Friday, February 16, 2007

As I suspected

Our friends at what used to be legitimately known as an "Open Forum" have taken up an interesting... well, for lack of a better word, tactic. When someone such as my own self asks them to be a little less incendiary in their behavior, the remarks just get (poof!) removed. Well, I might be slow on the uptake sometimes, but not today. Normally, there's no need to make copies of what one posts on an "Open Forum," but I've taken up the habit. Let me pull back the curtain and show you the horrible, horrible things I had to say--parental guidance suggested, and such. For ease of comprehension, the remarks of other posters are italicized. I quote thusly, and like so:

Trollcakes said...
Sorry to repost this comment from the last thread, but Bratton still hasn't replied to the following response to his assigning equivalence to anonymity on BBC Open Forum and the lack of transparency and accountability by the church leadership.


Since I've done nothing of the sort, your comment doesn't exactly compute.

I won't hold my breath that he'll answer.

Thankfully, God gave us an autonomic reflex that keeps us from holding our breaths to the point of damage.

I find it ironic that the "personal responsibity" crowd now fall into the pit (or uncharted waters) of moral relativism and situational ethics.

I find it fascinating that that's all you have.

"Bratton, why do you harp on these peoples anonymity so much?

Because it's wrong.

A "reporter" should know that anonymity is as old as the age, and has been employed for many purposes--yet usually to veil the identity of one whom would otherwise feel coerced, badgered and subject to backlash by the wealthy, powerful or simply the impetuous--haha(not naming names).

Since I actually (gasp!) was a newspaper reporter for a brief while (thankfully, it didn't take), you might be surprised to know I'm familiar with the use of unnamed sources. Unnamed sources, however, have never had free rein to spew bile about people with whom they have a disagreement.

Nobody here wants a bevy of deacons, dressed like morticians, jumping their (little) fence for a smattering of spontaneous "fellowship."

My Sunday School... er, Bible Fellowship teacher nicely summed up the incident to which your friend and your own self continue to refer. I can't quote him precisely, but the thought went along this line: "Personally, I'd be flattered to know that my pastor loved me enough to hop my fence and come to my door if he knew there was a problem between us."

You don't think people here have any call to fear some downward pressure from the big guns at BBC, eh?

No.

Not in the slightest.

No, I cannot really think of anybody who ever experienced a negative consequence to their life stemming from the expression of dissent to the leadership of Bellevue."

Can you?


Should I wait for another Nazi or Mafia allusion? Or even a specific example?

Oh, and before I forget, I did notice something to which I wanted to respond:

New BBC Open Forum said...
mike bratton wrote:

"Just for the record, a number of you "regulars" here agree that God hates David Coombs, Larry Ray, Phil Weatherwax, Steve Marcum, Mark Dougharty, Steve Tucker, and Steve Gaines"

How stupid do you think we are? To quote someone from days gone by, don't put words in my mouth.


Then when no one refutes a poster who equates something God hates with a particular individual, what conclusion should a reader come away with--both from the original post, and from the lack of outrage and/or censorship?

"Why can't you simply discuss something or just present your views without trying to pick a fight with everyone here?"

Nass, if you can find a single instance of where I have tried to "pick a fight" with anyone around here, please let me know.

There are serious issues at Bellevue that need addressing by sober, serious-minded people. When people who want to be involved in the discussion behave, as you and yours do, in a way that cannot be mistaken as being either sober or serious-minded, why is it so horrible to encourage you to reconsider your own behavior?

Either cut the c*** (there, I didn't censor it this time) (However, I did.) or I will delete your comments. It's up to you.

Will you be punishing yourself for consciously refusing to follow your own guidelines? Or are references to excrement (as you and at least one other poster have recently made) considered around here to reflect "a respectful, Christian spirit"?

Again, please, either take the high road or don't make the trip.


In recent weeks, I've spent far less time overall reading that site, much less posting there. Will I bellow an "I Quit!" and never visit there again? Of course not; matter of fact, you'll notice that this site still links to them--as with the so-called "saving Bellevue" site, it's important that people have access to different perspectives regarding the issues facing Bellevue Baptist Church.

The point's self-evident: When people can say what they wish without regard for responsibility, what they say is often unflattering and counterproductive. It produces the same kind of opportunism that is found in those few who use the Bellevue situation to make names for themselves--two sides of the same contrarian coin.

We must, as a church body, work together to address the issues before us, or face the real possibility of lasting damage to the church's ability to share the Gospel both locally and globally.

Or, as that noted philosopher Dr. Jack Shephard has said: "Live together, die alone."

--Mike

EDITED TO ADD: Now it's getting even more humorous--I understand that posts of mine from that anything-but-Open Forum are being retroactively deleted.

Heh heh heh...

6 comments:

woobie said...

Its almost like "I don't like the way you are playing so I'm going to take my ball and go home." *sniff*

I've been lurking for several months now. I really enjoy your writing and share your point of view.

Those guys need to learn how to defend their position and not get mad when they can't.

Anyway I'll go back to lurking. My prayers are with you and I pray for the day peace comes and you can write more on other subjects.

Cliff

Trollcakes said...

Me too. Bratton, your tact is to cut and paste sentences, tags or fragments, make cute dismissive quips and I suspect dilude yourself in believing you've tendered a credible "point-by-point," without qualifications and too often evading altogether the central axis of an argument.

One that constantly antagonizes a forum with such contempt for good peoples legitimate concerns should be ready to recieve some reciprocity.

Now, start the process of cut and paste.

woobie said...

trollcakes,

I disagree

Mike is meerly keeping the points straight and addresses each point one by one. It could be done right back at him.

Mike's wit is bitting but I don't see it as mean spirited.

Mike,

After re-reading my previous post I want to clarify, Its not your your "ball" its their "ball" they're taking home. (i'm new at this)

Cliff

Mike Bratton said...

Trollcakes said...
Me too. Bratton, your tact is to cut and paste sentences, tags or fragments, make cute dismissive quips and I suspect dilude yourself in believing you've tendered a credible "point-by-point," without qualifications and too often evading altogether the central axis of an argument.


Merely stating "you've avoided the argument" without support isn't exactly the most definitive response possible.

And, had you taken the time to look for support for your hypothesis, you might have noticed that I agree with a good deal of the suggestions being made, such as the need for Bellevue to hold a business meeting and Bellevue's need (now being addressed) for increased financial transparency.

One that constantly antagonizes a forum with such contempt for good peoples legitimate concerns should be ready to recieve some reciprocity.

That is the single biggest problem with the so-called "Open Forum"--going past disagreement on issues to contemptuous personal attacks.

When asking people to stop engaging in such attacks is "antagonistic," then I guess I'm an antagonist. And their groupthink behavior towards me isn't "reciprocity," it's "more of the same."

The saddest part is that when I talk with such people, on the rare occasions when they'll either identify themselves or I happen to know them, they don't conduct themselves in the same way.

All I've suggested is that those people conduct themselves online the same way they would in person. However, anonymity can be intoxicating, spurring people on to behave in ways they never would in a face-to-face conversation.

Now, start the process of cut and paste.

Yes, I just took your remarks all out of context, didn't I? :)

--Mike

Mike Bratton said...

woobie said...
trollcakes,

I disagree

Mike is meerly keeping the points straight and addresses each point one by one. It could be done right back at him.


Matter of fact, I wish people would do that more often.

Mike's wit is bitting but I don't see it as mean spirited.

Much obliged.

Mike,

After re-reading my previous post I want to clarify, Its not your your "ball" its their "ball" they're taking home. (i'm new at this)

Cliff


That's what I came away with from your first post, but thanks for the clarification.

Although--I wasn't going to mention it in any event. As the saying goes, "Always let the Woobie win." ;)

--Mike

Trollcakes said...

No friend,

You at least answered with more than dismissive quips this time
around--as an olive branch, you know that I don't lump you in with Gaines sycophants (but it is easy to miss comments) on the BBCOF. You just come off a little cavalier visiting the forum, while you write much more level-headed commentary here.

If you would bring some of the tone displayed here to over there, then you wouldn't seem so overbearing and uncompassionate. I can visit here and know that you are a good and multidimensional person. Lose the "point by point," as it seems disingenuous and plodding. Just reply in a more exhaustive manner, then add the barbs.

I'm ok with it.

No one is going to engage you in dialogue very long if they take the initiative to articulate themselves, only to have a sentence or tag quoted as the foundation for a snide dismissal.

Sorry brother, you reap what you sew.

The beauty of words is that we may express disagreement with a lot of visceral and rhetorical bite (and hopefully discover some truth), but the tradition of letters is the most civil form of conflict as yet discovered.

Furthermore, a dialogue naturally follows a trauma like this--shaking a large congregation that had already suffered the recent loss of its beloved Pastor--whether the church would acknowledge and provide for it or not.

You like to harp the fact that you have called for an open meeting with the membership. Of course that is commendable; yet such either will or will not take place, and if I were a betting man, the BBC leadership will thrwart it (e.g. comment moderation, as was the PCIR's delivery before the church, will be full on).

If such is the case, then what? Without some thought of contingencies, then your grill has no teeth behind.

Sorry, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck...the "no stone unturned" report conveniently didn't interview the victim, on a technicality? Yeah, if I was an apologist, I try to scurry through a five word response as well.

I have an acid tongue (I've been an art critic for almost a decade), but I don't shoot from the hip, I always qualify my assertions (perhaps not within your long-fingered edits, but you follow the blog, I know) and brandish humor as a salve. I love rhetoric and above all, I hate to see it employed so willy-nilly.

When rhetoric fails, it's sanctimony and Bible verse time, and ne'er should it be criticized, since it's "under the blood." You cannot constantly assign motives to the words and actions of others, while defending someone like Ace--this young man threatened people, and that is the rub, Mr Bratton, for his outing; not a subtle suggestion or an unfounded fear by a bunch of gossipers, but a threat.

And let's see, you still cannot think of anyone who has suffered negative consequenses after expressing dissent to BBC leadership?