Saturday, February 05, 2011

Pondering Incivility

We don't know Pr. Earl Janssen, nor have we spent much time reading his blog, Pondering Pastor. But like most of our colleagues, he seems bright, faithful and good-hearted, than which we ask no more of a priest or a believer.

Still, we think he's been getting some mail intended for us.

Back in August, Pr. Janssen wrote a piece about the Ten Commandments. Seems than Glenn Beck had suggested that they were acceptable to all Americans, and Pr. J argued that this was a little off-base. Atheists didn't care much about, say, keeping the Sabbath holy. The Commandments are universally applicable only within a community of faith.

This is a cogent argument, and we're glad he made it, not least because we get a bit tired of the natural law enthusiasts trying to argue that their pet indefinable figment is somehow magically enshrined in the Decalogue.

Problem is, of course, that in the current cultural environment, you can't step on Glenn Beck's toes and expect to go un-abused. Or perhaps the problem is that, much as we hate to say it, there is a streak of vituperation in the Lutheran spirit. Either way, some fellow calling himself "LUTHER" (as well as, comically enough, a couple of other names) wrote in to argue with Janssen. Or, really, to vent spleen in his general direction.

In a newer piece on the subject of civility, Janssen observes that, in the ensuing exchange, he has been called:

  • bitter
  • condescending
  • elitist
  • all-knowing
  • small of heart
  • socialist
Hmm. So far as we can tell, this doesn't describe Janssen. And yet the accusations sound eeirily familiar. We left Pr. Janssen a note, suggesting that his reader has simply sent those comments to the wrong address.


Pastor Joelle said...

I know Pastor Jansen. Met him in real life and have been in online discussions with him. When others have been bitter, condescending, elitist all knowing and small of heart --and heck even when the discussion has brought that side out of ME...he has always remained calm and civil. Dunno about the socialist thing - aren't all Christians a little bit socialist?

Anonymous said...

No, Joelle, you're just paid for doing no real work if you're clergy-it's not quite the same thing.
And Lutherans tend to unleash their inner Prussians way too easily. You can usually tell a Lutheran; you can't tell them much, though.

Father Anonymous said...

Um, well then. So much for civility.

Father Anonymous said...

Seriously, Nixon. Be polite or be elsewhere, especially where other guests are concerned.

And on the same subject, please enable the rest of us to read your profile and see your blog, if you have one. Our identities, even mine, are pretty much public knowledge. Yours, for whatever reason, isn't. Keep this up, I'll start calling you chicken. (Unless you're that ex-Navy guy working for an NGO in the Far east, in which case I will offer some thoughtful criticisms of your literary style).

LiturgyGeek said...

And we're paid so well for doing so little.

Oh, the irony of all this.