12
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. …Ezekiel 34:1-31 (Dee's favorite)
We spend hours each day reading and watching for trends and abuses. We watch to help our readers to understand what is going on. We watch out for those who have been abused and tell their stories here so they can know they are believed as well as loved by a community. And, yes, Sam, we are a community. Some of us have met each other. Some of us will be meeting in the DC area in June. People on this blog have supported those in need and have formed friendships.
I am sad for you, Sam, because you do not allow comments on your blog posts and you block all those who think differently than you do. You are stuck in a bubble of your own making.
We allow seriously negative comments. We are not afraid of them and learn from them. Sam, we will never block you unless you abuse a victim. Please feel free to comment at TWW. You might see why our blog is garnering a large readership. It has something to do with love, respect and compassion.
3+4. Make sure you never read comments on blogs and never comment yourself.
8) Don’t read the comments.
9) Don’t leave a comment.
Sam, I am a humble reader of the experiences of our commenters. They stretch me. I listen to myself all day long. You do, too. Don't you get bored of only listening to yourself? I do. Wouldn't you like to see what people really think about your writing? Or are you afraid?
Sam is surprised™ at the response.
Apparently, Sam was irritated at the responses he received to his post. He wrote a second post For Whom the Blog Trolls: A Drama. Here he goes off the rails and thinks he is amusing. He claims he was speaking generally in his first post but it appears he blocked preemptively. That dog can't hunt.
Our youthful hero writes disparagingly about a certain genre of online blogging that he finds distasteful and generally unhelpful. He is careful, however, to mention no names and no real scenarios.
He then calls those he blocked on Mother's day *sock puppets.*
One of those sock puppets is a judge, Sam. You could learn much from him.
Alternatively disturbed and amused, he spends Mothers Day blocking several of these people, most of which are anonymous and have the appearance of sock puppet accounts.
He claims that everyone he blocked *insulted* him.
Since I didn't know who he was, I couldn't have insulted him before he blocked me.
Our Misunderstood Messenger gets rebuked by several people on Twitter for blocking abusive accounts. He is shocked to learn that one of the rules of the internet is apparently, “You must always listen when people insult you.”
The No Talk Rule
Michael Newham of the Phoenix Preacher also wrote a post on Samuel James called Just Shut Up
Mr. James is trying to enforce the “no talk” rule…which facilitates the continuation of abuse and corruption.
Bloggers are making bank on their blogs.
When some friends of mine tried to engage Mr. Jackson on his view he summarily blocked them and accused them of blogging for profit.
As I have said before: TWW does not take advertisements and we do not participate in any book kickback deals. When you read here, you are reading a labor of love. Everyday we keep this blog up, we lose money. We never, ever want any reader to think we do this in order to make money. We do this out of love and concern.
Hypocrisy or "I don't have to follow the rules I set for you".
He calls those who opposed his post *trolls" which seems to contradict his original post. Too bad he didn't listen to his own advice.
He then went on the attack with a blog article that labeled all his opposition trolls…which I thought we were not’t supposed to do according to Mr. James own commandment.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Sam.
What can we learn from Sam's tweets? You can block but we are still watching you.
1. He's a friend of Brandon Smith from our original post about these guys.
Maybe that's how we got preemptively blocked?
2. He has a fairly new job at the ERLC (The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission headed up by Russell Moore.)
3. He really loves that word "bitter"which is so unimaginative.
Imagine how he would respond to people who have been hurt by the church.
4. He claims he can take criticism. Huh?
How? He blocks dissenters on twitter and he does not allow comments on his blog!
5. Note how he takes a gentle criticism about opening comments.
He says the person is part of the outrage™culture. "Sam, Sam you need to get out more. That is not outrage, its a suggestion."
6. He really, really, really loves the word bitter. He feels you are violent if you don't.
Violent? Sam-please take 10 deep breaths and calm down. [edited] Did someone beat you up???
7. He thinks this was all about the primacy of the local church?
He must have recently attended a 9 Marks conference. That's all they think about as well.
8. Sam has two sets of rules-one for him and one for the rest of us schlocks.
9. Sam, say "Hi "to Joe Carter for me. I think he accused me of slander for sticking up for the SGM victims. He will be a good friend. Do not block him.
In one tweet, Carter suggested that Parsons, Hoag and Julie Ann, a spiritual abuse watchdog blogger, were "pathologically dishonest."
After Parsons asked him to clarify what "slander" he was referring to, Carter responded "Have you not intimated that CJM was involved in a coverup of sexual abuse?" linking to a recent post on her site where a guest blogger claimed that Mahaney was guilty.
Parsons defended herself, claiming that "everyone has a right to express their point of view. Also, I tend to believe the victims."
"Slander/defamation is well defined as deliberately telling a lie in order to hurt another. I have never knowingly told a lie at TWW & have never said anything to deliberately hurt another. When I have been confronted with an obvious mistake, I have apologized and corrected it," continued Parsons on Twitter.
Sam, did you see what I did? I quoted you directly. I actually can still see your tweets so blocking me is silly. Man up and stand the courage of your convictions. (Note to Sam:This suggestion has nothing to do with violence.) Good night! Calm down.
My fellow watchblogger, Deb, said this:
This (TWW) is a watchdog for the anti-watchdog blog.
Maybe one day you will understand why this blog needs to exist.
In celebration of our decision embrace the name "watchbloggers," please sing along.