23 July 2009

4 lessons from the jim west thingy

Here's what I've learned over the course of my day, since having posted my final argument with Jim West. (It is the final argument, because I'm not going to waste time on further ones.)

1. Rhetoric doesn't matter, so long as you have a 'successful' blog. West stated in his reply to my statement:

Comes with the territory, I suppose, of being #1. Yes, hopper, #1. Say it with me- 4 months in a row (and coming up on 5), #1. When you break the 6 million mark let me know and I’ll add ya to the blogroll!

Hence, if you can garner a lot of readers you can say whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. I will make a note of it. At the end of the day I am wondering if this means that NT Wright is a better theologian that Jim West simply because he has more people read his books?!? Or, is Joel Osteen a more accurate exegete simply because he has more people attend his church than does Jim West? The reasoning simply does not follow. But that was his reply.

2. Challenges to arguments can be dismissed with simple ridicule. I do not have a readership as big as Jim West, and that's fine with me. I'm not trying to win the biblioblogger-of-the-month award, unless I find out it has a substantial cash prize. So, lowly :mic cannot challenge the biblio-statist Dr Jim West because . . . well, because. And rather than addressing the actual challenge, the dialogue resorts to fifth-grade response.

3. Publicly issuing a challenge of someone popular will always make you the bad guy. I'm not the first to discover this truth, and this isn't the first time I've learned this. But it is a good example in that those who have emailed me throughout the day and have sought to comment - on both our sites - have simply followed suit and assumed the worst in me because I said that Jim was out-of-line. Lest we forget that Jim made the initial unwarranted challenges against Craig by taking a work out-of-context and (again) assuming the worst in him, I simply wanted to help set the record straight because this sort of behavior should be considered out-of-bounds.

4. You may say whatever you want so long as it saves face for yourself. This is what I have seen throughout the day, and in the former days of reading Jim's blog. And other blogs as well. The rhetoric is ridiculous, but it is passed over because too frequently our need to win arguments is more important than our need to win souls. Remember, these discussions are quite public.

I have been emailed numerous times today regarding all sorts of issues at play here. One of them is the title of my post, and what a hypocrite I am. I expected this, and retained the title because I wanted to prove a point that I would be more maligned for this one word than for all of the garbage thrown around elsewhere.

Let me explain this way: I often hear people say that George W Bush was a lying, murderous traitor who wanted nothing more than to go to war. Then I finish the logic and ask, 'Then he wanted 9/11 to happen?' Most often I am met with challenges to THAT statement, i.e., 'Your comment was out-of-line.' It is an absurd proposition, but made even more absurd that some people make wild accusations and then cry foul when they are challenged on them.

5. Blogs are meant for personal enjoyment, but are used for personal aggrandizement. The latest charge is that I am a hypocrite because I moderate comments. I do not do so because I only want certain positions to come into play - in fact, I have only turned on comment moderation with the publication of the previous post because I knew the backlash that was coming via personal attacks and vicious statements. And I was right.

So now I know why people moderate, and that is completely understandable. But I also know that some comment moderation is in place for one single purpose: to make the blogger look good. This is the only reason why so many of my challenges to Jim West (which make no statements which are personal or ridiculous) never make it to his comments section. And that is the reason why today happened as it did - because he refused to dialogue about the issue, instead choosing to make himself look good at any cost.

Conclusion: This is what I've learned today. And I am requesting that you remove me from your blogrolls, because the cost of this community is more than I wish to spend. There is more fruitful work for me to be doing, and I will blog in obscurity - where I presently belong. Days like this remind me that online Christians indeed have much to learn about being a community, and perhaps that is one reason why the rest of the world sees no real inspiration within us who were supposed to be out from among them.

If you follow my blog, fine. If you find my blog, good. In the end I will not let this be about me, Jim West, some of the inane people who have viciously attacked me . . . but about God alone.


iamryno said...

I'll drink to that!

:mic said...

steph -
I again moderated your comment out, not because you disagree with me but because you are clearly not getting the point here. Your statement began with "You and I both know Michael that my comment was not a "vicious attack" abusive or demeaning." If you can identify one point where I specifically mentioned you, then you would have a case. But I received MANY emails and would-be comments yesterday which ran the gamut of ignorant to informed, cordial to crude.

My point is that this is not about you, no matter how much you may want it to be.

And therein lies the second point. My final word is given in the last paragraph of this post. I am not trying to make this go on any further (as you do not appear to be done with it). You keep sending me absurd or uninformed comments and then are angry that I don't pass them along. But until you get the bigger picture, you're just going to have to let this one go.

I appreciate that you are a fan of Jim's to the very end. There are others who adore him too. I am not, and that's ok too.

Gideon said...

I don't really know who you are. And I don't know who Jim West is. But I've read this post, and I actually linked to the random notes post. Based on the quotes in this post and based on what you say my response is thus: I am interested in knowing who you are and hearing more of your thought. I am not interested in knowing who Jim West is. Ever.

The space where we are community as Christians and online is a tricky issue... we need be gracious, but how do we deal with those who are not? I've dealt with issues like this before myself and I think you are doing the gracious thing in stepping back. It doesn't make him right in the second by second fame of the internet or even whatever fame he has amongst those who think he has something worth saying - but it allows you to continue to be gracious.

There's value in that. Sometimes we have to kick off the dust and move on and it is hard but grace is not something to be underestimated.

Personally, I'm adding you to my blogroll. A few moments on Mr. West's blog was sufficient for me to be quite happy never knowing who he is. And quite frankly, I'm at a total loss to why he has any sort of popularity at all.