Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Every Now and Then, but Rarely

We have to put someone’s IP address or e-mail address on a list that recognizes that address and holds the comment for approval. (The same filter sometimes catches some of our regular commenters unintentionally.) However, this post is not about our community members who somehow get snagged in the filter but about another group. If you get assigned to the moderation list you will know because we have been in conversation with you. Why do I have to do this? I thought it might be worth your knowing what happens at times behind the scenes. I confess it is these commenters who wear my patience thin.
Here’s a pattern in some commenters:
1. Aggressive comments are posted.
2. I ask the person to be more reasonable and less accusatory, caustic or volatile.
3. They respond back that they are reasonable and that I’m biased, often making accusations about me.
4. They post more aggressive comments.
5. I delete the aggressive comments and notify them.
6. They get aggressive about how they are reasonable and not aggressive.
Here are some facts. We get about 6000 hits per day on this site; we get about 3000 unique visitors per day, sometimes more and sometimes less; about 5% of the readers make comments — but I can’t quite figure out the percentage with any confidence.
Maybe one person every three months raises my hackles; maybe my hackles are raised because I’m a teacher.
Yes, I have to monitor the conversation; yes, I monitor according to my own lights and according to what I think is appropriate for this BlogCommunity. Yes, we have established a community tone. When someone doesn’t fit that tone, it stands out to me. I could be wrong. But I have to monitor the site and I’m proud of how this site has operated.
We have plenty of disagreements on this site, but it is a kind of disagreement that concerns us at times.
Added later in the day: The guiding principle is this — we are sitting over coffee and chatting. Talk on this blog the way you would with us over coffee. (If you shout at us, we’ll all be embarrassed and the cafe will kick us out — or you can listen to us when we suggest we calm down a bit.)

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posted November 8, 2007 at 3:19 am

Well, you do a good job! It’s allways interesting read the posts and the comments :-)

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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted November 8, 2007 at 7:15 am

Scot, your blog is like being invited to your table. You are a gracious host who has everyones best interest clearly in mind. If this means asking someone to leave the table, that is never easy, but sometimes appropriate. With the level of traffic you receive, I would say you are doing an exemplary job.

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Andie Piehl

posted November 8, 2007 at 7:20 am

Thanks, Scot. What keeps me coming back is that I know I’ll get to hear many sides of a discussion without the hatefulness that oftentimes arises.

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Bill Van Loon

posted November 8, 2007 at 7:50 am

It’s a necessity if you want people to visit and interact. Thank you for doing it. It means you care for your readers and responders. Keep it up.

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posted November 8, 2007 at 8:11 am

Thank you for such an incredible devotion to this blog. Granted, I don’t get to read every post seeing as how post forty-five times a day! But what I do get to read, I do love love loooove.
By the by, I’m about halfway through Embracing Grace. Good stuff.

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posted November 8, 2007 at 9:00 am

Hmm. I completely get what you’re saying, Scot. I operate under one rule: If I wouldn’t say it out loud, odds are I shouldn’t be saying it in an internet forum or blog posting. It’s another way, for me, of watching what I’ve said for the good of all concerned. You’re doing an awesome job with this, Scot.

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posted November 8, 2007 at 9:04 am

Scot, it is you yard, your bat and your ball. If we can’t play nice then we can go home. I tell my sons all the time manners matter.

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posted November 8, 2007 at 9:30 am

I’m one of the lurkers. Just wanted to say thank you for the community you’ve built here. I really look forward to the time I spend reading the posts and the conversation that follows.

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posted November 8, 2007 at 9:31 am

Thank you for your work here. Selfishly, I often post because I am trying to find my voice in some of these important subjects. Before the days of the Internet, opportunities like this would have existed rarely outside of the university. I do spend some time in class and with seminarians, but much of my time is obligated to the market place. From that perspective, a blog like this is an embarrassment of riches in terms of opportunity to discuss, learn, think, express. From the bottom of my heart: thank you.

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Mark E

posted November 8, 2007 at 9:53 am

Thanks for what you have built here. Many of these things I cannot raise in some circles from my tradition because of exactly what you have just posted.
Safety is so important in respectful dialogue. It doesn’t mean that we have to waffle on everything without conviction. These types of dialogues are what I thoroughly enjoyed in seminary and missed until the last few years.
In Christ,
Mark E

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posted November 8, 2007 at 10:01 am

I can’t keep up with everything on here, either. But, I do definitely notice a difference between the conversations here and unmonitored ones elsewhere. Quite frankly I’m not sure how you manage to write all of this, keep up with the comments, and assumedly have a life away from your computer.

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posted November 8, 2007 at 10:03 am

I enjoy this blog because most of the posts are open-ended invitation for participation. I don’t comment very often, but I learn a great deal from the comments of others. Since I don’t want to be simply told what to think, this format is ideal for exploring new ideas. The divergent opinions help me understand the issue from more than my own perspective, which is limited.
I was telling my husband recently how much I enjoy the discussions on Jesus Creed because of the tone. Thank you for providing a safe place to stretch our minds and hearts. And thanks to those who take time to write the thoughtful comments.

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posted November 8, 2007 at 10:20 am

I’m one of the daily readers and the only comment I’ve posted had to do with bbq in Houston. But I can’t tell you how much I love this site and how often I refer people in my community to it. You all do an incredible job of keeping the behind the scene stuff “behind the scene.” Quite often things that are discussed here have an incredible way of showing up during weeks when that subject is what I’m preparing for Sunday. Thanks again for your efforts.

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Bryan L

posted November 8, 2007 at 10:22 am

Scot, as a long time reader I really appreciate your blog. I used to comment a lot more in the past but I realized after a while that there were so many like minded people here who shared the same views as I but are able to state them more eloquently than I am so I decided to just lurk most of the time.
But what I appreciate more than all the quality posts that you have is your willingness to interact with others in a meaningful way, including those you disagree with. All the time you put into this blog with your posts and interaction is what makes it one of the best blogs, if not the best.
Great job.
Also I feel it is important to say since we are on the topic that when others come on here who don’t agree (in a civil way) with the majority opinion on this blog, I hope we wouldn’t make them feel unwelcome or like we would rather they leave and go elsewhere. And I hope we wouldn’t automatically assume they are shouting or being belligerent just because they disagree.
I know I have experienced that on other blogs where I disagreed with the majority opinion and people just jump all over you and take personal shots at you and it’s a pretty crappy feeling to be treated that way and have no one speak out against it. If we see that happening I think it is important, as those in the majority opinion, to speak out against it instead of letting those people who are trying to respectfully disagree and carry on a civil conversation to fend for themselves. If not then they just leave with the impression that everyone felt that way towards them even if it was only one person doing it since no one else spoke out against it.
Anyway great job Scott and keep up the great work.
Bryan L

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posted November 8, 2007 at 11:07 am

i’m one of those lurkers as well and i must echo many here and say that i really appreciate the overall tone and feel of this community as displayed in the comments section.
Scot, you do an incredible job on this site and it has become a daily read as well as an invaluable resource on the ebs and flows of the larger Christian community.
thanks so much for the hard work, it really is appreciated.

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posted November 8, 2007 at 11:07 am

I always wondered why your site was the most gracious that I visit. I just thought that your reflection of God’s grace just influenced everyone else (that’s not in jest).

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posted November 8, 2007 at 11:09 am

With a forum like this one it is difficult to maintain balance. It would not be a forum if everyone always agreed, but no one would comment if they feared being attacked! So, Scot, thank you for this safe and fruitful place.

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Greg Drummond

posted November 8, 2007 at 11:39 am

I love the example of having coffee at a cafe. That is completely how I feel “listening” and responding to my blog. I often invite others to listen into the conversation.

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Randy Holl

posted November 8, 2007 at 1:02 pm

I appreciate this blog precisely because it models a church body in fellowship. (within the limits of the internet) A body requires some discipline and I’m glad to see you have provided that by the exclusion of those who refuse to abide by caring and civility without condemning and vilifying them. The internet is a vicious place, perhaps even worse on some “Christian” sites, because the approach to truth for some takes on the mantle of judgement, condemnation, sarcasm and condescension…all of outside of the bounds of Christian relationship and hidden in the bowels of anonymity. Even here, people misunderstand and miscommunicate, but dialogue takes place–and Christ is honored. Also–Thanks to the brothers and sisters whose comments encourage others in their journey with Jesus.

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posted November 8, 2007 at 2:04 pm

I agree with the other posters, Scot — good job filtering. “Agree to disagree” is a difficult ideal to carry out. Overall, I appreciate the spirit of these conversations

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posted November 8, 2007 at 2:06 pm

I, like Bryan L, spend far more time lurking and for the same reason. But I too want commend this effort — which is primarily made by you Scot — of investing in Christian community and fellowship. I have been a pastor for more than two decades and the tone you have set, is EXACTLTY the tone I believe Jesus has set for the Body, and the tone I have sought to influence in our local congregation. You’ve even taken the time, on a couple of occasions, to interact personally with a nobody. Me. I appreciate your work Scot, your effort, and more than anything your heart.

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pam w

posted November 8, 2007 at 2:33 pm

Scot – In agreement with all the posts here, and want to underscore how important this space is in Christendom today. As we have morphed to 33,380 denominations (google figure) in the Body, it is rare to find civil discourse on the important issues facing us on the planet.
This dialogue is deep and informative (something not happening often on the internet), BECAUSE of the hard work you do guiding, crafting questions, monitoring and hosting.

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posted November 8, 2007 at 3:00 pm

Thank you for providing this wonderful resource. I have felt blessed to be able to share and question here and welcome even though I am in a theological group of round about 1. The civil tone of discourse is to your credit (although I thought that everybody was just naturally civil without your prompting). Hope I never have to be called in the principal’s office :)

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posted November 8, 2007 at 4:21 pm

I am amazed you read the comments. You can write more and read more in an hour then I am convinced I could accomplish in a day. Thanks for letting us in.

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Scot McKnight

posted November 8, 2007 at 4:40 pm

I’ve kept my eye on the comments on this post all day long. What I thought would be a helpful explanation of some of the behind the scenes commotion has become instead a nice day of encouragement. While I do write and post all these comments, it is you that makes this site what it is … as you know, I can sit here with my coffee every day and listen to fine folks have at it over all kinds of topics.

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jeremy bouma

posted November 8, 2007 at 10:28 pm

I can honestly say that this space has had a huge impact on my spiritual journey and evolution as a minister. thanks for creating it, maintaining it, and keeping the peace. you’re a rock star, Scot 😉

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posted November 8, 2007 at 11:57 pm

I am amazed at the traffic here…my goodness! It is a great thing, friends, that we have the chance to come to this fine table and share diverse “virtual” coffee (tea? cocoa?) with folks who, mostly, want to learn and share with others who want to learn and share. Sometimes we get folks who want to jerk our chains just to mess with us… that’s life, eh? 8) One thing we learn here is it’s not just about what happens to you…it’s how you choose to respond that makes or breaks you.
I join the long line of those who give their thanks to you, Scot, for starting such fine conversations and inviting us to be your friends along the journey. And for leading us by your fine example of humility and transparency and wonder…I am a better person–in all ways–because of the time I have spent here and the freedom to struggle with my “stuff” that this community encourages.
Jesus Creeders, hooah!

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Craig Querfeld

posted November 9, 2007 at 8:06 am

Thanks for taking the time to keeping up this blog. I appreciate tying to keep up with the theological and ecclesiological issues in the States while living here in Peru.
As I keep telling my church planting team, “A good intellectual argument is good, but a caustic emotional outrage hurts the team and does not allow us to accomplish what God has called us to do.”
?Que Dios de siga bendiciendo!
May God continue to bless you and your efforts.
Craig Querfeld

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Craig Querfeld

posted November 9, 2007 at 8:29 am

Typo in 28
?Que Dios TE siga bendiciendo!

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Llama Momma

posted November 10, 2007 at 8:02 am

I’m also a regular lurker, and really appreciate the open, teachable tone of things here. A chaotic free-for-all in the comment section would be, well, chaotic!
Thanks for doing what you do.

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