Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thriving on Conflict

Since I have employed comment moderation, there is a person who continues to attempt commenting, even though I have yet to publish the remarks. This apparently has not dissuaded him or her from saying whatever he or she wants to me and about me. You don't see these comments on the site, but every now and then I open the moderation file and see the accusations and insults.
At some point, even though the subject of the comments is me, this thing stopped being about me.

I know I've ruffled feathers. I know the point at which I stop suffering fools gladly comes more quickly for me than it does others. So I get that I've irked some people. Nevertheless, I still am baffled by how anyone can read this site and think it is ugly and graceless and insulting. Not because I'm a perfect person who writes nothing controversial, but because I really do believe I've done a reasonably decent job at creating the opposite. And enough other folks have confirmed that impression to the point that I believe them, rather than the angry ones.

Some people just thrive on conflict. They may begin with a justified anger, but eventually it is distorted all out of proportion in their hearts, to where being unsettled is not just an emotional reaction to something done or said, but an actual quality of their spirit. They are upset, and then your failure to justify their disposition for them makes them more upset, and then you enter this bizarre dialogical position where even things meant as blessings feel like hot coals on their heads.

You can't please everybody. And some people do not want to be pleased; they want to be engaged, sparred with, retorted to, received as a combatant. These people can be toxic. They bait you, and you engage them. Then they make you regret taking the bait. So you dismiss them, and then they insult you for not engaging them. There is nothing more pleasing to them than your displeasing them.

I'll be frank: We can do without these people in the process. Give us the hurt, the confused, the genuinely angry, and the torn. Take from us those who can't stand peace. There can be no rebuilding or reconciliation as long as involved parties don't want it.

Do you know why I end some posts with "Peace"? It's not just a lame sign-off, and it's not something I do thoughtlessly. It is a reminder to myself and to others that the difficult work, the hard words, the frayed nerves and the frazzled emotions must contribute, at the end of the day, to a peaceful Body. If your work and words do not have peace in mind as their eventual result, it is time to reevaluate your work and words.

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. -- Isaiah 32:17


At 8:06 AM, Blogger judas icarus said...

Hey Jared,

How complete this particular line of reasoning is on your part. I also happen to believe that the discomfort of conviction (that some equate with or mistake for condemnation) plays a part in how people react to or take serious debate, critical thinking, confidence in one's knowledge and understanding of the Bible and solid logic. I, too, am amazed at some of the things you have allowed regarding responses (even some of my own comments posted here at times) and I don't know if there is a choke point for the insufferable.... but it seems there should be for the sake of this site and the overall intelligent, fair-minded and mature people who have stopped by to participate in the ongoing dialog surrounding the past, present and future of BCC.

I always marvel at the human capacity to "do as I say, not as I do" and I surely have been guilty and culpable over the past weeks of straying off topic. Oops! I guess the good news here, though, is that you have proven (to me) to be honest, fair, gracious and sincere in your effort to offer this forum to those interested in a dialog about BCC and, really, the Bible, the church, being a Christian and etc... and you have my complete trust and confidence in being someone who is capable of hitting the delete key or moderating comments in real time and doing so with humility and care.

Unfortunately, you will be the primary target of abrasive, vindictive and counter-productive verbiage from some who can't seem to read and absorb the great wealth of insight and information you are providing and moderating over without going over the edge into the abyss of incivility. I don't know when you will determine that this blog is "done".... I hope not for a while yet.... but I would certainly understand, if, at any time, you decided to pull the plug.

Given the depth and scope of what you have posted here... it truly is a shame that there would be those who simply "can't handle the truth"! But, I understand that He who is in us will offend those whom He isn't within.

I apologize to you personally if I have crossed any lines that have caused you distress, in any way. I am grateful that I have been able to express my feelings, experiences, hopes and perspectives attached to my personal history with BCC as a church and a place where I was employed as a staff member.

Maybe we could figure out a way to "blog-share" this verbal/text condominium? Help you take some of the heat and keep the place maintained.... eh? :-)

Kind regards,

C. Evan Leonard


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