Sunday, September 2, 2012

A coupla points

Gentlemen (and it is the men) commenting here. You are all welcome, but a bit less use of 'liberal' and 'conservative' and arguments about which is right and best for the church could be good for discussion, which is always better when on the specific issue du jour. Of course, if I post on lib v con, or whether the Egalicomplementarians are destroying the church with their hetereodoxies, then the gloves are off ...

I have taken off the requirement to work out the two words-to-prevent- robots-commenting for a few days and the predictable has happened: robotic comments offering far too much viagra, and silly compliments about how flippin' marvellous this blog is and would I like to visit theirs, have rained down on the blog. So, back on with the requirement ... it is too much work deleting the robots!


Anonymous said...

How come it is that Wordpress blogs don't require you to prove you're a robot, and don't seem to have an excessive number of spam comments posted? Is this just a blogger problem?

Felix Alexander.

Peter Carrell said...

I don't know why things are the way they are but on that score Wordpress gets full marks from me.

Bryden Black said...

frankly, Peter: half the time, this i Robot finds the squiggles totally impenetrable ...! To the point that if I strike 3, then I'm outta there!

Anonymous said...

After a night to think and pray on my participation here at ADU I have made a few decisions.

I will not cease posting, though I will be posting less, in part due to the workload I have with the semester drawing ever closer.

I am happy, Peter, to try and abide with your wish about using labels a little less. That said I am not remotely convinced by Bosco's argument about labels and boxes. If a person is a member of the Roman Catholic Church (or Methodist, Pentecostal...) and happily ascribes to that churches’ theology, is it putting them in a box to call them Roman Catholic? Of course not.

Neither is doing so when using perfectly valid terms like liberal, conservative, evangelical, Anglo-Catholic and so forth.

Moreover, most of those posting at ADU have happily used those labels to describe themselves. Bosco seems to be the only person offended by it.

He also mentions rhetoric and "tirades". Now there might be some truth to that, though I suspect that his version of what a tirade is, to me, just plain speaking. I don't do the kind of double-speak that is popular is some sections of the church. I call a spade a spade. Give me a man who tells me to my face what he really thinks any day, over slippery and often dishonest PC speak.

And I am not sure Bosco is really in a position to be criticising others on the issue. Throwing around laughable generalisations such as "all large evangelical charismatic churches cannot keep intelligent youth and I have statistics from ONE church to prove it" and then complaining when someone points out the fallacy of that claim, is hardly the kind of "engagement" he insists from others. Nor is "sola scriptura is useless". That along with his clear bias in choosing who to attack makes me think we have a case of special pleading and double standards here.

Changing the rules about labels will make little if any difference anyway. As I said, the main problem is the belittling personal abuse of one member against other posters. Until that is dealt with, playing with words will not work.

That said I take responsibility for my own part in this. I admit that using words like "cancer" to describe a certain ideology is hardly helpful and contributes to the ill climate. It's also lazy, an easy way to make a point without offering a serious and civil argument. And so for my use of such rhetoric I apologise to everyone here, and will make a real effort to be more civil and hopefully more substantive in my contributions.

I have also decided to cease responding to certain kinds of posts. I am happy to engage with everyone here, but I will not respond to any post that contains any amount of personal abuse or the belittling of others (including but not limited to phrases such as "amateur theologian"). Hopefully if such posts are just ignored by everyone they will wither and die.

Blessings to all.

liturgy said...

Peter, with the greatest respect, I object to Shawn’s dishonesty and continual misrepresentation of my position.

If he is unable to follow any normal logic and discuss in response to actual comments, but wants to incessantly debate with a simplistic straw man, I object to his giving this straw man my name.

Never have I suggested, nor would I see any point in suggesting, that if a person is a Roman Catholic in good standing, and happily ascribes to Roman Catholicism, that anyone should refrain from using the term Roman Catholic about them.

Never have I said the words attributed by Shawn to me in his quotation marks. Of course I have good and respecting friendships with intelligent people of all ages in large evangelical and charismatic churches, who have participated and been nourished in such communities for decades, and I have happily participated in such churches over many years. I object most strongly to Shawn’s explicit lie.

Since Shawn appears incapable of being honest or logical about what I say I request him to retract his public slur of me – preferably by deleting this clearly dishonest comment, and I request that he desist from referring to my opinions.

I would also ask, Peter, that you be more vigilant when people so clearly misrepresent the views of others. These are not private conversations - these are public and permanent.



Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco
I will give Shawn a night to see your comment and respond. Otherwise I shall exercise my own authority.

Shawn: Bosco actually wrote, "Don’t mention the founder of a Box B highly-successful youth-filled church come and talk to Bosco after the founder had actually done the statistics and found that the average time they stayed in his church was 18 months and, on leaving, joined no other church". It is a misrepresentation to put in quotation marks other words as though Bosco wrote them when he didn't.

Anonymous said...


I remember the conversation we had on that subject well. I may have paraphrased your point, but I have not misrepresented it. I have not lied in anyway. My point about Roman Catholicism was to point out that objecting to labels makes no sense. I have been honest and logical about what you say, but you seem to have some trouble taking responsibility for views you express.

Remember that your claim about the one church you talk about was in fact used as a generalization about similar churches.

I am not debating with a strawman, I am debating with you. Thus there are two possibilities.

One: your doing a very poor job of expressing what you mean clearly.

Two: yourbtrying to have your cake and eat it too, making an argument one day, then when called on it changing your tune the next.

As I said, you made the comment about boxes and labels, I merely pointed out the fallacy of it.

If you want to engage on fierce debate, throwing around accusations about other peoples views, accusing me personally of dishonesty on my approach to Genesis, in other words calling me a liar, and doing so again here, then you can hardly complain when you get a fierce response.

Peter, I would object very very strongly to being moderated on this. Bosco is engaging in double standards. He accused me and others here of dishonesty (lying) about Genesis. I believe I have the right to respond to that. Bosco Is right that this is a public forum. Why then if he objects now to my post, would he have started a debate with public accusations of dishonesty?

I accept that I should have quoted his actual words, but even so, I do NOT accept that I am misrepresenting his arguments.

As you eel know, I have put up with a great deal of viscous public slander from a certain poster and I feel that is being repeated again with accusations of dishonesty concerning my approach to Scripture and my responses to Bosco's arguments. I came within a hairs breadth of ceasing all participation here, but I chose to stay because I think your contributions to debate in the AC and the existence of this blog are important.

But if action is taken against me solely for supposed crimes I have not committed then I cannot see how I could continue to contribute.

Peter Carrell said...

Shawn and Bosco
It seems (as far as I can make out) that your exchanges in mutually categorising each other as less than gentlemanly in conduct of verbal duels may involve some cross-conversations, including (if I understand you correctly, Shawn) a verbal conversation which must have occurred at some time in the past 'off blog.' Accordingly you are entering that most difficult of differences of opinion and fact to moderate let alone reconcile, namely the difference which arises from different memories of different things said, and of things written in comments on posts other than this one etc etc.

On the one hand I do not want to lose either of you commenting here. On the other hand I cannot have commenters here feeling that wrong statements have been made about them in a public forum, or wrongly attributed to them.

Rather than have both of you respond with further justifications, I would ask that you re-look at what you have written about each other and ask whether it is right that such statements continue to remain available in public if they are, according to the other, wrong.

I reserve the right to moderate as I see fit in order to preserve integrity. If necessary I shall just delete a recent series of posts by me. I would prefer to do that than have a series of alleged wrong statements continue to exist in public.

liturgy said...


I think, in principle, off-blog conversations should be supported with a link to where the off-blog conversation occurred.

In this case, however, there has been no off-blog conversation between Shawn and me on this. The conversation you quoted correctly is it.



Tim Chesterton said...

I think Peter is quite right to ask for a little less use of labels, and I note (as a preacher who likes to preach about what the text actually says, rather than what we think it says!) that the two labels he particularly mentions are not 'evangelical' or 'Anglo-Catholic' but 'liberal' and 'conservative'.

I think these two labels are particularly problematic today, for a couple of reasons.

First, in our postmodern world people take a much more 'smorgasbord' approach, rather than swallowing the entire party line hook, line, and sinker. I, for instance, am quite conservative when it comes to the teaching of the creeds and tend toward a high view of scripture, but am rather liberal politically and also in my approach to church traditions (e.g. I have no objection to lay presidency at Holy Communion, though I am obedient in practice of course!), and I also tend to ignore clerical dress most of the time. So am I liberal or conservative? Honestly, a bit of both, and I suspect if we're honest most of us are the same.

Secondly, it all depends where you're standing. Most 'conservatives' in the Anglican world see Rowan Williams as a liberal, but some years ago, when John Shelby Spong came out with his infamous twelve theses, who was the first major theologian to attack them from a traditional, or even conservative, viewpoint? Rowan Williams (then Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford).

So I guess my discomfort with these labels boils down to the fact that they are simply inadequate to cover the subtleties and nuances of people's viewpoints (theological and otherwise).

Peter Carrell said...

Bosco // Shawn

On further reflection.

Shawn: whether you had an off blog conversation, or you are offering a rendition of other blog conversations re past posts, a simple request is being made re changing the way you have rendered something Bosco did say within the past couple of days, so that you accurately represent that remark. Other remarks made by Bosco elsewhere being engaged with need a rendition that is recognisable by Bosco (i.e. either an expression he can see he did once say, or a link to where the expression was made).

Bosco: I am wondering if Shawn's argument with you at this point has it its heart your remarks about people not changing their minds. Part of Shawn's comments here recently has been to say that he has changed his mind (but from 'lib' to 'con' on certain matters).

Either way I am off to a conference for the day and will not be engaging with comments here between 8 am and tea time or even later ...

liturgy said...


I hope your day’s conference was fruitful.

With respect, I think trying to read the mind of a commenter is fraught and should be avoided. People need to respond to actual points, not ones they imagine a commenter would think.

Even Shawn’s made-up sentence, which he falsely attributes to me, talks about people changing their minds. I clearly understand people can and do change their minds.



Anonymous said...

I accept that I should have not placed my paraphrased summation of Bosco's argument in quotation marks.

The conversation I am referring to re evangelical churches took place on this blog a few weeks ago, and I am convinced that I have not misrepresented the point ge was making.

On that and on the other points I made I totally reject Bosco's claims that I am creating a strawman or lying.

Moreover if we go hack a few days to Bosco's posts regarding labels and boxes and the debates here I identified a number of strawmen and caricatures of the evangelical/conservative viewpoint. He also began that series of posts with the accusation that many here, including you Peter, were being dishonest in our treatment of Scripture. Starting a debate with the claim that others are lying is not exactly the kind of engagement he is insisting on from others.

In short there is a case of the pot calling the kettle black here.

That said frankly I am bored with this whole exchange.

I will make a point of being more careful in my responses (if any) to Bosco's posts and asking for clarification of his statements, just to avoid anymore problems.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn,
Part of that care and clarity re posting is to stringently avoid the use of the word 'dishonest' or 'lying' or 'lies' in comments.

Firstly, such accusatory language makes too many presumptions about motivation. I cannot think of any commenter here who sets out to mislead (unless a robot telling me how wonderful this site is and would I like some cheap viagra!). I can think of many commenters here who raise questions (rightly, logically) about consistency, contradictions, incomplete arguments, and the like. As I recall what Bosco said (for instance) re Genesis and my approach, he was highlighting inconsistency in approach to the first chapters of this important book.

liturgy said...

Greetings Shawn

You may be bored with the whole exchange, but you have neither removed nor retracted the libelous remarks, nor referenced (with links for example) the new defamatory assertions you are making about me.

If you have a response to a particular comment I have made, it is normal practice to place that below the comment to which it refers.

It is difficult for me to imagine why I would call Peter a liar in his exegesis of Genesis when my recollection is that, with some clarification from Peter of his interpretation, I could not distinguish his approach from mine.



Anonymous said...

Yes Peter, I agree, but he highlighted wha he thinks is inconsistency by using the word "dishonest". I checked just to be sure.

That is my last word on the issue. I have made it clear in my above posts that I will strive to moderate my language ( though not my views) to avoid further problems, as well as ignore posts containing belittling or abusive language.

It would also help matters a great deal if Ron could stop accusing others of being hateful, vengeful, and so forth, which is partly the issue that drove Martin off. He has used this accusation repeatedly, and it is wrong and offensive and a lazy and uncharitable way to respond to arguments. Just check his recent use of this accusation with Carl in the discussion on the women caught in adultery.

I really do think this needs to be dealt with. This blog will not be a safe place for anyone, but especially Evangelicals, if every time they say something Ron dislikes they are publicly accused of hatred.

Anonymous said...

On second thoughts you are right about the specific comment I made placing words you did not say in quotation marks. That was wrong of me and I retract it and publicly apologize to you Bosco.

It was not meant as a deliberate lie, but it was sloppy and unfair on my part.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn,
I am not going to publish another comment by you where you extend discussion on the matter of "honesty and consistency" as raised by Bosco on August 31 at 10.20 pm.

The reason for doing this is that it contributes further to the 'heat' of the situation. I suggest it does this because the opposite of 'honesty' is not always 'lying'.

If, for example, I say I am feeling not too bad and later you discover that I am seriously ill, then I have not been honest with you and you could rightly plea with me to be honest. But I don't think I have "lied" to you. In the case of academic discussions about views and the like on subjects of complex debates, an appeal for honesty and consistency is not (in my view, at least) equivalent to a charge that lies have been told.

liturgy said...

Thanks, Shawn, for the apology. Accepted.

I am assuming it covers your comment above, September 5, 2012 7:49 AM , where you stated that you had checked to be sure and found me using the word “dishonest” in the thread on Genesis? The only person using the word “dishonest” in that thread is you – in no less than four separate comments.



Anonymous said...

Well I'm not convinced by that argument Peter. The opposite of honesty is lying, so I think my take on that post was right. That said it's your blog, and I am happy to move on. The whole silly affair has taken up far too much time and energy.

For what it's worth please accept my apologies for my role in this. I realize you have far more important work to be doing than moderating a playground spat, and I feel bad that this has been an unwelcome distraction and concern for you.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks, Shawn: accepted!

It is hard to work out what I do that is and isn't important (save for cooking tea so my family eats!)

Anonymous said...


My apology covers exclusively the words in quotes and no more. Other than that I stand by my arguments. We can argue about the meaning of "more honesty" till the cows come home. I am clear about what it means.

Time to move on.

Father Ron Smith said...

"There's a wideness in God's mercy - like the wideness of the sea!"

Why don't we sing this hymn any more? It is pure Gospel.

MichaelA said...

Peter, I am shocked that you have not stood up more robustly for the rights of straw men. They always get lampooned. From the Wizard of Oz to posts on Anglican Down Under, everyone thinks they are fair game.

Its just not right. :o)

Peter Carrell said...

I confess, Michael, to a strange lack of warmth in my heart to straw men, leading to prejudice and dreadful inconsistency in my treatment of them.