Comment Threads Are Becoming Toxic and Need to Change Immediately

I hate to control conversations because sometimes people need a lot of leeway to discuss their story. However, we have been receiving a fair number of complaints behind the scenes. To be perfectly frank, I agree with some of those concerns. There have been a number of people who have stopped commenting due to the increased stridency of the interaction. One of them is someone that I care about a lot. 

I never expected the blog to get this busy. It is next to impossible to carefully moderate hundreds of comments. So, unfortunately we are going to have to take a broad brushed approach to try to move the blog into a more civil discussion. There have been some blogs out there which are moving away from allowing comments. We will never do that. The best part of blogging is hearing from all of you.

Here are some thoughts:

1. The length of the comments are getting out of hand. Do not extensively quote another person and extensively answer. The only people who read those lengthy comments are those who are involved in the discussion. Either move over to the open discussion page or continue the conversation offline. I will be happy to help you connect with each other. I will start unapproving comments that are too lengthy unless there is a darn good reason for them. 

2. Be aware of how many times you comment in each comment thread. It the thread seems to be a conversation between just a few people, those commenters need to consider being polite and backing off to encourage others to comment. I may ask some to back off a bit in the future. Again, go over  to Open Discussion or go offline with one another.

3. Stop with all ad hominem comments. Also, do not judge people's motives. Only God knows those. Please be kind to those who want to get their points across even if they do not agree with your point of view. In fact, encourage them to share their thoughts. Treat them the way you would like to be treated.

4. Do not gang up on another commenter. If this occurs, we will start unapproving comments. 

5. If things don't improve, I may use a TWW device which is called "slow moderation." Your name will be put into moderation and we may not approve it for a looooong time. That is not fun for the commenter and it makes more work for us.

We need all you to help us in this blog. This blog is for all of us. God has done some wonderful things throughout the life of this community. We want that to continue. Please work with us to try to make this happen. 

Comments

Comment Threads Are Becoming Toxic and Need to Change Immediately — 143 Comments

  1. Thanks Dee 🙂 I hope some people will find this a safe place again & come back out of the woodwork. They are missed.

  2. Thanks Deebs – will take that on board.

    I must admit, I find it frustrating is when the comment thread deviates from the actual post, and ends up going totally off-piste. I know I’ve been guilty of participating in those kind of tangents too, though.

  3. Is it the middle of the night in the States? Or is it that us Brits just love fair play so much?

  4. This is one of the reasons I decided to stop reading/commenting at this blog, a decision I made during the Julie McMahon/Tony Jones series. I do return from time time, as I’ve done today. I’m glad to see this post.

  5. Dear Deb and Dee,

    If I have been one of those who has committed any of the offenses that you have mentioned, please forgive me. I also ask anyone else who reads this wonderful blog to forgive me if I have offended you, or if my comments have caused you to avoid getting involved in the conversations as of late here at TWW. This is a reminder to me to be kind and tenderhearted toward those I interact with online. May our Lord continue to bless the work that you ladies do here at TWW!

  6. I know I’ve participated in off-topic tangents and left long comments…I hope I haven’t been a contributor to the other problems too. 🙁

  7. I have had to quit reading many of the comments due to the press of other calls on my time. I am sure that others who read here are feeling the same pressure. Thanks for all you do, all three of you.

  8. Yeah. There are some topics I am way too angry about, and I will cut it out commenting on those topics. That ought to clean up my act a tad.

  9. Beakerj wrote:

    Is it the middle of the night in the States? Or is it that us Brits just love fair play so much?

    Blighty covers only one time-zone, of course, but the States covers several, which introduces a minor complication.

    The contiguous States are between 5 and 8 hours behind us; Alaska is 9 hours; and Hawaii is 11.

    It’s probably true to say, though, that the sun never sets on the Deebs Empire.

    IHTIH. Although this may not be the best thread off which to quantum-tunnel quite this far.

  10. Good points, and I know I’ve been guilty of a few. I’ll be aware in the future.

    One thing that might contribute to the long confusing, distracting conversations that go on in the comment section is that the format is like long-form Twitter, which isn’t real good for conversing, as we know. It’s presented all in a line, even though the conversations are more like a tree. I gotta scroll through a lot of comments to see “original” comments.

    Not sure if there’s much help to that, but it’s just a thought.

  11. Sorry, I just left multiple comments in response to one comment on the Leeman thread. I am over-caffeinated, and dealing with a topic that really ignites my anxiety doesn’t help, either. I’ll go offline now and do something else.

  12. Arce wrote:

    I have had to quit reading many of the comments due to the press of other calls on my time.

    It is, obviously, testament to the importance of what Deebs and GBTC have grown here that there are so many regular commenters. I find a similar problem, in that when I look in first thing in the morning (see my previous comment on our respective longitudes…) the trans-atlantic majority here have had a solid evening’s commenting and I have to skim through the thread.

    For that reason I think it’s useful, when replying to another comment, to include a short quote from that comment. It gives context and saves having to read back upstream.

  13. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    to include a short quote from that comment. It gives context and saves having to read back upstream.

    Emphasis on “short” as I think Dee has asked a couple times that we keep the quotes short rather than highlighting the entire comment.

    Thanks for all you do, Dee, Deb and Guy Behind the Curtain. This blog is very much appreciated!

  14. As a repeat offender on almost all counts, I offer an apology for comments I’ve made which crossed a line. Certainly I need an editor. This kind of forum can get heated, but the flip side of that is that it is not fake and contrived like some other sites that have comments but without the freedom that TWW offers. FWIW I learn the most from people with whom I probably disagree the most. My thanks to Dee, Deb, TGBTC, and all the commenters here.

  15. I usually lurk and learn a lot.

    Today’s really got me because of the alienation of the precious elderly people that once kept the church thriving and are now marginalized. I had precious grandparents and an amazing father.

    Not giving them communion is just flat out wrong. So very wrong. This is heart wrenching.

    Did I just do what Dee and Deb just asked us not to do?
    Oops.

  16. I think the Calvinista/comp/patriarchy stuff lately has brought out the best and worst of us. I’ve seen some great conversations, and I’ve seen some that make want to curl up in a ball and throw my phones away.

    Maybe a reprieve from the subjects is in order (is that victim blaming? ;-])? These things get very heated, and I think justifiably so, but unfortunately it tends to be one or two defending against the majority here. Honestly, my hat is off to the couple guys that have stuck around and stuck to their guns. Even though we disagree, the fact that they’re here reading and interacting is better than a lot of folks.

    Of course, I know y’all can’t help it that darned patriarchy can’t stay out of the limelight.

  17. GovPappy wrote:

    Honestly, my hat is off to the couple guys that have stuck around and stuck to their guns. Even though we disagree, the fact that they’re here reading and interacting is better than a lot of folks.

    I agree! Most times the comments remain very civil in light of the strong differences.

  18. @ GovPappy:
    Patriarchy is just a subset of the larger problem of authoritarianism or elitism which is plaguing the conservative church. I don’t know how that manifests in other places. God says some people hold the keys/authority over other people, and God says some people must obey other people. That’s “Christian” authoritarianism and elitism in a nutshell. I just about gagged when typing that last sentence.

  19. My blog’s official comment policy is taken from Buckaroo Banzai’s advice: Don’t be mean. I am the sole definer and arbiter of whether a comment violates that policy, and there is no right of appeal.

    Then again, the commenters at my blog (including Deb and Dee!) are among the nicest people on earth so I almost never have to do anything but read with pleasure.

  20. I was a long time reader before commenting and will continue to read. I appreciate the effort to make the table big enough for all. Take care and all the best.

  21. @ Gram3:

    I have learned so much from you in the last year and a half during which time I left and divorced an abusive husband, rethought complementarianism, and traveled into the land of the Nones. Please don’t dial back too much. You’re well-read, experienced, and have a very helpful way of saying things.

  22. Mark wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    This patriarchy position is also hard on men, supposedly the persons in authority.

    I agree, because legalism is always burdensome except on the ones imposing the laws. As I said to Ken on the Piper thread, we have known men who were no longer able to provide for their families due to illness or accident. Those men were under a tremendous burden of guilt, even though their wives were able to step in and be real Ezer Strong Helpers. Their wives *wanted* to be full partners, but the men felt shamed and guilty.

    In the same way, the legalism of the new clericalists which we are discussing on the latest Leeman thread make things very difficult for the true servants who are shepherding the flock as Jesus would have them do. I know some of those men, and they are grieved by what they see in the churches and what they have seen in one seminary. The poison is due to corruption of the pure Gospel by people who desire to use other people and by the people who are deceived by them.

  23. @ Persephone:
    Thank you for your kind words, and I am happy that you are free from the abuse. I hope that you find peace and joy in Christ and the freedom he offers to all of us. And I hope that you can find a fellowship of like-minded believers. As for dialing it back, I need correction when I need correction, and I am willing to listen because people draw lines at different places for different reasons.

  24. Persephone wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    I have learned so much from you in the last year and a half

    And so have I during the months I’ve been reading here. I love reading your stuff, Gram3. It helps me as I struggle with my faith.

  25. Thank you Dee and Deb. I had begun to think my comments were irrevelant against the other wordy insistent commenters. I have wanted to be part of the dialog but am unable to go word for word . Somewhat intimidating.

  26. I am now 71 years old. I am so thankful that one of the things I carried away from confirmation classes as a jr. hi. Lutheran kid was all about the reformation and how with Jesus we didn’t need to go through rig a ma roll nor the church heiracrchy nor a priest nor any other human being but now had access to God because of what Christ did for us on the cross. Our class had been admonished not to join any cult, political group etc etc that would have us be blind followers or put our brains out to lunch but to study God’s word and know for ourselves what the Bible had to say (nice to have it written in the vernacular). All of that has helped me sidestep so much of the crazyness posing as gospel and false teachings that have infiltrated the church. Thank you Jesus

  27. Debi Calvet wrote:

    It helps me as I struggle with my faith.

    Never knew anyone who hasn’t struggled because it is a walk of faith, not certainty. We walk in light that is sometimes dim. And sometimes it is blinding, as in the times when my own failures have been made plain which made me want to give up in despair. Whether dim or blinding, we can waver or stumble, and we need to help each other up and and encourage one another. There are many here whose stories have encouraged me.

  28. Gram3 wrote:

    Never knew anyone who hasn’t struggled because it is a walk of faith, not certainty. We walk in light that is sometimes dim.

    “now we see through a glass darkly”?

  29. I throw my apologies into the ring too. Just when I think i’m over it, I hear the echoes from some new guy’s mouth, or on his blog, and I’m there again. I have resolved never to drink and press send again.

  30. So much conversation on blog has been tense and people have been hurt. One person indicated their head was going to explode and for good reason: they are worried about a loved one. If you are reading this, your loved one is in my prayers, and I am sorry for your hurt.

  31. I will also throw my apologies in the ring as well, to quote Janet V. above.
    I too get passionate at times because of all of the lives I have seen hurt by these movements in the churches – so lacking in love – and their abuses (including the seeming lack of concern in so many churches for the safety of children).

    I am so grateful to our international crowd of posters here, and their unique gifts and talents. I am a better person because of all of you. Thanks.

  32. @ numo:
    Perhaps. It might help prevent the threads from becoming visually oppressive to newcomers, besides us being weirdos sometimes.

  33. I think a major strength of the comments is the absence of a party line, unlike some (most?) blogs where nothing seriously challenging to the author’s views gets a look in.

    A weakness is name-calling regarding those being critiqued in an article – I think this can seriously undermine the effectiveness of the exposure of some quite appalling activities going on in the modern evangelical scene. People won’t listen if they think their personal ‘heroes’ are only being subjected to ad hominem attacks.

    Even in some controversial discussions, generally it seems to me people remain civil and respectful. This seems to go wrong when ideas being discussed are perceived to be insulting or are taken as personal insults, and the thread can then degenerate into acrimony. People who really are being insulting should be called out on it, but otherwise best to counter the ideas rather than criticise the person holding them.

    It’s a shame there is no post edit function; you read a post and immediately see something could be misconstrued or you have badly worded something, and it’s too late to change it. The word ‘bleat’ comes to mind. I assume there is not much that can be done about this – most comboxes run on these lines.

    A bit of humour goes a long way providing it is appropriate. I’ve long thought evangelicals can take themselves and their churchy activities a tad too seriously.

    Finally, perhaps the proverb A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger would make a good motto. Anyone who has ever experienced a Church Meeting in a Baptist church will identify with that. 🙂

  34. On the question of nested comments vs the single, long list that is currently in effect at TWW:

    Both approaches have their pros and cons, obviously, and a disadvantage they share is that a post with 500 comments will still have 500 comments however they are organised. IOW, you can still end up with a very long and off-putting page.

    An advantage of the current system is that you can automatically see the most recent comments. Also, replies to specific comments are hyperlinked directly to those comments. The difficulty with nested lists of comments is that they too can grow very long, and very diverse, with a lot of internal rabbit-trails, so that it can be just as hard to follow a conversation. If anything, the varying indentation can be even harder to decipher.

    I get why people like the idea of nested comments – and it’s usually very simple for blog owners to switch between formats – but on balance I prefer the current TWW layout.

  35. One has to be careful of something, so let me bring up the issue, while we will all be trying to be nicer.

    In the south (I keep saying that) there are some rules of engagement when it comes to talking to people. As a result of that, and in order to conform to ‘how you are supposed to do’ many have perfected the art of lying. Giving the impression that you agree, when you don’t. Giving the impression that you really know nothing about something, when if fact you do know. Making oblique and deceptive comments which deceive the one you intend to deceive but which are recognized by your friends as deception-thus making the object of the conversation look rather naive and even foolish. That sort of thing.

    We have words for this including but not limited to catty and tacky, and descriptive terms ranging all the way from sweet to ‘b’ for the people who do this. I don’t do this and don’t plan to take up the practice. So if you all notice that I say significantly less do not assume that I am angry or offended. I will simply be trying to be moderately civilized.

    But for a while I am out of here. I had cataract surgery about a month ago and that eye has not responded it’s very best to steroids to quell the inflammatory response. Staring at a screen makes it worse due to the light and also due to the fact that people do not blink as much with electronics as they do without it (so they say). So I am off the screen for a while for the sake of my eye. See you all in a bit, hopefully.

  36. Are you kidding? You built this blog on ad hominem attacks, motive judgments, speculations, and lack of kindness for those who disagree with you. But better shut down behavior like that from the little people in the comments? Smh.

  37. Reading some of the comments & seeing lots of apologies I thought I’d feedback that this has been one of the more civil places on the web. The problem with the broad brush approach is the innocent are tossed in with the guilty. Now when posting I’d always wonder if I’m an “offender” or not. Religion is a contentious issue and a core value to many. The written word can be taken very much out of context. But it’s easy to armchair quarterback when the blog owner takes the brunt of it. Guess it’s a bit like herding cats. Appreciate the hard work done by TWW and will continue to support as a reader. Peace out, everyone.

  38. Gram3 wrote:

    As a repeat offender on almost all counts, I offer an apology for comments I’ve made which crossed a line. Certainly I need an editor. This kind of forum can get heated, but the flip side of that is that it is not fake and contrived like some other sites that have comments but without the freedom that TWW offers. FWIW I learn the most from people with whom I probably disagree the most. My thanks to Dee, Deb, TGBTC, and all the commenters here.

    I meant to quote this comment…Please, I learn so much from you, I am an ardent admirer!

  39. Thanks, Deebs. If this is to be a place where people can find information and healing, it needs to walk a line between open expression (not suppression) of ideas but also keep the discourse respectful and safe for disagreement. It is a hard line to walk at times and I appreciate your care and concern in this area.

    I am guilty of long posts and will work on that.

  40. I am definitely guilty of commenting off topic and will henceforth merely mention to whomever that I’ve a comment for them at Open Discussion.

    Thanks, Dee. You and Deb are good peeps.

  41. Mork wrote:

    Are you kidding? You built this blog on ad hominem attacks, motive judgments, speculations, and lack of kindness for those who disagree with you. But better shut down behavior like that from the little people in the comments? Smh.

    I think you’re getting the Deebs mixed up with, I don’t know, say, SGM?

  42. I like the people here, our theological/political differences, our hurts and rough stories. A couple of times, I’ve worked my heart out to bring mercy back to these threads, when we’ve gone awry.

    It is a huge insult to be put into slow moderation under the very post that threatens it when we don’t treat each other properly, before I’ve even had a chance to comment.

    I cannot afford to work around being insulted. I’ve done that too much in my life. So I am gone.

    Makes me sad.

    You can post these comments or not, I don’t care.

  43. Oy — comment length: that’s mea the culpa-est. Will try to do better, but it’s just that sometimes those blog clog comments I post are just how they spill out, sit a spell, edit down, and go up.

  44. I try to post with as few words as possible. If not for this blog I would still be in the dark about American Christianity. Thanks Dee and Deb. I owe you a debt of gratitude.

  45. PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!!!

    I wish I could tell you all what is going on behind the scenes. We have been inundated with a number of stories that are deeply concerning. I have also been intervening in the needs of some folks on this blog to the point of having lunch with a well known physician yesterday who is going to help out one family. That ate up 4 hours of my time since I had to drive to another city. The pace has been unbelievable.

    The Guy Behind the Curtain saw the dustup the other night after I collapsed into bed. He was doing a great job of trying to slow things down. Some people were put into moderation just to slow down the conversation. It was not meant as in insult or commentary on anyone. He was just trying to get things under control.

    I am slowly trying to get people out of moderation since I know everyone understand what we are trying to do. However, that is easier said than done.

    GBTC would tell me not to even comment on what we do in moderation since there is a reason that we must not advertise how to get into moderation since spammers and weird people will try to get around it.

    When we started this blog, we had no idea that so many people would be visiting here. We are flailing around trying to get this all figured out. Please bear with us.

    If I was irritated with anyone, you would have heard about it. So, if you are in moderation, which is NOT SLOW MODERATION, hang in there. I will get to it.

    Most of all-pray for us! We really need it right now.

  46. Parice wrote:

    I cannot afford to work around being insulted. I’ve done that too much in my life. So I am gone.

    Please read the preceding comment. You are NOT being insulted. I am so sorry that you felt that way. It was not intended.

  47. I have a tendency to be very blunt and sometimes people misunderstand what I say. I probably like to joke around (off topic) too much, too. will be more careful/ reserved in the future.
    I apologize if anyone has taken anything I said as a personal insult – I didn’t mean it to be.

  48. I’ve only commented infrequently on recent threads, and I guess I’ve probably been guilty of being one of the few people having a conversation in a thread, though usually that’s when a thread was dying off anyway.

    I’ve found I have a lot more passion for some topics here than others, so while I usually do read, I don’t always comment.

    I did get so overwhelemed at one point I left even looking at the blog for about a year, but I think the people who grieved me are gone now, and probably I am stronger.

    I always do try to get along with people and be respectful, but I am also passionate. Perhaps that causes problems at times. So apologies on my end for any problems I have caused.

    But I feel I’ve learned a lot from the interactions here and that they’ve been valuable.

    Anyway, I’ll do my best 🙂

  49. @ Parice:

    You might have gone into slow moderation because your name seems spelled different than usual, if you are who I think you are.

    If a name and email don’t match as a known entity, the system tags you as a new commentor and you gi to automatic moderation. Check your name and email.

  50. @ Parice:
    Bridget got this right. You have spelled your name differently and that is why you went into moderation. All new commenters get moderated.

    Just so you know, I was just put into moderation but I can release myself.

  51. I could be wrong, (Deebs let me know) but I think the concern is not the occasionally long comment, but the consistently long comments that repeat information we have read dozens of times on many threads. That is what wears me down.

  52. Leslie wrote:

    Thank you Dee and Deb. I had begun to think my comments were irrevelant against the other wordy insistent commenters. I have wanted to be part of the dialog but am unable to go word for word . Somewhat intimidating.

    Agree with this 100% … often feels like a closed group where new commenters are essentially ignored. Walk a fine line, when you feel ignored in “church community” and try to comment/share in this context and again feel ignored … then why try. Especially when many here seem to communicate that they empathize with the “Nones” and “Dones” … maybe, maybe not.

  53. dee wrote:

    Please bear with me.

    Just a suggestion on moderation; just as Moses couldn’t judge every case in Israel and had to delegate, couldn’t you find a couple of trusted volunteers to take this off your hands? This ought not to be a distraction from the really important stuff, or something that wears you out or becomes too time-consuming.

    Just my two cents’ worth (that’s Euros, btw).

  54. As one who primarily comments on a particular secondary topic (Bible – science interactions) in a way that can provoke some not always civil discussion I want to thank Deebs for maintaining an open and very mannerly blog. Acts of abuse obviously counter to core Christian values should be called out especially when they can be traced to celebrity Christians. I also observe that reader comments made to highly ideological, but not well supported or argued, comments are and indeed should be strongly answered. Self policing does not appear to be one of the stronger attributes of organized Christianity so it must be done in venues apart from the organized church. TWW is a fine example of this function.

  55. refugee wrote:

    In other news, SSB’s Twitter feed had a link to an article about the pedophile that Doug Wilson orchestrated a courtship and marriage for:
    http://www.correctionsone.com/corrections/articles/9369232-Idaho-sex-offender-allowed-to-return-home-with-child/

    May wrote:

    Doug Wilson arranged for a woman in his church to court and marry a paedophile. Now her child is in danger and can’t be looked after by his dad. Words fail me.

    This woman was effectively brainwashed by Doug Wilson and his patriarchy cult. I can’t even.

  56. Deebs,

    Have y’all considered adding a forum? That could be a place to take off-topic conversations. Also, I’m sorry for follow the rabbit trail above. I feel like a twit.

  57. dee wrote:

    Just so you know, I was just put into moderation but I can release myself.

    I went into moderation yesterday using my iPhone. It's a weird feeling…

  58.     __

    “Quality Control?”

    hmmm…

    “The blog caretaker was crucified for sleeping at her last post,
    They’re refusing to be pacified,ii it’s her they blame the most,
    The watchdog’s got rabies, the foreman’s got fleas,
    And everyone’s concerned about 501(c)3 ‘Religious Industrial Complex Disease'(tm).

    There’s panic on the blog, tongues are ties in knots,
    Some come out in sympathy, some come out in spots,
    Some blame the management, some the commenters,
    And everybody knows it’s the 501(c)3 ‘Religious Industrial Complex Disease(tm)’.[1]

    …the walls are coming down?!?

    …next ‘abuse’ patient, Pleeeease!

    RU a victim of 501(c)3 ‘Religious Industrial Complex Disease(tm)’?

    Could b.

    “And many will come in My name seeking to mis-lead… -Jesus

    Yep!

    (sadface)

    Beware!

    ATB

    Sopy
    __
    [1] Lyrics adapted for parody; Dire Straits: “Industrial Disease”. 
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7rWuc5kar3Y

    🙂

  59. I am sorry, Dee. Very sorry. It was completely my fault. I know you don’t need this, not one bit. I apologize to the commenters, too.

    As Bridget noted, I mis-wrote my online name after I turned on my computer this morn.

    By way of explanation, earlier this morn, I had a phone conversation with wealthy Christian relatives who require me to humiliate myself in order to receive their help. I am disabled with bad case of PTSD (as you can see arg) and auto-immune disease.

    It is very difficult to stay gracious with these relatives and this morn, I left the conversation feeling more hurt than usual. Then, because I was in that space, it appeared to me that the same thing was happening elsewhere, and I couldn’t bear it. I do know better than to do anything when I am in such an emotional vulnerable spot. Sheesh

    Once again, I am sorry. I wish I could give Dee a big box of her favorite chocolates and a ride to her fav park with her pugs.

  60. To relieve Dee & Deb it might be wise to recruit some trusted commentors as comment moderators. Just a suggestion.

    🙂

  61. @ GovPappy:
    I think you should request that, but you need to ask the Deebs. I have nothing to do with the tunningmof this blog. The Derbs and GBTC are the folks to talk to.

  62. Bridget wrote:

    the consistently long comments that repeat information we have read dozens of times on many threads. That is what wears me down.

    Yes.
    But this is, by and large, a grace-full place.

  63. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Oy — comment length:

    If you confess to the length then I’ll have to confess to judging motives. In the recent post on Julie a late commenter aggravated me, your comments although longer stuck to the issues. You put me to shame.

  64. I’m praying for the two of you, Dee and Deb. May the truth of Matthew 11:28-30 become very real to you. Although some times and topics may impact you strongly, I think overall this ministry should not be overwhelming. It should be as much of a blessing to the two of you as it is to those of us who come here to read, to learn, and to relate to others.
    Thank you, WW team, for all that you do.

  65. @ Arce:
    I’m missing something or misunderstanding. I don’t think that is what the Bible actually does say. That’s what the authoritarians say that it says. Definitely the question is what does a particular portion of the Bible mean, and along with that come the questions surrounding how we figure that out and then apply it. I have the feeling I’ve totally missed a point…

  66. Ramesh wrote:

    To relieve Dee & Deb it might be wise to recruit some trusted commentors as comment moderators. Just a suggestion.

    Several moderators work well at Libby Anne’s Love Joy Feminism site. The trick would be to find competent stable willing people.

  67. Patrice wrote:

    Then, because I was in that space, it appeared to me that the same thing was happening elsewhere, and I couldn’t bear it.

    Been there, done that. I’m sure we can all relate to this to some degree of otber.!

  68. Dee & Deb – I don’t comment very often because sometimes I feel like it get lost in all of the responses. However, I read every single post and I so much appreciate all that you do. Please make sure you’re taking time to take care of yourselves. Thus is hard stuff and self-care is very important.

  69. Jack wrote:

    Reading some of the comments & seeing lots of apologies I thought I’d feedback that this has been one of the more civil places on the web. The problem with the broad brush approach is the innocent are tossed in with the guilty. Now when posting I’d always wonder if I’m an “offender” or not. Religion is a contentious issue and a core value to many. The written word can be taken very much out of context. But it’s easy to armchair quarterback when the blog owner takes the brunt of it. Guess it’s a bit like herding cats. Appreciate the hard work done by TWW and will continue to support as a reader. Peace out, everyone.

    LOL, Jack. Or do I mean LOL-wince? Is there an internet acronym for that? I was always the kid who felt guilty even when not the most remotely connected. I remember sitting in assembly in Junior High while the principal was sternly scolding whoever had vandalized something-or-other at the school. I didn’t know any vandals, I would never consider vandalism myself (even the mildest of graffiti on the underside of a desk, much less leaving a wad of gum under a desk or chair), and yet I felt horribly guilty, like he was talking directly to me.

    Guess that capacity in me made me ripe for a cult.

  70. dee wrote:

    Most of all-pray for us! We really need it right now.

    Praying.

    Appreciate so much all you (you-all, including TGBTC) do. You may never know how many have fumbled their way to freedom because they stumbled across one of the blog posts on TWW, and went on from there to understanding, and then to taking action to break free from brainwashing and programming and bondage.

    Thank you. Fervently. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

  71. Jack wrote:

    I thought I’d feedback that this has been one of the more civil places on the web.

    I agree.
    I used to interact with a blog that was supposed to be civil between comp and egal but the blog owner had to let it go because it became increasingly difficult for him to maintain.

    I like having some place to hash out some of these difficult topics.
    I appreciate the work that goes on here even though I find I have much less time to engage in the debate.

  72. Bill M wrote:

    In the recent post on Julie a late commenter aggravated me, your comments although longer stuck to the issues.

    For what it’s worth, even at the time on that particular thread, it was on my mind that I don’t expect my comments were necessarily going to make a difference for the person I’m responding to, but they might make a significant difference for someone who’s new to The Wartburg Watch, or to the particular issue on that thread.

    So, I’m aware that our comments on what may be “the same old topic” to us can still help educate a whole new wave of survivors … regardless of whether we’re responding to what seem legit questions or understandable emotional reactions or apparent trolling or whatever. It’s just the nature of the abuse system to keep spitting out new victims. So, commenting with others in mind is all part of the commitment that I continue to see so many survivors making, which is something along the lines of, “If I ever get through this, I’ll try to provide for others what I didn’t have myself” or “Wow — what others shared with me, I want to make sure I share with others so they get the resources and support I know we all need.”

  73. refugee wrote:

    brad/futuristguy wrote:
    So, how was that for shorter?

    Brad, you made me laugh. Thanks. Needed it.

    Heh-heh … my brain is basically wired to write encyclopedias. So, I think it’s a miracle that I can — *occasionally* — write tweets. And they typically are exactly 140 characters so I can cram something dense and intense into what’s basically a long bumper sticker.

    As to humor, wowzers. If I didn’t have develop an ability to laugh and get some of those ever-needed endorphines going, I don’t know how I would’ve survived a full 17 out of the last 40 years in 5 truly sick “ministry” systems that sucked the life and laughter right out of me.

  74. Might try again wrote:

    Leslie wrote:
    Thank you Dee and Deb. I had begun to think my comments were irrevelant against the other wordy insistent commenters. I have wanted to be part of the dialog but am unable to go word for word . Somewhat intimidating.

    Agree with this 100% … often feels like a closed group where new commenters are essentially ignored. Walk a fine line, when you feel ignored in “church community” and try to comment/share in this context and again feel ignored … then why try. Especially when many here seem to communicate that they empathize with the “Nones” and “Dones” … maybe, maybe not.

    That makes sense. I lurked for quite awhile before I started commenting, but I remember that feeling of my comments getting lost, or my being invisible, because nobody seemed to notice my comments.

    Welcome, BTW. If you’ve been commenting all along, just ignore this paragraph — I dyslexically mix up names on occasion.

  75. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    For what it’s worth, even at the time on that particular thread, it was on my mind that I don’t expect my comments were necessarily going to make a difference for the person I’m responding to, but they might make a significant difference for someone who’s new to [the issues]

    I’ve been asked why I engage some commenters that obviously won’t be persuaded. And it is for this same reason.
    It is good for newbie lurkers to see that there ARE good, reasonable, logical, sane (etc.) responses to some the harmful doctrines facing contemporary Christianity.

  76. refugee wrote:

    Thank you. Fervently. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

    A hearty amen to that. I first came here because I wondered if Gramp3 and I were the only ones noticing the dysfunction in churches and if we were the crazy ones. Obviously, both might be true. 🙂

  77. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    For what it’s worth, even at the time on that particular thread, it was on my mind that I don’t expect my comments were necessarily going to make a difference for the person I’m responding to, but they might make a significant difference for someone who’s new to The Wartburg Watch, or to the particular issue on that thread.

    Yes! Yes! That’s it, exactly!
    Some of the debates between Gram3, for example, and defenders of subjugation, may have been incredibly frustrating for the participants, but I learned so much, and looked up scriptures and Greek words and cross-references and cultural/historical notes and considered context.

    Thank you, TWW debaters, for taking the time to type out your thoughts and references, for maintaining a civil and patient (well, mostly patient) tone, and for keeping this a mostly safe place. (I say “mostly” because we are all human and prone to misunderstanding, weariness, feeling triggered, etc.).

  78. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    As to humor, wowzers. If I didn’t have develop an ability to laugh and get some of those ever-needed endorphines going, I don’t know how I would’ve survived a full 17 out of the last 40 years in 5 truly sick “ministry” systems that sucked the life and laughter right out of me.

    Amen to that. We went recently to see the movie Spy — even though I figured my dh would grumble through the whole thing. But he didn’t, he laughed! And so I was able to relax and laugh, too. It was wonderful. Very funny movie. Just beware that there is a *lot* of “language” and a number of sight gags that remind me of middle school locker room humor. We were talking about the movie just today, and couldn’t remember a character’s names, but everyone know immediately who was meant when someone called him “the F-guy”.

  79. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Heh-heh … my brain is basically wired to write encyclopedias.

    For which I am thankful. Your analyses are immensely helpful. Also I think your point about what some might consider rehashing is exactly right. We never know who might just be tuning in or what search strings might lead them to TWW. That’s how I came here, though I cannot remember which dysfunction brought me here first. That is also an important thing for the infrequent commenters to remember. You never know how what you say might help or encourage someone else.

  80. Guys, can I say a few things. The Deebs are overwhelmed. Dee is about 4 months behind on her email and some people are angry she is not responding. She never imagined or expected that this blog would go the direction that it did. I think she’s unique as she has the theological knowledge to write it and carry it off. Some of the stories you guys read about she is still working, and she has been helping them. When I showed up here as a militant agnostic/atheist she wanted to talk and we did. She was one of the few people that had the intellectual knowledge to engage me. I laugh about this because I popped up at a church that was doing a complementarian series in the DC area and the pastor couldn’t handle my questions about the problem of evil, but Dee could. I get a good laugh that a female could out teach a male pastor any day.

    Here’s the problem…she needs help. They both do. Deb works on her farm outside Raleigh and that is a full time job. Dee has a family and issues playing out there. She has aging parents she is dealing with and her children. She gets up and starts working on her blog and answering emails. This has become a full time job for her. And there are many topics she would like to explore but she hasn’t had the time. For example Dee has wanted to write about Campus Outreach. She also was interested in writing about PJ Smyth and CLC. Do to the challenges she has that’s why I have written articles like this:

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/from-cj-mahaney-to-pj-smyth-at-covenant-life-church-some-thoughts-from-an-outsider/

    Much of this stuff needs to be talked about and the needs are great and there is not enough manpower behind it. This is part of the reason why I want to bring on a couple of other writers at my blog. To help carry the burden and can write about fundamentalism, Neo-Calvinism and atheism/secularism. I never would have imagined that my blog would grow to where it is. I’ve been amazed by who has contacted me and the people who have emailed me. I write my blog while working a full time job of 40+ hours a week. Plus I have a 2 hour commute in Washington, D.C. traffic and working out at the gym. I feel the pressure and I am grateful that I am not in the Deebs shoes. She feels responsible and loves all the people who cross paths with her.

    I would just ask to please be patient. If you heard some of the stories going on behind the scenes you would be shocked. I heard a little about the 9 Marks Church she is going to write about in the southern US. It makes The Village Church situation with church discipline seem tame by comparison. Please be patient with her.

  81. Eagle wrote:

    It makes The Village Church situation with church discipline seem tame by comparison. Please be patient with her.

    I am grieved. Grieved. Words fail me.

    Eagle, thanks for taking the time, both here and on your blog.

    I can’t imagine how soul-shredding it must be, to take on all this pain. All those years I was suffering silently, I had no idea that I wasn’t the only one, that it wasn’t *me* but the system. All these stories coming out… every time I sign onto TWW I pray for strength and courage, wisdom and discernment and protection for the Deebs and TGBTC.

    And another 9Marks church, and “tame by comparison”… does it seem like the pace of revelation is quickening? Or is that just a false impression on my part.

  82. Wise and astute post, DEE. I don’t post much and when I do I always sound snarky. Sorry, will try to do better.

  83. @ hanni:

    Oh hanni. Sometimes I have felt like the queen of snark.
    But we have little left after some of the things we have dealt with and been through.

    “Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.”
    ~Fyodor Dostoevski

  84. Dee, or GBTC, what would it take to get discussion forums set up here? That way, every conversation wouldn’t have to be on a comment thread. SSB has a private forum, so I wonder if Julie Anne could give some pointers on setting that up?

  85. Just wanted to pop in here to say thank you for this post. There are certain subtopics I avoid because I don’t want to get piled on.

    To Dee & Deb, thanks for all you do; I know it’s been increasingly difficult. I hope you’ll never stop blogging, for as long as you’re able.

  86. Elizabeth Lee wrote:

    Have y’all considered adding a forum? That could be a place to take off-topic conversations.

    XianJaneway wrote:

    Dee, or GBTC, what would it take to get discussion forums set up here?

    There is an Open Discussion forum. The link is to the far right inside the black line underneath the Wartburg Watch pic.

  87. @ XianJaneway:
    The thing is, it would require moderatoion, just like the comments here do. That’s a huge investment of time and resources (tevh and personal). It would require a dedicated volunteer crew as well.

  88. @ Patrice:

    Yes. Which is yet another part of the site that needs to be watched by folks who are already spread too thin. I wish there was a simple solution to (ed.) all of this, but…

  89. Dee and Deb, Thank you for all the hard work you put into this. I know you give all of yourself and more. The topics in themselves can be overwhelming emotionally. I will pray for strength and that God will provide some help for both of you, and maybe some needed rest!

  90. Thanks for this Deebs. I know after 119 some odd comments, this one will probably get lost, but I just do want to reiterate how frustrating it can be to come to a blog post a bit late and see that the comments section has 1)debased itself into a two-sided argument and/or 2) trailed off into something totally unrelated to the original post. This happens on MOST blogs out there, and if you/I try to interject a comment harking back to the original post, it gets ignored.

    Anyways, Thanks Dee and Deb for this post.

  91. In other news (and, incidentally, in a demonstration of Russell’s Paradox) I have decided not to announce any other news.

    I hope this is helpful.

  92. Dan from Georgia wrote:

    I just do want to reiterate how frustrating it can be to come to a blog post a bit late and see that [… some feckin eejit has announced “Other News” that goes…] into something totally unrelated to the original post.

    Yeeessss… sorry about that.

  93. Dan from Georgia wrote:

    …it can be to come to a blog post a bit late and see that the comments section has 1)debased itself into a two-sided argument and/or 2) trailed off into something totally unrelated to the original post. This happens on MOST blogs out there, and if you/I try to interject a comment harking back to the original post, it gets ignored.

    I have been guilty of 2). We have so much fun sometimes! It’s like getting together for a good meal. But we will make use of the Open Discussion board.

  94. Deebs. Thank you for all you do. This is one of the most civil ‘religious discussion’ sites out there that still allows desenting comments.

    I know I haven’t commented for a long time. It’s primarily due to a very rough summer of surviving a black widow bite, taking care of my mom’s affairs when she died and still not missing and work….oy.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you (and you are many) who contributed to the fund to help cover my mom’s cremation and memorial. Nearly half of the funds donated came from you guys. My sister was blown away and it touched me deeply. You all are family. I have been reading and trying to get caught up on the comments. I learn so much from you all that I don’t want to miss anything.

    Oh, and Patrice? Don’t you dare go anywhere. I would miss you terribly. 🙂

  95. dee wrote:

    You do not need to apologize. Its all OK. Just glad that you are here.

    Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Oh, and Patrice? Don’t you dare go anywhere. I would miss you terribly.

    Let me echo the sentiment Patrice, we’d all be the poorer without you here.

  96. Thanks Nick and Velour. Wasn’t trying to be a downer, but just wanted to vent a bit! I like this site!

  97. a lot of blogs are saying that commenters are acting out too much . . . my theory is that it’s the very bad influence of DONALD TRUMP in the news . . . confrontational, outspoken, name-calling, argumentative, insulting, yada,yada,yada . . .

    yep, it’s too much Donald Trump in the media

  98. One of my favorite places to visit on the Internet, is John Scalzi’s website, Whatever. He has a very active commentariat, but he also polices his comment threads vigorously. When he puts up a blog post that is likely to attract trolls, he has his famous Mallet of Loving Correction warmed and ready, and he is not shy about using it. The result is a place that even wannabe trolls will behave, since it is well known that trollish comments will be deleted, often with a snarky comment by JS in its place.

    A well-policed blog is a pleasant place to visit, so don’t be shy about bringing the ban hammer down on the trolls.

  99. Deb and Deebs – I will be keeping you in my prayers. A lot of us have been going through hard times, and I think this helps takes our mind off of it. I know it does for me. We buried my mother-in-law 2 weeks ago and in a little less than 3 weeks I’m having a big foot surgery. But by reading this blog and others similar it gives me things to pray about and to realize that my problems just aren’t that big when put beside others.

  100. dee wrote:

    @ Patrice:
    You do not need to apologize. Its all OK. Just glad that you are here.

    I am relieved. Thanks Dee.

  101. Bridget wrote:

    Been there, done that. I’m sure we can all relate to this to some degree of otber.!

    Muff Potter wrote:

    Let me echo the sentiment Patrice

    Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Oh, and Patrice? Don’t you dare go anywhere. I would miss you terribly.

    Your kind words make my shenanigans worth it…almost.

    Thanks

  102. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    I know I haven’t commented for a long time. It’s primarily due to a very rough summer of surviving a black widow bite, taking care of my mom’s affairs when she died and still not missing and work….oy.

    I have missed you here. I hope things are more routine for you now (a spider bite?!) and you can spend time resting up. Your mother’s death must have been a real mixed bag.

  103. Patrice wrote:

    I have missed you here. I hope things are more routine for you now (a spider bite?!) and you can spend time resting up. Your mother’s death must have been a real mixed bag.

    It was. It is interesting that I found myself able to grieve the good. I am at peace with her and she is free of all her pain, both physical (rheumatoid arthritis) and mental/emotional. I do look forward now to seeing her again.

    We just got through moving my dad into a nursing home (his idea, thankfully, as his memory and strength are fading exponentially). But still another thing, plus being moved in my work position from one I enjoyed to one that is very stressful for me. Ah, well. This, too, shall pass.

    I am regaining some equalibrium and think I might have the reserve energy to comment more again.

  104. GHN wrote:

    A well-policed blog is a pleasant place to visit, so don’t be shy about bringing the ban hammer down on the trolls.

    I was a more recent commenter so maybe I didn’t see the worst of it but I didn’t see a lot of trolling. Most of the folks were well intentioned. If they were wordy or exclusive wandering off topic, there didn’t appear to be malice behind it. To be honest I didn’t see much “toxic” here and think the hammer came down a little hard. Again behind the scenes there may be much more going on. I love the blog and will continue to read but my commenting days are done. Peace.

  105. Jack wrote:

    I love the blog and will continue to read but my commenting days are done.

    Hi Jack,

    I sincerely hope that you will comment again soon! I really enjoy your comments and insights and I have found them helpful. Lots of regular posters have been put into moderation here lately — including our own blog Queens — as they try to keep this blog a safe place for all.

    They do a fantastic job, so does the The Guy Behind the Curtain, and none of us should take it personally.

  106. Endnote:
    TWW is far and away one of the safest ixtian blogs in cyberspace. We have true diversity here sans warfare because we police ourselves, and this in my opinion, is the key to TWW’s success.
    Don’t get me wrong, prayer is a great and wonderful thing for any community, but I’m also convinced that the Almighty expects his humans to do their parts too.

  107. I’m a lurker. Truly enjoy this. One more suggestion. A like button might reduce the plethora of “I agree” posts. It would also be an efficient expression for people who can’t post comments well, but would like to give a public “thumbs up”.

  108. Jack wrote:

    . I love the blog and will continue to read but my commenting days are done. Peace.

    Why are your commenting days over? Your perspective is valuable.

    FWIW I had never seen a comment from GHN on this blog before. And you are correct about trolls on this blog.

  109. @ jjuulliiee:
    There is a reason that it would not be such a good idea on this blog but I can’t remember what it is. GBTC explained it to me one time. Maybe you could just add a smiley face t a reply?

  110. I am not a frequent commenter, but I do read often. Thank you for this post. I can sense your heart in it. I notice on nearly every blog I regularly read that commenting can be dangerous business. I lament the death of civil discourse and long for it to be resurrected.

    Part of the reason I don’t comment often is because I have been ganged up on more than once, and it is not a good feeling (not on this blog, but elsewhere). The issues you deal with are sensitive and personal; I applaud your faithfulness and dedication to keeping this a safe place. Someone mentioned adding a Like button; I second that idea!

  111. jjuulliiee wrote:

    A like button might reduce the plethora of “I agree” posts. It would also be an efficient expression for people who can’t post comments well, but would like to give a public “thumbs up”.

    I agree!