Dr. Catherine Clark Kroeger (1925-2011)

Dr. Catherine Clark Kroeger has died. Kroeger, a professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, helped to change the world for the better by founding two valuable and necessary organizations, Christians for Biblical Equality and PASCH (Peace and Safety in Christian Homes).

Here is her Boston Globe obituary, and a memorial post from Christians for Biblical Equality.

CBE has become a leading voice for what evangelical Christians refer to as an “egalitarian view of ministry.” In its own words, it is an “organization of Christian men and women who believe that the Bible, properly interpreted, teaches the fundamental equality of men and women.”

In the broader evangelical community this remains, sadly, a “controversial stance.” CBE has many opponents and critics among conservative evangelicals, but those opponents quickly learned not to pick a fight directly with Kroeger and CBE. She assembled a dream team of scholars that is to exegesis what the 2011 Phillies are to starting pitching. When it came to disputes over the meaning or interpretation of the alleged “clobber texts,” or over the abuses and distortions wrought on the text by anti-women interpreters, CBE just doesn’t lose. Over the years, they’ve made the proponents of male superiority at the sad Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood look like the Washington Generals. (Sorry for mixing the sports metaphors there.)

Kroeger also wrote an important book called Women, Abuse & the Bible, which became a springboard for PASCH, a resource against domestic violence and an advocate on behalf of its victims within the evangelical Christian community. She continued writing about the topic in books like No Place for Abuse.

In her work exposing and condemning the sin and crime of domestic violence, Kroeger also touched on a theme we’ve addressed here from time to time in our discussions of the World’s Worst Books — theologies that seem to portray God as an abusive husband writ large. The concept of God one reads in some books and hears from some pulpits creepily parallels the usual lists of warning signs for domestic violence. God seems to be a cosmic version of Patrick Bergin in Sleeping With the Enemy — controlling and obsessive and prone to fury if the towels are not just so on the towel rack. Kroeger helped to explore how such concepts of God help to fuel, invite and defend domestic violence — why they’re bad theology and destructive theology.

Dr. Kroeger’s passing has me thinking of my late grandmother, a strict, fundamentalist Presbyterian. Grandma would have frowned on Dr. Kroeger’s work with CBE. My grandmother firmly believed that women were not permitted to lead, to preach or to teach in the church, with the exception being that they could teach other women. So, since she was, in her bones, a preacher and a teacher — someone I think God had called to preach — Grandma taught women’s Bible studies all over North Jersey, dozens of them, working every year with hundreds of women.

And though I never heard these stories until after my grandmother died, that contact with so many women from so many different churches meant that Grandma would have been an enthusiastic support of Dr. Kroeger’s work with PASCH. From time to time a woman would arrive at Grandma’s Bible studies with wounds suffered at the hands of a husband. Such women would quickly find themselves riding home in Grandma’s Nash Rambler, where she would help them pack a bag and collect the children before shuttling them off to a well-hidden Anglican retreat center where the good nuns who ran the place would look after them. And then my grandmother — who in every other case believed that Christians must never divorce — would get her lawyer son on the phone to get started on the paperwork.

Complicated woman, my grandmother, but perhaps no more complicated than the rest of us. I can’t help but think that if Heaven is as we sometimes imagine it, she may be having a fascinating conversation with Dr. Kroeger about now.

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  • Anonymous

    And, that footnote that went missing was going to say:

    *Which is why any argument about how this is ‘just a comment thread’ is nonsense. It’s a group of people communicating with one another. As long as that’s true, it’s not ‘just’ anything. It’s a community.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    I am confused about something. Why is the word “douche” or compound words containing the word “douche” an insult?

  • Anonymous

    Because douches are harmful to women.

  • Froborr

    Because douches are unhygienic, dangerous, associated with easily parodied television commercials, and an Inherently Funny Word. (Seriously, forget the meaning for a minute, that “oosh” sound is hysterical.)

  • http://www.kitwhitfield.com Kit Whitfield

    I think it’s worth pointing out that those of us who are working on setting up a site for those who don’t feel comfortable at Patheos are not doing it to undermine Fred. We’re in communication with him, we’re asking questions about what works for him, and he’s being very gracious and helpful. Likewise, the people who don’t feel comfortable at Patheos are, for the most part, uncomfortable with Patheos but still hold Fred in high regard, and his e-mails have expressed concern and sympathy for them.

    This isn’t a war. This is a bunch of people trying to work out the best way of dealing with changed circumstances with mutual respect and good will. Once we get things up and running, our aim is for the two sites to be places where friends can visit friends easily. It’s about maintaining communities and preserving civility. It’s not about sides, and there’s no need for it to be acrimonious.

  • http://twitter.com/ModernMicah John Divine

    How telling. George Kaplan makes an evenhanded analysis and is immediately told “You’re not part of this community! Buzz off!”

    So do even safe spaces develop into Othering tribes.

    Also, forcing everything into a paradigm of privilege and oppression is ineffective. It’s a useful paradigm, to be sure, especially insofar as it encourages us to seek justice and understanding; but when it becomes an arms-race of claims about who is more privileged than whom, especially on a faceless internet comment board where many of the accusations of privilege are made without basis or knowledge of the accused; and when it indulges in hyperbole, comparing the movement of a popular blog to an idealogically-backward religion portal to gay bashing and the murder of homosexuals in Uganda; then it outruns its usefulness and leads to the kind of tribalism that has been proudly displayed over the course of the past week.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s more telling that you did not read my post. I was NOT comparing the move of Slacktivist to the murder of gays and lesbians in Uganda. I was pointing out that IT IS HAPPENING and that it is an issue for gays and lesbians all over the world. It is NOT a persecution complex, it is NOT a rhetorical or hypothetical, it is REALITY.

    This being said, if it has indeed been interpreted that I was comparing the move from Typepad to Patheos to the Uganda murders, then I apologize. That was not my intention and I apparently miscommunicated it. I hope that this and my previous reply to George Kaplan clears up my point, and if it does not, I will be glad to explain. And I apologize for the miscommunication on my part.

  • http://twitter.com/ModernMicah John Divine

    You weren’t the only person I was referencing, but I rescind my point about the Ugandan legalized-atrocity specifically. All the same, it does little to diminish my overall point: that a community that has formed out of a desire to form a safe space for people who experience or have experienced oppression has taken this framework to damaging lengths. Such lengths, in fact, that even potentially benign disagreement is met with outright hostility, though I admit that this may be a result of heightened stress from the change of location.

    Do you not see the tragedy in a community which prizes its “safe space” culture virulently and blindly Othering people — trolls or not — who express disagreement with the prevailing wisdom?

  • Anonymous

    Regarding seeing the tragedy you mentioned: To be honest… not entirely. Literata — another poster — has put up a fascinating article on her blog regarding the difference between tolerance, pluralism, and “safe places.” In a horribly minimalist nutshell, a “safe place” *will* inherently other a set of people, but a pluralist place will not provide enough safety for those who need it, those who experience their own othering every day.

    This is where my references to privilege come in from earlier. Privileged people already have safe places, a lot of them. It can be said that to a cisgendered, heterosexual, neurotypical male the world already is a safe place. A safe place designed for transgendered, non-hetero people of any gender (male, female, both, neither etc.) is going to be inherently uncomfortable for someone who is not so comfortable with their own identity that they can accept someone who has an identity other than their own. Privilege — as we’ve seen here — leads to a dismissal of the concerns and issues of those who are marginalized. The marginalized, people who are already ‘othered’ by society in large part through no fault or choice of their own, need a place or places to be safe from marginalization. Such a place is going to naturally be antagonistic to those who do not believe that marginalized people need a ‘safe place,’ or have derogatory views of marginalized people. There will be the perception (perhaps real) that an otherwise privileged person — someone who does not experience othering in the ‘outside world’ — will experience othering in such a safe place.

    I am normally uncomfortable with othering in general and in specific. However… In such a safe place, the only people who will be in fact othered are those who do not respect the person-ness or personhood of the people for whom the safe place has been made. Rather than being ‘othered’ by the mere fact of their existence, they other themselves from the community of the safe place by dint of their unwillingness to accept the members of that safe place as people.

    I have probably made a right mash of the debate, and have not conveyed many of these ideas clearly enough, for which I apologize. I also, as you can tell, tend to be wordy as heck. Much of my own privilege probably shows, so do take some of my arguments with the understanding that I may not be entirely cognizant of the exact issues confront that QUILTBAG folk and neuro-atypical folk, and others.

  • http://twitter.com/ModernMicah John Divine

    Your post was great, actually, so don’t be so self-deprecating!

    I appreciate this description, because often these disagreements can flare up over differences of definition. My issue still stands, though; if it’s a tautology that the only people who will be othered by a safe space are people who don’t respect the personhood of others (I’m paraphrasing you — but is it okay if we call “not respecting the personhood of others” “bigotry”? I was going to, but didn’t want to put words in your mouth.)

    So if that’s a tautology, then we again come to the problem where anyone the community rejects as making this an unsafe place is automatically considered a bigot. I find this to be counterproductive both in creating a safe space and in encouraging honest discussion, the latter of which — I believe — is the purpose of this discussion board.

  • Froborr

    I haven’t seen anyone accusing Georgekaplan of bigotry. I did accuse Fractal_zero of misogyny, but given that he used a misogynistic slur, that accusation is already proven.

    Here’s the thing you seem to not be getting: Civility is a matter of tone, bigotry is a matter of content. If someone’s content is bigoted, we will call them on it, regardless of tone.

    We will also call people on callousness, which is even easier to do civilly.

    I can see why you’d get the two confused, since calling either out often requires pointing out to a person that they are speaking from a position of privilege. But they really are different.

  • http://twitter.com/ModernMicah John Divine

    Froborr, speaking of tone, you’re being pretty condescending. I don’t think I’ve suggested sacrificing opposition to bigotry in favor of civility. I haven’t suggested that at all, in fact.

    But a claim like “If someone’s content is bigoted, we will call them on it, regardless of tone” displays the attitude I’m taking issue with. Let me be unequivocal: opposition to bigotry is a good thing. But the charge of bigotry seems to have been raised pretty frequently lately, particularly in the emotionally-charged early stages of the move.

    I understand your point about callousness and bigotry, and it returns to what I’ve said earlier about problems with definitions.

    In any case, I should have known much better than to open a can of worms when it is (for me) very late at night. On the upside, all of you that I’ve been discussing this with have been displaying exactly the kind of behavior I’m *not* taking issue with.

  • Froborr

    Seriously? You think that’s condescending? Man, you have no idea how condescending I can be if I try–and next to people like Izzy, I’m a rank amateur.

    As I may have already said (can’t remember if that was the comment I accidentally erased before posting or not), we don’t wear kid gloves around here. I fully expect that, if I say something callous, bigoted, or cruel, intentional or not, civil or not, I will be flamed–and believe me, I have been.

    If you actually read the threads you’ll see there’s been very few people directing anger at Fred, and a lot of people posting that they understand the reasons for the move even as some of them feel unable to continue (or torn about) posting here. A lot of questions, a lot of concerns, but what anger there has been has been directed at Patheos to an extent and trolls in particular.

    As for bigotry? It is really easy to be a bigot. Any act which treats one person or group of people as less than human is bigotry. Any statement that calls into question the equal humanity of a person or group of people is bigotry. Doesn’t matter what the intent behind it is. Doesn’t matter how it’s expressed. It’s bigotry.

    So I have a choice when I encounter a bigoted comment. I can flame it, which tells the victims of the bigotry that I consider their humanity a settled question and the purveyor of bigotry that the statement they just made is unacceptable, or I can be “civil,” which tells the purveyor of bigotry that their statement is acceptable and the victims of bigotry that I am open to discussion on whether or not they are human.

    I think which I would rather do is pretty obvious.

  • Froborr

    Georgekaplan declared himself not part of this community.

    Likewise, nobody is trying to force anything into a paradigm of privilege and oppression. Saying “This doesn’t bother me, therefore anyone it bothers is weak,” doesn’t need any forcing; it is about as clear-cut an example of talking from a position of unexamined privilege as is imagineable.

    A safe space is definitionally othering to people who would make it unsafe. That’s how it works. Slacktivist is not, has never been, and should not be a universally welcoming environment. People lacking in empathy, bigots, people who demand uncritical acceptance of their remarks, and people who think it’s more important to be “civil” than to be decent will not have a pleasant visit.

  • http://twitter.com/ModernMicah John Divine

    And yet Georgekaplan made an attempt to put a toe into this community, with a post which was not, apparently, a troll.

    Even if nobody is actively forcing the paradigm, the fact is that it has been invoked with mantra-frequency throughout this whole chaos. I’m not defending trolls and chauvinists telling abuse victims to “just deal with” their pain. I’m expressing concern about the apparent acceptance of one ideological framework to define the community’s reaction to new opinions, and the anger with which disagreeable opinions are treated.

    I suppose my point comes down to this: that the idea of a safe space, while rejecting bigotry and lack of empathy, ought to be less quick to label people as bigots who lack empathy. When we approach the point that (as I’ve seen in this move so far) disagreement is immediately met with accusations of privilege and bigotry, the community starts to display some of the symptoms of the very disease it’s fighting.

  • Will Wildman

    And yet Georgekaplan made an attempt to put a toe into this community, with a post which was not, apparently, a troll.

    I have a hard time characterising someone whose only known action is to have stepped into the room to say “You all suck for different reasons” as someone making an attempt to enter a community.

  • http://twitter.com/ModernMicah John Divine

    I have a hard time dismissing someone who raises a reasonable point civilly, without apparent intentional malice, just because they’re not in the circle. Even if he enters the community only for the time it takes to make that point, that’s still an entry, and his idea deserves a little fair play. Blank dismissal of opposing viewpoints is toxic to intellectual honesty; so, too, is blind characterization of those viewpoints. Certainly we shouldn’t accept bigotry, but there seems to be a problem seems to be that the line for bigotry is set so close that an uninitiated newcomer, unknowing of the line’s location, might find themselves unexpectedly under attack. That is not a safe space.

    However, the commenters who are engaging me — and disagreeing with me — without jumping to accusations of privilege or bigotry are doing a wonderful job of both displaying a real safe space mentality and poking holes in my overall thesis.

  • Anonymous

    George Kaplan makes an evenhanded analysis and is immediately told “You’re not part of this community! Buzz off!

    George Kaplan said:

    I’ll freely admit that I rarely comment or read other comments on Slacktivist.

    Looks like I’ll be keeping it that way.

    I repeated his own words back to him when I said he had indicated that he was not part of the community.

    ‘Buzz off!’ I’ll grant sounds dismissive, but given that he launched himself into a situation that he admitted he was not particularly invested in, despite knowing that people were upset, and has already declared that he isn’t interested in continuing the discussion – well, I was quite happy to dismiss him.

    However, I didn’t see George Kaplan’s second post before I answered his first. It doesn’t change anything I said about his analysis, but I do appreciate his good wishes and would like to reiterate mine (which were genuine first time round).

  • Anonymous

    On a more positive note, the original article here made me think of my maternal grandmother, who was one of the most awesome people I have ever had the privilege of spending time with.

    As a child, she wanted to be a doctor. When she wasn’t allowed to study sciences, she made the best of a bad job by getting full training as an administrator at an educational establishment for young ladies in London known as the House of Citizenship. Then she went to Africa. With only her sister for company. In the mid forties. They left the cruise ship in South Africa, bought the cheapest car they could find and drove to Kenya (leaving word that would get back to their parents only after they were out of reach). After various adventures – including breaking down in a lion sanctury – they met the Baden-Powells. My grandmother became PA to Lady Baden-Powell and travelled about the world with her, meeting Girl Guides from hundreds of countries. She came home, met my grandfather and married him in the chapel of Hampton Court Palace (Lady BP blagged it with the Lord Chancellor).

    They bought a farm together, had four children, went through a separation when my grandfather was in action during the Suez crisis – and then he quite suddenly died of cancer. Grandma kept the farm working and raised her kids singlehandedly. She found time to be elected as a local councillor, went through a difficult second marriage, and once (to my knowledge) wrestled a loaded shotgun from a desparate man.

    All of this despite being bipolar and suffering from early onset Alzheimers.

    If I ever can grow a fraction of her style, courage and toughness I’ll be glad.

  • http://style92.livejournal.com/ style 92

    For the sake of being fair to patheos: I found one article on their main page I can (for the most part) get behind.

    http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Its-Time-to-Get-Angry-David-Sessions-03-09-2011.html

    What’s does this guy say is the problem with america? Rich people aren’t paying their taxes. Hey! a view founded in reality! how about that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabel-Kunkle/536930634 Isabel Kunkle

    John: Here’s the thing: there’s a lot of ground between “expresses disagreement with the prevailing wisdom” and “is a homophobe”/”says we should be nice to bigots”/”disparages people’s experiences”. I’ve seen, and been the source of, a lot of venom directed to the latter. I’ve never seen anything directed toward the former.

    I mean, unless you count “gay people/Muslims/women are people and deserve civil rights, there should be a safety net to provide for the less fortunate, we should refrain from bringing up past traumatic experiences for other people as far as is possible, and also kicking puppies is bad” as prevailing wisdom. In which case…yeah, I’m okay with “othering” people who disagree with that, because those people are dicks.

    In georgekaplan’s case, specifically, he got yelled at because he was admonishing people for being–reasonably–upset about a move from a neutral site to a site that actively supports bigotry. His reading of the Uganda post was wrong, but if he’d said something like “Hey, guys, I’m not comfortable bringing Uganda into this for reasons X, Y, and Z” I don’t think there would’ve been any hostility.

  • http://twitter.com/ModernMicah John Divine

    These are all good points; and I hope that I haven’t appeared to argue in favor of bigotry. Personally I hate the stuff.

    My point, though, is that the community is jumping to label people as bigots — sometimes deserved, but sometimes not apparently so. I’ve been following this (lest I also be accused of trying to enter the community without the proper context,) and Fred himself has been accused of ulterior motives of bigotry because of the pervasive privilege-oppression paradigm that is being used to analyze everything. Privilege and oppression are useful, like I said, but one area where their usefulness is limited (though not eliminated) is in the analysis of individual actions and attitudes.

    It’s reached the point where someone expressing a view such as “the move from Typepad to Patheos should not be so cataclysmic” is considered bigoted, marginalizing, and emanating from vast amounts of privilege. Certainly the move should be discussed, and certainly there are many grave issues to be resolved vis a vis the bigoted views of other site contributors, the powers and limitations thereof for Patheos administration, and the design of the comment system itself; however, such a discussion can’t take place if a dissenting view immediately tags its holder as a bigot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabel-Kunkle/536930634 Isabel Kunkle

    Well, the problem basically boils down to this: nobody likes being told how they should feel. I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s always inappropriate*, but it’s definitely something you should think twice before doing, and something you should think long and hard about *how* you’re doing, especially when you’re coming from a place where you don’t have to deal with things like sexism, homophobia, anti-atheism, etc on a daily basis. Doubly so when there have already been a bunch of douchebags saying things that are like what you want to say only actually obnoxious.

    Georgekaplan’s post came off as pretty unfortunate in a couple of ways:

    1. Equating reasonable anger and concern with insanity. This is a pretty standard derailing tactic, and it’s one that annoys me particularly. It is quite possible to be rationally angry; it is quite possible to be angry at X and still maintain its perspective re: Y; and I think that people here were doing that.

    Seriously. I didn’t see anyone threatening themselves or others, calling Fred a horrible person, calling anyone who stayed on the new site a horrible person, or equating this move with slavery/infanticide/burning puppies. People pointed out their issues with the site, said that they were disappointed in Fred for the move, and requested that he address the issues before moving to Business as Usual. That’s all.

    2. False equivalence. Being angry and upset over the move of a long-time community to a site that endorses bigotry is not just as bad as being a troll. Even being disproportionately angry–which I don’t think people were, as per above–is not as bad as coming in at a sensitive time to poke at people. I’m pretty callous, but frankly? I was on fandom_wank back in The Day, and we weren’t allowed to do that sort of thing.

    3. Honestly? Showing up to say that you’ve never commented and you’re not going to start but you wanted to stop by to explain what everyone else is doing wrong? That’s…going to raise a few hackles.

    Again, I don’t think someone who said “Hey, guys, I get that this is a problem, but I’m a little uncomfortable with the [perceived] comparison to Uganda/I myself am going to give Fred a chance to fix things/I kind of like the posting system,” would have an issue. I myself, in fact, have said two out of the three, and nobody took issue. Not to be Californian or anything, but I think a lot of it is about I-statements, and about not telling people how they should be feeling.

    *I’ve had a number of conversations along the lines of “No, seriously, two single people dating/an author not pairing the characters you want/people celebrating Valentine’s Day is not an effort to oppress you, now get the fuck OVER IT” only slightly more veiled.

  • http://twitter.com/ModernMicah John Divine

    1. I (partially) disagree. But first, what I agree with: equating things with insanity is a very troubling rhetorical device. It’s made much worse by its frequency, and it bothers me as well.
    Now: people DID all Fred a bad person, though not in as many words; people who on typepad may have in the past appreciated his careful approach to a humanizing theological worldview, in their anger, claimed that they should have expected such a hurtful action from an evangelical christian / cisgendered heterosexual / male. I agree that it’s not for me to say whether their anger is appropriate or not; however, I don’t think it makes me a bigot to claim that it’s not appropriate to automatically assume the worst motives of someone who has given many, many, many reasons for you not to do so.

    2. I don’t think I made an equivalence between the people who are angry over the move and trolls. At least, I certainly didn’t mean to, and if I did then I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Sorry.

    3. This is basically my complaint? That a community which serves the twofold function of being safe for people with marginalized identities and discussing the content and themes of a blog would raise high barriers to people attempting the latter if their actions are so much as perceived to be in opposition to the former.

  • Anonymous

    That a community which serves the twofold function of being safe for people with marginalized identities and discussing the content and themes of a blog would raise high barriers to people attempting the latter if their actions are so much as perceived to be in opposition to the former.

    People don’t have a civil right to discuss the content and themes of a blog in its comment section. Actually, if there are enough people that don’t like the community here but want to talk about the blog with random internet persons they can start their own slactivistwatch forum or something. It’s not as if Typepad!Slacktivist was even moderated for heaven’s sake.

    And you are still missing the main point, which is that PEOPLE WILL BE EXCLUDED ANYWAY. There are high barriers to entry either way. Hey, even when slacktivist was less safe people talked about being intimidated by how rigorous the argumentation was so there you have a barrier to entry that’s completely unrelated to political or safe-space issues.

    The question is, who do we exclude ? The people who due to their personal experiences are uncomfortable and wouldn’t post in an unsafe environment ? Or people who are intimidated by having to keep the former people in mind ? What kind of conversations do we want ? Endless privilege 101 flames, or the discussions that arise when you can mention the word “privilege” without having someone derail the conversation into a privilege 101 flame ? (I think the first slacktivist comment thread I ever read, which was years ago, was a feminist privilege 101 flamewar between Bugmaster, Jesurgislac and Hapax. So this isn’t new at all)

    The current community consensus favors the latter. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the former but there’s nothing wrong with the latter either and it’s the one we chose. for now.

  • Anonymous

    …and now I see you’re still around, George Kaplan.

    As far as I can tell, I’m still on my handle. Compared to the round of swearing that immediately preceded my post, I thought ‘buzz off’ was pretty light, actually – especially as it was what you had already stated your intention to do.

    I read your analysis, in the context of having closely followed everything that has happened over the past few days on both Slacktivist sites, as being pretty careless and therefore callous. Your next few posts have shown that that was not your intention, but can you at least see where I got the impression?

  • Anonymous

    I have a hard time dismissing someone who raises a reasonable point civilly, without apparent intentional malice, just because they’re not in the circle.

    John Divine, I’m not sure if you’re still talking about my response to George Kaplan, but if you are I think you’re rather mischaracterising it. You’re attributing a motive to me that I don’t recognise at all – until today I’ve been mostly a reader rather than a commenter, so I’d hardly consider myself part of any circle (if there was such a thing).

    You saw George Kaplan raising a reasonable point civilly; I saw him characterising every other commenter as fitting one of two rather unappealing stereotypes, neither of which quite fit my observation of reality (which of course could be flawed, but it’s all I have to go on!) and doing so in a casual, flyby sort of way. He turned up and said ‘the problem with you lot is…’ That’s not particularly civil.

    As people have said above, a safe space is going to be different for different people, and what is a safe space for one person is going to be fraught with pain and difficulty for someone else. To make this place a safe space for people who are willing to engage in civil discourse, those who prefer uncivil discourse must be told that it won’t do.

    There’s plenty of room for discussion about what is meant by civil and uncivil discourse. George Kaplan’s first post was, as far as I can see, definitely in the uncivil box (with a side order of ‘likely to continue to make people in pain unhappy by caricaturing them as having ‘lost their minds’ i.e. dismissing their pain as unreasonable’). If that wasn’t his intention (and his later posts indicate that perhaps it wasn’t) then there’s an easy way to return to civil discourse – he could apologise.

  • http://twitter.com/ModernMicah John Divine

    alfgifu
    That post was actually a reply to Will Wildman. I’ve been using the Reply button with the faith that it will display the name of the person I’m replying to. Does it not do so? To be safe, I guess i’d better start writing names at the top of my posts…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabel-Kunkle/536930634 Isabel Kunkle

    For an example of Doing It Right: someone, who I unfortunately don’t have time to look up, mentioned the reasons *she* had for not calling people bigots except under certain narrow sets of circumstances. People disagreed with her, but politely, and nobody got flamed–because, I think, she framed her post as “I don’t do this” rather than “You shouldn’t do this.”

  • Anonymous

    John Divine
    It probably does. I’m still a little clumsy at following what’s happening here, so it would be easier for me if you made in clear in the text of your post who you were replying to, but that’s probably just me so I wouldn’t feel the need to go out of your way to change what you’re doing!
    Also, sorry for the assumption that your posting is All About Me. :) I’m going to head to bed, before I embarrass myself further. Good night, all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabel-Kunkle/536930634 Isabel Kunkle

    John: Hm. I can’t really respond to point 1 very well, having missed a lot of the typepad stuff. That could be either really not okay or understandable, depending on the phrasing. “It’s easy for you to say/do X, because you don’t have to deal with Y Z Q, and I need to remember that in the future,” seems reasonable enough. “I should’ve expected no better from someone like you” is less appropriate, yeah, given Fred’s general history.

    That said, I’ll have to go back and take a look before I can give a definitive response there.

    2. No, my bad: that was Georgekaplan’s false equivalence, not yours. Should have been clearer about that.

    3. Well, yeah. My thing is that I don’t mind that. There are a lot of people in the world, and a lot of places where people can talk. If a forum where I hang out only gets the ones who are willing to be reasonably careful about what they say and take privilege checks with some amount of grace, I’m…not seeing a problem here.

    It’s a bit like being told that I’d date more if I wasn’t so picky about men, y’know? :) The assumption there is that the thing before “if” is something everyone wants or should want, and I just don’t agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabel-Kunkle/536930634 Isabel Kunkle

    Also, I am now heading off–points made are not being ignored for content, but because I’m trying to kill my PCs with zombie wolves.

  • Nenya

    Hell, GROUP HUG for anyone who wants it. <3

  • Anonymous

    Hell, GROUP HUG for anyone who wants it. <3

    Hell yes, it’s been that kind of an evening.

  • Anonymous

    Just to add: I did not purposely ignore the remainder of the discussion, and I appreciate the engagement and would have liked to continue it. Unfortunately, I’m a bit out of spoons at the moment, as RL is being a bit busy. I apologize for leaving the conversation at that point, but please be assured it was not in a huff or in a puff, and I think some excellent and wonderful points and discussion have been made in it.

  • http://fromtheshadows.ca Elsie Goerzen

    Dr Catherine Clark Kroeger has been an inspiration to many. If you are interested in continuing her work, consider coming to a Peace and Safety in the Christian Home (PASCH) conference she was in the middle of planning when she died: ‘Emerging From the Shadows: loving, reflecting, pursuing justice together’ to be held in Abbotsford (near Vancouver), British Columbia Canada May 12-15, 2011. See website fromtheshadows.ca.
    Elsie Goerzen, Abbotsford, BC

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Ah, the limits of the Like button.

    Nenya, hugs from me if you want ’em, and my “like” on your sad post should be taken in the spirit of “I support you, and I support your feeling that this community is a safe place to express your sadness when you’re sad, because that’s what community ought to be about, darn it.”

  • Nenya

    Aw, Nicole, hugs from you are always treasured! I am delighted to see you commenting again. (I know you’re busy of late, but hi!!)

    I looked at my post and went, “Damn that’s a wall of text,” but then I thought, “Hey, it’s Slacktivist and I they probably won’t mind. Much,” and also this format makes things wall-ier than usual. So I proffer fresh hay for the teal deer wandering in anyone’s backyard, but also really appreciate all of the support.

    *hugs, and reallyisgoingtobednowreally*

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You know, I am reminded of something that someone said in a post on the Typepad side a few weeks ago before Fred moved the blog to Pathos. That person complained that Fred only ever mentioned notible Christians who were doing something idiotic or bad. I protested this claim, saying that he mentions plenty of good things done by Christians* as well, and I am pleased that my refutation is supported by posts like this.

    * In this case, I am refering to things done that are tied to or based off a person’s faith. Of course good deeds can come from anyone of any faith, and should be celebrated when they are, but rarely does one see those good deeds as necessarily being driven by that person’s faith.

  • http://purplekitte.livejournal.com/ purplekitte

    It’s nice to hear the ‘God-as-abusive-husband’ interpretation talked about in such length. My girlfriend has an extensive metaphor/rant on the subject that she once gave me, but since she made her version up from her own atheist heart, I’d never looked around for it in real modern religious scholarship.

  • Kitti

    This may be a little late, and I haven’t read the entire thread (for which I apologize, but I wanted to say this before I forgot about it) but. There’s a particular John Scalzi quote that I think is rather apropos, and it is this: “The failure mode of clever is ‘asshole’.” He was speaking in fairly narrow terms, but I rather think it applies more broadly. I might even go so far as to say it’s a universal principle. And one that I think most people (self included) could do to write in big block letters and display prominently near their computers. Actually I have. Mostly because I think it’s funny, but it’s also a good reminder.


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