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When All Else Fails, Unfriend Them

When All Else Fails, Unfriend Them

by Mike Duran · 45 comments

WARNING: This post contains sarcasm, satire, blunt irony, a few digs, some rather feigned foot-stomping, and carefully nuanced witticism; it may be unsuitable for those of fragile emotional constitution.

* * *

So I was unFriended by someone on Facebook a while back. Before pulling the plug on our short, but stormy, cyber friendship, they made sure I knew why I was being un-graced with their presence:

After reading your FB updates, I usually feel deeply sad. Your brand of Christianity is exactly the kind that has wounded me so profoundly. I really think you must have no idea how hurtful your words are and how hard people like myself have fought to escape the harsh, casual cruelty of your worldview.

The last time I was unFriended on FB (at least, that I know of) was for daring to publicly challenge another Christian author who believed Christians can / should become sinlessly perfect… in this life. Perhaps it was my “imperfections” that emboldened me to protest such a notion. The rest of the commenters seemed too busy fawning to call the author on it. Or maybe they too were already “perfect.” However, the subsequent unFriending by this author seemed to expose a gaping hole in their theory. It was like

I believe Christians should be sinless and will unFriend anyone who challenges me!

 

No wonder I have such a problem becoming sinless — I’m not unFriending enough folks.

So when I received the above message, I wasn’t entirely shocked. I consider myself a lover not a fighter. But in my world, those two are dance partners. Anyway. I wasn’t quite sure what the writer meant by “[my] brand of Christianity” and “the harsh, casual cruelty of [my] worldview.” Nevertheless, I apologized for any offense and agreed that we probably were of different stripes.

And accepted my exile.

Perhaps I wouldn’t have taken it so hard if, a few days later, this person hadn’t Tweeted something snide about another professed Christian group. So let me get this straight: Harsh, critical, snarky, hurtful words are wrong… unless they’re employed for a righteous cause???

Well, then, I feel a whole lot better.

What tore the scab off this thing was reading HuffPo’s Why We’re Unfollowing Bret Easton Ellis yesterday. Until that post, BEE was not on my cultural radar or Following list. It was Andrew Losowski, HuffPo Books editor’s indignation, that changed that.

After listing some of the stuff Ellis Tweets, much of which is snide, politically incorrect, bombastic, offensive, and clearly inflammatory, Losowski concludes:

These are charged statements that deserve exploration and discussion. But Easton Ellis doesn’t respond to people on his feed, nor does he build on any of these ideas elsewhere.

Of course that’s his right. It’s his Twitter feed. But it’s also anti-social behavior, and though following it does generate a certain morbid fascination, we’ve now grown a little tired of how he uses the platform (and we’re not the only ones). Among his one-way conversations, he throws out these lines, people get briefly upset, and we pick it up, thereby amplifying his most hurtful remarks. Well, not any more.

We say: go follow him on Twitter if you’re looking for his latest provocation, because we on the Books section of The Huffington Post aren’t going to cover his micro invectives any more.

I took his advice and Followed Bret Easton Ellis.

Really, there were two words that did it for me: “Hurtful remarks.” Have these become Trigger Words yet? Because I just, like, snapped.

Apparently, the internet is breeding a new type of person, one who gets hurt very, very easily. But as Nature is wont to do, that genetic swamp is also producing a more Enlightened Being, defender of the weak, the Homo Sapien of our digital Stone Age: The Hurt Police.

And I’ve been cited.

In the hopes of staving off further citations, here come the qualifiers. Being rude and crude and scandalous is not a good thing. Intentionally hurting people’s feelings and/or disregarding their feelings is wrong. Constructing a platform entirely upon controversy and provocation is kinda stupid. Just because you have a social network following is not a license to broadcast everything that’s on your mind with reckless abandon.

Having said that…

I don’t Follow people because they don’t hurt my feelings. And I don’t unFollow them if they do.

Of course if someone’s a blasphemous, blithering idiot, I’ll probably give them the boot. But it’s not because they hurt my feelings. It’s because they’re a waste of my time. For the record, some of my favorite blog watering holes are atheist sites. And, oh, Leftist sites. Even though I’m neither. Nothing like anti-Christian and liberal rants to get the old blood pumping. I like to follow people whom I disagree with, who get my goat, provoke, challenge me to think, and rankle me to no end.

Why else would I keep following Anne Rice?

Which is why I followed with interest the controversy surrounding Jared Wilson’s now infamous, now removed, post, “The Polluted Waters of 50 Shades of Grey, Etc.” Multiple firestorms erupted between feminists and defenders of biblical patriarchy, eventually cauterizing in the stand-off between these two blogger / authors. It was a fascinating affair!

I found myself somewhere in the middle of that argument — which is why I never publicly commented — and followed the ensuing posts and counter-posts with great interest. Until the debate spiraled into polarization, party lines, snipiness, and self-righteous indignation, eventually running aground when one of the parties urged their Followers to stop engaging the other and promised to do so themselves.

Wha–?

What upset me most about that debate was not that it turned terse, that tempers got heated, and rhetoric flew, but how it ended.

When all else fails, Unfriend them.

I loved the response of Sarah Pulliam Baily at Her.menuetics, the Christianity Today blog for women. In Sex! Outrage! The Internet! Doug Wilson, Rachel Held Evans, and The Gospel Coalition she summarized what she considered a better approach to boycotts and blog post removals and mass unFriending:

Shutting each other down or shutting each other up should never be the goal among Christians. If we are going to love one other, we need to challenge and sharpen one another with a spirit above the Internet rage, a spirit of mercy that assumes the best intentions of even those who offend or outrage us.

Amen, sister!

So I continue to Follow all of the parties in that debate. As I do the person who unFriended me in the aforementioned message. And, for the life of me, I can’t think of a single thing they’d say to make me call the Hurt Police.

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Kessie September 7, 2012 at 8:29 AM

HAHAHAHA!! Oh, my sides! You just summed up the entire reason I no longer run an internet forum for teenagers!

Seriously though, that’s why I made a personal pact never to discuss things like creation vs evolution online ever again. I’ll discuss it in person, where my opponent and I can blacken each other’s eyes if necessary, but it’s not worth the petty word-flinging of the internet.

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Jonathan September 7, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Good enough for Mike, good enough for me, following this Brent Ellis Easton guy now…

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Jay DiNitto September 7, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Personally, I’d never unfriend anyone if I disagreed with them. The worst I would do is, if we are engaged in some sort of debate thread, is not respond (after fair warning) if they are not interested in being civil or addressing the issue. I noticed some people tend to wander off into different (but related) topics and the threads start to spiral into a grab-bag of ridiculousness.

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Melissa Ortega September 7, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Awesome post. I can be so dumb sometimes, and I try to make it a practice to allow others to be dumb too. Sometimes those folks that I think are really dumb and who at first make me mad are the very people who change my life for the better.

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Mike Duran September 7, 2012 at 8:50 AM

“I can be so dumb sometimes, and I try to make it a practice to allow others to be dumb too.”

Oh I love this! Thanks, Melissa.

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Jill September 7, 2012 at 8:48 AM

You said feminist! I won’t defriend you, though. I agree. I accepted Jared Wilson’s apology (though obviously not aimed at me specifically) and let that particular issue go. And occasionally, I still read Douglas Wilson’s blog, even though the man infuriates me.

I’ve never defriended anyone. I like to argue/debate. It was a wake-up call when somebody recently defriended me on facebook because he took my arguing with him as challenges, and he didn’t find challenges to his beliefs acceptable. I felt very sad about the whole affair. I honestly didn’t realize. I thought we were verbally sparring, as I do with everybody (iron sharpens iron and all that).

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sally apokedak September 7, 2012 at 9:22 AM

I unfriended a very dear real life friend a couple of months ago. I did this because her new universal sugary sweet, patronizing sayings (God loves everyone and so do I and even if you disagree with me, you are saved and you will grow up and find the truth my dear little sister whom I love) kept showing up on my news feed and every time I engaged her and quoted scripture she would ignore me and her friends would come in and tell me that the parts of the Bible I was quoting were not in the original. Turns out that her friends were Greek and Hebrew experts and the only parts in the Bible that were in the original were the love passages. All mention of wrath and wiping out of nations were added later by evil men who didn’t understand the God is never angry at anybody for anything.

If my friend had posted something other than universalist propaganda, I would stayed friends. But all she wanted to do was spout her stuff while she ignored me when I answered her.

It’s not that I don’t want to read people who disagree with me. It’s that I don’t to just read them and read them and read them when they never read me in return.

That said, I could never follow Rachel Held Evans. I’d be spending hours every day blogging my disagreements with her. She drives me nuts. But, no, I don’t think we need to call the Hurt Police on her. I think she should keep on talking. And I think people should keep answering her.

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R. L. Copple September 7, 2012 at 12:56 PM

You reminded me, Sally, of a recent post I saw when someone was saying how war is so contrary to God and His call to love one another. Which, by and large, I agree to a point. But I had this strong urge to post a Scripture where God is telling Israel to go to war and kill everyone, leave no one alive, women or children or even cattle. Total annihilation.

But I refrained. I didn’t see much point in engaging him, nor honestly did I have the time for what could be a lengthy debate on the topic. So I stayed watching from the sidelines.

I’ve yet to defriend anyone except when I friend someone and they immediately send me messages of an unsavory nature. Then they get defriended real quick.

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Mike Duran September 7, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Sally, I’d love to see you engage Rachel.

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Erica September 8, 2012 at 7:53 AM

Wow. It reminds me of a dear online friend I had a few years ago. We shared scripture with one another, prayed with one another, and read/and liked each others posts. Then somewhere along the line- she got extrememly sensitive- and I do mean extremely, to my own personal life and problems that I was facing at the time and she then used that to unFriend me on Facebook and stopped emailing me.

It hurt me to the core because although there is a reason on her side of the world as to why she did what she did, it is still no excuse for a woman of her age and wisdom to have done that without talking to me first.

After a while I got over it. Chalked it down as a loss for her and moved on. She was an internet person, not a true friend in Christ. Since then I have befriended people who “worship in Spirit and in Truth”.

No need for the Hurt Police either. The internet teaches us to be resilient in these matters…

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Ramona September 7, 2012 at 9:33 AM

I don’t Unfriend folks who disagree with me; I’m not easily hurt. I follow on Twitter a number of controversial folks. But I changed some of my settings so that endless political diatribes don’t flood my newsfeed on FB, and I’ll turn those folks back on when the election is over. I’m a reader, not a debater. Never have been. I love reading a good argument, just not participating. But the diatribes I shut down were hateful, spiteful, and useless. As you said, those elements that waste my time–gone. The ones that truly challenge me I continue to embrace.

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Katherine Coble September 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

I do unfriend people. Not actual friends, though, as a rule. I have a lot of game-friends leftover from the days of Farmville who I’ve just kept around. They occassionally post racist jokes or political rants and that incites me to hit the unfriend option. (I’ll put up with both of those things from actual friends, but I’ll also say something via FB Message).

Twice in this last year I have had to actually BLOCK men, which is the Facebook version of the Amish Shunning. In both cases they were guys I’d met via author websites, liked immensely and developed good web-based relations with. In both cases they went so far afield in the expression of their opinions that I felt like I was dealing with people who were nigh to unhinged. I was more or less concerned with my sanity–and my safety, to a degree–that I had no choice but to drop the Block.

What’s weird is that in both cases they are still friends with mutual friends and there will be times that I’ll drop by the comments on a status and see a mutual friend talking to seemingly-no one. It took me awhile to figure out what was going on there. :-)

Generally, though, I don’t unfriend anybody. It has to be pretty dramatic for me to drop you.

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Amy September 7, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Well, I’m an unfriender. I’ve done it a couple times, most often to people who post a lot of bumper sticker dreck, but most memorably with someone who wanted to use my facebook wall to have ridiculously long and circuitous political discussions. I think the reason that I choose not to keep having these discussions is that I find myself getting unreasonably, ridiculously, blindly angry at people, particularly when I feel backed into a corner or that I’m not being heard–and I never want political or theological disagreements to cause me to view others in the Body of Christ (or my local church body) with hatred. Some people are so good at disagreeing politely and not having it affect their relationships with others: how do they do it? Is it practice, or personality? I’m working on the practice, but the personality unfortunately still eludes me.

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J.L. Lyon September 7, 2012 at 10:57 AM

It takes both practice and personality. Our view of debate has, unfortunately, been clouded by our dear friends the politicians. “Who will win tonight’s debate?” instead of “Who will present the best set of ideas?” The point of debate is not to “win,” but to explain and question.

It also takes an open mind and an empathetic attitude. If you believe yourself to be the only source of truth in the universe and all those who disagree are morons, that will come across even in a comment posting. A good debate involves give and take, as well as an attempt to find common ground.

Very different than the personal attacks we see in media today, which is perhaps a leading reason why many feel personally affronted by even minor disagreements. That’s what they see our leaders doing, after all.

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Katherine Coble September 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Oh, oops. I wanted to make a special point of mentioning this, because it’s a real issue for me:

THE TRIGGER WARNING IS REALLY OVERUSED AND MOCKED.

I hate it when people use “trigger words” and “trigger warnings” to mean “something will hurt your feelings.”

Trigger warnings began–and should have remained–as useful alerts on blogs and fora where sexual violence was being discussed. Many rape and molestation victims are in stages of healing where encountering mention of sexual violence when they aren’ t expecting it can cause actual health risks–panic attacks, suicidal ideations. Trigger Warning originally meant “hey, we’re talking about these things in the context of Feminist issues or politics or legislation. If you are in that place, we don’t want you to be endangered by the conversation. So heads’ up.”

It was a serious way of dealing with some serious mental health issues while continuing to pursue productive solutions for those of us who are no longer in that place. Or were lucky enough to not be in that place.

TRIGGER WARNINGS ARE NOT FOR THINGS LIKE “OH, YOUR FEELINGS MAY BE A LITTLE HURT, YOUR NOSE MAY BE A LITTLE OUT OF JOINT”.

I feel like non-feminists who aren’t aware of the origin of the term have seen it used and don’t understand why and so it gets misused down the line. And I think some feminists have also been applying it to non-assaultive topics to look “super considerate” at the point where it is now a term that’s openly mocked as being indicative of a pandering society.

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Mike Duran September 7, 2012 at 1:34 PM

As proof of how far I have to go, I’d only just heard the term used and never knew its origin. Thanks!

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Katherine Coble September 7, 2012 at 1:47 PM

I should clarify that my gripe wasn’t with you or your humourous warning at the head of this post. It was with the participants in the Held Evans/other guy showdown who were using it glibly.

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Jessica Thomas September 7, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Those are some interesting links there. The whole notion of the man “colonizing” the woman. Niiice. However, I think the man should not become too prideful because if he is unlucky or is unwise in his choice of mate, she may wind up colonizing him.

Regarding Facebook, I have a gay friend whose status updates are 50% political rants and 25% shirtless men. When I scrolled through my feed one day, I encountered a picture of a man’s naked backside. It struck me as being in poor taste (lol) so I thought about removing his posts from my feed at the very least. However, he’s an old friend of mine and I just can’t bring myself to do it because I care about him and his particular struggles.

My “friends” list on FB is rather short compared to others I’ve noticed, but I try to keep it to friends and family because I genuinely want to keep up on people’s lives. Because of that, I’ve made it a rule not to get too political. Many of my old high school friends are very liberal, and while they don’t always temper their comments on my behalf, I am mindful not to bombard them with things I know they will find offensive. I think, ultimately, all that would accomplish would be to damage, if not totally negate, my Christian witness to them (if and when the opportunity should ever arise that they are willing to listen).

I find it very easy to get caught up in internet debates, but I’m undecided about how profitable they are. I do know, the times when I’ve entered into debates with atheists or staunch liberals, I’ve gone into it with an objective mindset. But invariably, I begin to invest myself personally in the other person, so by the time the name calling ensues (which it always does), I am genuinely hurt and have been known to shed tears. After that happened a few times, I said no more. Although I imagine one day when I’m feeling brave, I’ll stumble into that trap again.

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Katherine Coble September 7, 2012 at 2:03 PM

I have a number of gay friends. I’ve largely solved the problem of unwanted man azz in my newsfeed by posting bikini models and lingerie ads to their walls with the caption “ain’t so great to get hit in the face with it on your coffee break, right?”

But really, out of a dozen gay male friends there were only three that were a real problem.

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J.S. Clark September 7, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Wait. I can simply unfriend people? I don’t know if that’s a function that works with dial-up and facebook (you’d be surprised how little does). You’re lucky I even come here with my limited bandwidth.

I’ve unfriended a couple people. The most recent was not over one disagreement but because I couldn’t go to faceback without encountering something that just destroyed my peace. I accept a certain amount, but at some point you need to have a sanctuary.

Hmmm. . . maybe it makes no sense to visit FB as a sanctuary.

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J.L. Lyon September 7, 2012 at 11:19 AM

That CT quote is spot-on. Militant theology should have no place in the Christian church, and by militant I mean the use of scripture, cultural bias, or anything else to subjugate or demonize the views of those whose doctrinal traditions differ from our own. Like you, Mike, I enjoy a good discussion, and I always seem to learn something from my glimpse into the “other side” of an argument. We can hold to our beliefs strongly and still not feel the need to bring the beliefs of others crashing to the ground.

Debate and discussion in the church (including on professed Christian blogs) should be viewed as another form of fellowship: to challenge, encourage, and exhort.

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Bobby September 7, 2012 at 11:49 AM

All this occurs for a simple reason: people don’t have to make their comments to each other’s face. They just post little bombs in the comment section of a blog, Youtube, forums, etc. and let the fireworks go where they may.

Go to a gamer forum. Watch the sheer ugliness go on and on. And most of it’s just male posturing. They would never speak that way to someone in real life.

What the Internet gave us: limitless knowledge. Limitless ways to be cruel to one another. All from sublime anonymity.

When we speak to each other in person, we generally speak more tactfully. We may despise the person, but we won’t blast them to their face. Now, you could say this encourages masks and hypocrisy. Speak nice to a guy’s face then trash him behind his back. True, but at least there’s the knowledge that the guy’s a real guy, not some cipher on the Internet.

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Jennifer Major @Jjumping September 7, 2012 at 12:04 PM

I have been unFriended a few times. I’ve unFriended a few people myself. Look, if you haven’t spoken to me in EIGHT MONTHS in real life and ignore my comments on FB, are we friends?
No.

Also, I had a former friend who I safely disengaged myself from who fond me on FB. When asked why we weren’t friends, although she knew %$&@- well why, I told her. Again.
(Insert name-it-and-claim-prosperity-bouffy-hair voice here)
“I am just choosing not to receive this! You must have alot of health issues because of the terrible sin in your life!”
Remember, this is ALL on my FB page!!
THEN she hijacked my Christmas email list (reply all) and slandered me all over the fah-reeeekiing world!!!

UnFriend, block, restraining order….

Facebook enables us to grow a pair, pardon mon French, and say things in the heat of the moment. But some people forget the concept of “viral”. And that instantly, the whole planet can know that a)someone is stupid and b) someone else was just trying to make a simple point.

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C.L. Dyck September 7, 2012 at 1:01 PM

“After reading your FB updates, I usually feel deeply sad. Your brand of Christianity is exactly the kind that has wounded me so profoundly. I really think you must have no idea how hurtful your words are and how hard people like myself have fought to escape the harsh, casual cruelty of your worldview.”

Funny, I pretty much recognize that wording, Mike. It may or may not be the same individual, but in my recent experience it was associated with a high willingness to bully aspiring (or even established) writers for being Christian and a complete intolerance for personal accountability for the bad behaviour.

Having dealt with spiritual abuse in interpersonal ministry, my husband and I are well aware there’s such a thing as a wolf in sheep’s clothing among the hurt and abused, too. The case in my experience behaved accordingly, not like a truly wounded lamb.

That’s my biggest problem with the overwrought public martyrdom syndrome. It tends to capture the sympathy of those who’ve genuinely been hurt, and then become a cloak for hurting and manipulating them all over again.

There’s a point where it’s not about finding room to heal, it’s about fostering the very bitterness, antagonism and controlling behaviours of which they accuse others. “Speaking out against injustice” is too often a great excuse for lashing out and engaging in attention-getting drama. When a person rejects accountability, even from friends, that’s a key sign they’re not there to heal anything.

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Mike Duran September 7, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Great point, Cat. Actually that was one point I agreed w/ D. Wilson in that debate: his opponents way overplayed the victim card. BTW, you’re not attending ACFW this year are you?

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C.L. Dyck September 7, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Mike, I will indeed be at ACFW. Will you? If so, I will do my best to stalk you in the halls and say hi. :)

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Mike Duran September 7, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Yes! Definitely, let’s plan to hang out!

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C.L. Dyck September 7, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Cool. I’ll email you…

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Katherine Coble September 7, 2012 at 1:57 PM

I don’t think I know the person of whom you speak. But I know the attitude well. They are the professional victim who use their experience to bully and shame. They aren’t interested in compassion or understanding. They are merely interested in the position of power they perceive their status as Victim gives them.

One such person dropped by the comments here recently. I watched as well-meaning people spent time earnestly trying to reach them. But the more I saw the more I was sure it was yet another person who enjoyed exercising what they felt to be the upper hand.

It’s also why I can’t read Rachel Held Evans’ blog anymore. As much as I respect what she tries to do, she draws a lot of women with ego and anger issues who just go there to “yeah, the church was mean to us and we need to tear it down”.

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Jill September 7, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Although Rachel Held Evans goes too far down the universalist path for me, I tend to choose her sympathy-based rhetoric over the pride-based kind I find sometimes at the Gospel Coalition. I mean, it doesn’t have to be a dichotomy between Reformed and Universalist, so I don’t really have to choose, but the two groups love to engage in fights in order to stir up the internet world.

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C.L. Dyck September 8, 2012 at 3:21 PM

“it doesn’t have to be a dichotomy between Reformed and Universalist”

I know, right? That’s a theological meme that can quickly frustrate me, as a non-Reformed, non-universalist.

I think that was a non-sequitur, but whatever. I’m allowed three a day.

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C.L. Dyck September 7, 2012 at 6:38 PM

“They are merely interested in the position of power they perceive their status as Victim gives them.”

Yep. In my case, that became my final conclusion to the matter after a year of witnessing a whole stack of truly off-the-rails behaviour aimed at the Christian publishing community and various individuals therein.

On the upside, healthy communities tend to naturally eject such influences. If a person wants to burn their bridges like that, burn they will in the end. She burned out her welcome with me, and I can’t say as I did anything but chuckle at the melodrama. :) Sometimes it’s pleasant to be unfriended. :)

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R. L. Copple September 7, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Some people are simply too sensitive. Others can give and take a thrashing and not have it dent their respect or appreciation of the friendship in the least. Most of us are somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

One time I started a email group for our church, and we had a good number of people sign up. Someone made a comment, and I saw the need to instruct folks on standard egroup posting, like trimming your quotes down to what you are replying to, etc. That hurt people’s feelings and said it made it less likely they would participate. I was flabbergasted. All I did was give some simple instructions and some took it personally. That’s how easy it is for some people to feel offended.

Anyway, my rule is to treat everyone with respect as I can. That usually works in most disagreements. It is usually when the other feels you don’t respect them or their opinion that it creates personal offense. But with some people, you can’t win either. Any disagreement is taken as personally offensive, no matter how well crafted and gentle.

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Tim George September 7, 2012 at 2:43 PM

I think some people were wearing chips on their shoulders like badges of honor long before Internet days. The difference now is that they have such a larger pool of potential people to blame for the way they have chosen to walk through life.

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Lyn Perry September 7, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I unfriend when I realize that the rants/disagreements are becoming, as Mike says, a waste of time. I don’t think you can separate the two . I may or may not be offended but if it’s a waste of time/gets boring/goes nowhere, then I just bow out.

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Erica September 8, 2012 at 7:47 AM

This is nearly similar to the post I did on “Digital Flamethrowing” located at: http://communityispossible.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/digital-flame-throwers-how-are-we-responding-to-current-news-online/.

Basically what the post reads is that there are people online who find it easy to say whatever they want and then their feelings are easily broken online. I no longer reside on Facebook and haven’t since early 2010 and I can honestly say that just Tweeting and Google+ing is enough.

As far as Christians being perfect. We are human and thus imperfect, it is the Love of God we are to wear that is perfect.

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Mike Duran September 8, 2012 at 8:07 AM

It was rather odd yesterday, after tweeting this post several times, to find this in my twitterfeed: “don’t tell me how to use facebook.” Second sentence, in bold: “I have zero problem un-liking or un-friending someone who posts things to facebook that are offensive to me or even that I simply don’t like.” http://buff.ly/NgyXfv Strange coincidence or stealth rebuttal?

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Bob Avey September 8, 2012 at 8:41 AM

We, as Christians, should all try to be as sinless as we can. However, the Bible makes it clear that no one is, or can be on their own. That’s why we need Jesus Christ, and that’s why we’re called Christians.

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Christian September 8, 2012 at 10:29 PM

Thank you, Doctor Phil. That has absolutely nothing to do with Mike’s blog article.

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Iola September 9, 2012 at 1:40 AM

Last week I was reading your old post about (not) taking offense. It would appear that more people need to read it, and the book it was based on.

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Justin Hanvey September 9, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Good post, something I myself really needed to read, and let God hit me upside the head with. I’m one of the people that the internet has seemed to breed into a person that gets hurt way too easily. Sometimes I even get legitimately hurt, like yesterday…but I, not they, are the one responsible for what I do with that hurt. It’s just ironic that we live in a day and age now where “unfriending” se
ems to be the social equivalent of saying “You’re mean and toxic, and I want nothing to do with you anymore.” We block the people that bother us, or cause us to have to walk in forgiveness and patience, in learning to love our enemies. We unfriend people who we once “friended”, and we treat it like a gift we can take back if they don’t live up to our expectations for what a friend means, even if we’re expecting someone we’ve never met to somehow live up to the same expectation we have on people we know in real life. If this is the future of social behavior, an almost narcissistic insecurity…if this is the self I am, and I think I have been so…then God forgive and change my heart. Thanks to Mike for being brave enough to write this.

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D.M. Dutcher September 9, 2012 at 1:48 PM

I’m finding that these days I need to disengage. I usually don’t mind a good intellectual tussle, but it gets old reading through all the negativity, especially against Christians. I also worry that all the argument makes me more sensitive, not less. A Christian must act in kindness and mercy, and I know I fail the mark on this more than I like. But we also aren’t inexhaustible-dealing with adversaries, even benign ones, can be incredibly draining. So I’m starting to watch myself and disengaging from political and other adversarial sites. Save that energy for the writing, eh?

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