We have had a lot of good and vigorous discussion in the past two weeks on this blog, and I am happy about vigor and passion and intelligent discussion, but several points need to be borne in mind:

1) No anonymous posts please. If you don’t have the courage of your own convictions, then don’t post. By this I mean that I don’t mind what your screen name is, but if when I click on that name it doesn’t lead me to a real name and a real blog or website and a real person, then you should not be posting on this site.

2) Blogs can serve a lot of different purposes but this one is not intended for mere venting, mere ad hominem arguments, and disrespectful tone or comments. I expect the discussion to be civil, even if it becomes somewhat heated. The goal is light, not heat in any case. Ask good questions– don’t try to produce a visceral response through a rude remark. I don’t mind irony, tongue in cheek, and a little good-natured sarcasm, but ridicule and the like is not humane, never mind Christian.

3) Try and be concise and clear. Don’t just ramble on ad nauseum. As Alexander Pope said “Perspicuity is the chiefest virtue of a style.” My students often ask me what will happen if they go over the page limit on their papers. I tell them, you will find a comment on the bottom of the last expected page which says “This was a good paper, but it ended rather abruptly.”

4) Save non-related and personal comments for some other means of communication, such as ordinary email. Stick to the subject at hand, or corollary subjects.

5) Read the exhortation in James 3.3-11 before posting anything. In other words, curb your tongue.

6) Normal discussions on a particular topic will run for 3-4 days, or possibly a week. Then its time to move on. If you come late to dinner, you should expect leftovers, not the main course. Nor should you expect a response.

7) If you have good information to share, share it. Showing off, show-boating, pontificating on the basis of feelings but not evidence is not helpful. It just makes you look dumb.

8) Be reflective before you post. If you are angry, compose a response. Save it. Look at it again later in an hour or so, and then if you still think it involves a good point, then post it. “Be angry, but sin not.”

9) I do not mind suggested links so long as they are relevant to the discussion. I do mind info-mercials. You need to bear in mind that an awful lot of the stuff on the web is junk. And a lot of the supposed scholarly stuff on the web is either very old (and so in the public domain) bad or very tendentious information. This is why its on the web and not published in a proper journal. Remember— “thou shalt not steal” so if you want to copy, reuse, or link the material, then ask permission.

10) Before posting say this ” may the words of my mouth (or fingers) and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord.” In other words, do this assuming God cares and is paying attention.

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