More from my “in” box

April 5, 2008 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

Since this site started, I’ve made a consistent effort to let everyone have a say here.  Even when I think an individual is unfairly attacking, or when someone is downright unreasonable, I’ve always tried to foster an environment where people felt free to state their opinions.

But a couple of days ago, someone responded to the previous post (“A Word to the ‘Wise’“) and, in my opinion, crossed a line.  I found myself doing something I rarely do:  I deleted his comment.

What was so offensive about this particular comment?

Well, perhaps you should read it and decide for yourself.  Because our system is set up to send me an email notification each time someone submits a response, I realized, after I’d deleted the offensive remark on the site itself, that I actually still had a copy of it in my “in” box.  Here is the text of that email:

Author : Barnabas (IP: 151.200.163.194 , mail.sovgracemin.org)

 

E-mail: [email address removed]

Comment:

 

Kris,

 

Given the exchange with the Jarrod, and the following two excerpts from your posts (85, 90)… 

Thank you.

 

“I’ve had a difficult week here, which is no excuse but might explain my lack of patience and graciousness. A lot goes on behind the scenes that nobody will probably ever know about, except for me and the people who write me in strictest confidence. So many of them are really, REALLY afraid, hurt, and in some cases, desperate. I’d never think I could counsel or help them all – usually, I suggest that they seek professional help. But merely extending a listening “ear” (via email), just hearing their stories (the ones that don’t appear on the site) – this has left me with utterly no doubt of the things I’ve written here.”

 

“Please forgive me for the “take no prisoners” tone of some of my responses over the past few days. Every couple of weeks, I will reach a point where I feel like I’m beating my head against a wall. From my perspective, SGM’s issues are so glaringly obvious (after four months of being on the receiving end of all kinds of tragic emails, not to mention what appears on the site) that I lose patience with random commenters who buzz on by and find it necessary to point out the site’s flaws or offer words of correction.”

 

 

Perhaps it would help individuals like Jarrod who visit the site and respond the way that he did to share the process that you go through to evaluate all of the stories that people share with you about thier experiences at SGM.  I think once they see the painstaking effort you take to establish the veracity of each story, root out any exageration or misrepresentation, and allow the other side to respond if they choose, they will see how completely justified you are in publicly rebuking individuals for their sin, calling for repentance, and maintaining a blog such as this. 

 

As it seems important for first time contributors…I have been reading since December and have read all the posts. 

 

Just in case you aren’t catching what was so offensive about the above post, allow me to point out that first of all, this person, “Barnabas,” was POSTING HIS COMMENT FROM SOVEREIGN GRACE MINISTRIES’ OWN COMPUTER SYSTEM.

Yes, most of the time, the information supplied by WordPress regarding commenters’ IP addresses is basically useless.  I’ve explained this numerous times to folks who write me wanting to know how well their anonymity is protected here, but for the benefit of everyone else, unless you actually post a comment, we cannot see your IP address.  Then, if you DO choose to post a comment, what we’re actually able to see from your IP address usually doesn’t mean a whole lot, beyond – only about half the time – giving a general geographical location, which is not YOUR location, but is merely the location of your internet service provider.

Every once in awhile, though, if you’re posting from work, your company’s name will show up in the IP address information.  As it did for “Barnabas.”

So here you have someone who is employed by Sovereign Grace Ministries, with time on his hands to visit sgmsurvivors, and THIS is what he posts?

What particularly got to me was Barnabas’ underhanded way of trying to make a point.  Obviously, what he wanted to say was that we have no right to run a website where people can share their SGM stories, unless we have verified every detail and then have allowed the proper Sovereign Grace authorities to share their side of the disputes. 

But why did “Barnabas” take such a roundabout way to say what he was trying to convey?  Why all the nonsense about how I should share my “vetting” process for verifying the truth of people’s stories? 

I’ve made it clear on more than one occasion that I do not have a cadre of private investigators tracking people down and interviewing them to ascertain that SGM abused them in exactly the ways they’ve said.  Guy and I aren’t running some sort of national network of spiritual abuse detectives.

Moreover, we are also not running an arbitration business.  Why would we feel the need to approach the proper SGM leaders and ask them to give us their side of the story?  How would that prove anything?  Would we then need to go and send our squadrons of P.I.s to track down the truthfulness of THEIR “testimonies”?

No, obviously, Barnabas was talking all of this nonsense to prove his point.  But, as someone who represents Sovereign Grace Ministries, I am disappointed that he couldn’t simply be man enough to simply state his thoughts, without all the seemingly cordial but actually SMARMY doublespeak.

Ugh.

More to the point, though, I am disappointed that once again, rather than being honestly alarmed and concerned that his precious church organization may have systematically abused and hurt people, Barnabas instead focuses on discrediting these people’s stories and this site itself.  I know that SGM leaders have previously mocked and made fun of the W.W.J.D. jewelry that was the rage years ago, but really – maybe they should go out and get some of those bracelets.  Maybe they’d serve as a reminder for them to stop and think about just Who it is they’re representing.

What WOULD Jesus do if he were confronted with hurting people, as we were when we put up our totally accidental blog last November?

Would he immediately disbelieve them?  Would he be more concerned about protecting the rights and interests of the religious establishment?  Would he automatically assume that nothing could be done, that nothing should change, unless every last detail of people’s stories was (somehow) “verified”?

I doubt it.

SGM, if Barnabas’ words are the best you can do, you’re in worse shape than I’ve thought.  Really, now.

 

© 2008, Kris. All rights reserved.