Sunday, January 11, 2009

Proper BLOG Etiquette Or "The Tongue Is A Fire"

Due to the provocative nature of the discourse surrounding some of the subjects covered on JTO, please allow me to offer a few suggestions. When posting an article or leaving a comment on a blog:

1. Understand the language in which you are communicating. This includes carefully choosing words and knowing the definitions of the words chosen. For instance: the word "heretic" means: "A difference in faith in God itself" (St. Basil) or those who do not baptize in the name of the Trinity. (Canon 95 of the Quinisext
). "Heretic" does not mean someone who doesn't agree with you on church political matters, has a different ethnic slant, is unorthodox in some minor doctrinal matter, who doesn't fully understand an Orthodox doctrine, or someone who is just generally unlikeable. One should take great care to not easily accuse someone of being such in blog discourse, especially if you are a fellow Christian. Another instance is the use of the word "condemn": "to express an unfavorable or adverse judgment on; indicate strong disapproval of; censure". To point out the error of a person or a group is not to "condemn" them personally. It is one thing to condemn an action, it is another thing indeed to condemn the person or group themselves. Make sure you are using that word in right context.

2. Do not neglect the subject of the discourse by resorting to personal accusations of someone's
motives and character. It is always best to know the person and to have looked into his eyes before being confident that their motives or character can be judged. Words levied at a person such as "spiteful", "hater", "hate-filled", "self-professed Christian" and "mental or verbal terrorist" are examples of judgment words. It is simply unreasoned name-calling which has no redeeming value and brings enmity.

3. Judge a person's actual words and do not attribute to them anything they have not said or written. If in doubt as to the meaning of a post or any element in it, ask questions in the comment section of the blog. This will allow further and more complete understanding. For Instance: If someone points out that Israeli
Christians, women and children are being targeted and killed by Palestinian missiles, and that our Bishops should condemn that if they condemn Israeli violence, do not presume the writer is a Christian Zionist who fully supports all Israel does and who is against the Palestinian people.

Just some thoughts!

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