haters, you don’t have to be hateful

A few months ago, during my blogging hiatus, I received an email from someone I don’t know who took issue with the actions of an organization I’m affiliated with. His letter to me was full of misinformation, “facts” that weren’t true, and personal attacks; in just a few short paragraphs he implied I am racist and said that as a member of this group my actions were “unethical, immoral, and un-Christlike.”


The same week, a blogger published a post that included a paragraph or two criticizing me and a few other women in our movement who have spoken at national conventions. As usual from this guy, it was full of unnecessarily inflammatory language, negative assumptions about motive, and more personal attacks. In several long-winded paragraphs and follow-up comments he questioned the education, preparation, and character of me and the other gals and then when Matt (unbeknownst to me) pushed him to defend such a broad attack, compared me to a beauty pageant contestant.

I’m not sure where I fall on the egalitarian/complementarian debate, but misogynistic comments are not the way to convince me.

200_s copyI know a lot of you guys (and a LOT of you ladies) have to deal with much worse. And neither the email nor the blog post hurt my feelings. They just made me mad, because they showed so little evidence of the Jesus cause they were supposedly defending.

I get that passions run high around certain issues, like race and the role of women, and obviously as a blogger I’m a big fan of the right to ask questions and express opinions. But it would never occur to me to write to someone I don’t know, about an issue I don’t fully understand, based on one group’s side of the story, and lead with accusations. It would never cross my mind to write sarcastic blog posts attacking people’s character and motives, especially people I’ve never once talked to, and then refuse to acknowledge it by saying the other person should just have thicker skin.

It’s fine that these guys don’t like what I’m doing or thinking, to the limited extent they understand it. That feeling is mutual. But I am sad that opportunities for the light of real discussion and understanding, on both sides, were dismissed in favor of the heat of pandering to cheap shots. It’s amazing how many Christians think their conviction about an issue is more important than being like Christ in addressing it, or believe part of being like Christ is skewering people with sarcasm because, after all, Jesus confronted Pharisees.

It’s fine if you have a different perspective, even when you don’t have all the facts. It’s not fine to be a jerk about it. If I’m a pageant contestant, that’s my speech.

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