Comment Policy

N.B.: Probably no one is going to read this page, and probably it won’t matter because no one is going to read this blog. But I’m writing out my thinking about comments just in case, and because I like things to be clear.

I want to talk with you. I want to hear what you think. I really do.

Unless what you have to say is hateful or ignorant, and you make no effort to correct that.

I have a feeling this is going to be a pretty tricky space to navigate, because hardcore, personal social justice writing–the difficult work of rooting through my own issues with racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, sizeism, ageism, classism and all other kinds of hatred, bigotry and bias–is not something that a lot of Christians are used to, in my experience. And serious writing about Christian faith, accepting and following the overarching structures, traditions, themes and practices of the organized Christian church, is not something that a lot of young liberal social-justice-bloggy types are used to, either. So a lot of people, including hopefully me, are going to be kind of uncomfortable at this intersection.

That’s a good thing, I believe. But it means I have to lay some ground rules–some of them might be familiar to you if you read other well-moderated blogs; some of them might strike you as just common sense and decency; some of them might not make sense to you. But I need you to work with me.

1) No slurs. Just don’t. I expect this shouldn’t be difficult for the most part, but note that ‘retarded’, ‘gay’ and any and all variations on those words are unacceptable as insults or criticisms. Also note that insulting, belittling or disrespecting anyone on the basis of their religion is completely unacceptable.

2) No arguing “I’m not _______, I just think X and Y for all these logical reasons” or “I don’t mean to be ________, but…” The first step toward fighting internalized and institutionalized bigotry is admitting that you’re part of the problem. We’re all raised in this screwed-up cultural mess; we’ve all got issues. Nearly everybody is privileged in some way, and privilege generally makes us blind to our own bigoted attitudes and behaviors–that’s why it’s privilege. If you can accept that, you’re welcome here. Have at it. Let me know what you’re thinking. Just leave off the denials and excuses, and be open to the possibility that I/someone might call you out for perpetuating bigotry. If you can’t handle that, this is probably not the place for you.

3) Conversely, don’t insult people or issue wholesale condemnations of their character based on their opinions, if they’re trying to be sensitive and thoughtful and open to new perspectives. “That argument shows some pretty bigoted thinking, and here’s why it’s harmful: …” is helpful. “You’re a stupid bigot” is not.

3a) This applies to me too–please feel free to call me out if I’ve been hurtful or offensive without realizing it. I’m trying to remember that I’ve got a lot of privilege to check, and I need all the help I can get.

4) This is a pretty 101-friendly space for social justice issues–that means I do not expect you to understand all the concepts on which my posts are based; you can ask me pretty much whatever kinds of questions you want (if they’re at least a little bit relevant, and not deliberately offensive) and I’ll do my best to explain myself fully. It is not quite as 101-friendly regarding the Christian faith.

Please let me explain: if you have questions about the basics of Christianity, or about why I personally trust the Bible and believe in Jesus and have a relationship with God, I would love to answer them for you. I’m totally willing to explain my personal beliefs and/or point you in the direction of other thinkers who’ve influenced me and might have more helpful thoughts on intellectual, scientific or historical questions. But if that’s the kind of discussion you want to have, please contact me directly. Most of the Christianity-related posts on this blog are going to be discussions of things I wrestle with after nearly 20 years in the church, personal and intense thoughts at a (hopefully!) high level of discourse.

There’ll probably be some posts about the basics ’cause those are important too. But if I’ve posted a piece dealing with the way gender dichotomies affect the modern church, for example, that is not really an appropriate place for you to comment asking “but why would you go to church anyway when [objection to Christianity or organized religion]?” I’ll happily answer the question, if you send it to me personally; again, I’d love to talk with you about anything you want to know about my faith. But I’d rather be able to tailor my answers to you personally with a one-on-one conversation, instead of derailing an unrelated post with a generic summary of my belief system.

5) More generally/to render redundant the above rule: stay on topic. I mean, relatively. Just don’t be obnoxious.

6) If you link to anything, please try to be sensitive to what other readers might find offensive–give us a warning if there’s hateful speech, abundant profanity or graphically violent or sexual material.

7) I reserve the right to delete comments and/or banninate as I see fit. (This does not mean I dislike you or am opposed to free speech or won’t let anyone disagree with me. This means this is my blog, and I get to decide what goes on it, including what I allow other people to say here. No one’s stopping you from starting your own blog if you can’t play nice on mine.)

In general, be respectful, thoughtful and open-minded and you’ll be fine. Also please try to use full words, actual sentences, reasonable spelling and punctuation because otherwise I get shooting pains at the base of my spinal column.

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Posted July 26, 2010 by skreps

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