Honey, Vinegar and a JW

Many years ago I had a neighbor who was a Jehovah’s Witness. This guy would always try to pull me into arguments about the Bible and the end times. He was a particularly joyless individual who always had a frown on his face, and never had anything good to say about anybody.

After enduring yet another long rant from this guy I said, “You know what Bob? I’ll never convert to your religion. Do you know why?”

“Why?” Bob asked.

“Because it hasn’t given you joy. When I see your face Bob, it looks sad to me, and quite frankly, whether your religion is true or false, your angry manner doesn’t make it seem true.”

With that in mind, some of the comments on this blog have become, shall I say, ‘vinegary’?

There’s been a bit of name calling, a lot of jumping to negative conclusions and a tone which has been sour and uncharitable. Some of the tone reminds me of my neighbor Bob.

This has come into a blog which in which I strive to maintain a tone that is friendly and funny, with an edge that makes it interesting to read, but which is, most of all, charitable.

I can’t make others follow my guidelines. I’m grateful for readers, and grateful for those who take the time to comment.

I’ll just leave you all with one rhetorical question:

If you have two commentators, one which sounds negative, accusatory, biased, name calling and bitter, and one which seems open hearted, interested, accepting and willing to be corrected; which of the two makes the more winning argument?

Honey is more attractive than vinegar.

Like the JW named Bob, when you comment with an ugly, bitter and uncharitable tone you shoot yourself in the foot.

  • Anonymous

    I think you regard a “negative commentator” as anyone who disagrees with you. It’s easy to hurl accusations of being “joyless” when you can’t reply to an argument. Just tell everyone that your interlocutor is joyless, afraid, non-inclusive, etc. The same accusations have been hurled at Pope Benedict and yet, he always appears joyful to me. He just isn’t ready to give away the store. I guess he’s precluding YOUR joy. It’s easy to appear to be “joyful,” or “easy to get along with” when you have no standards or don’t care about Catholic identity. That lets those who do appear to be the bad guys with the attitude. In this society, permissiveness always looks better.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Are you able to laugh at yourself anonymous? You just made my point.

  • Anonymous

    Of course, Fr. Longenecker. It’s you earnest, 60s types who can’t see the humor in anything. But that doesn’t mean we have to validate your lack of adherence to Catholic doctrine or Church teachings or your membership in EC. Part of intelligence is humor, but it’s also knowing where it’s appropriate. You have no humor when others disagree with you, but you seem happily to disregard what is important for salvation. But … there’s no accounting for taste.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09744212862956880795 Rebecca

    Father,Ignore the blather. I find such joy in reading your blog and gain new insights into the beauty of our faith from what you have to say.I think that many people ask the wrong questions or perhaps focus on the wrong answers. We should not be so concerned about which language a Mass is said in, or hoe the church is decorated. It only matters whether or not it is faithful to the Magesterium. As long as they church is faithful to that, the rest is window dressing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Thank you Rebecca, and thank you anonymous for taking time to comment! God bless you both.

  • http://www.westofhouse.net Bill

    As I take your post, it comes down to “there’s a right way to say it, and a wrong way to say it.” (and my mother will be so proud that, yes, I finally understand what she meant.) Negative does not mean “disagree”, it just means “spiteful” which, usually, only makes the other side more defensive and less likely to listen to your arguments.In any case, I recognize that my words were becoming uncharitable. It wasn’t good for me, much less doing any good to others – so I stopped responding. And I thank you for helping to point that out.Bless you, Father. (and I mean that without sarcasm… it’s too easy to read something into someone else’s words when all you see are the words.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04053407632823479165 UltraCrepidarian

    Wow anonymous. You have ZERO credibility. And no name either. I think that about sums this up.+W+

  • Jon

    Don’t feed the trolls.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00466358101255792250 Robert Sheehan

    Fr Longenecker, I just want to say that your strong support of life-filled Catholicism is refreshing and sorely needed in the modern world. May God continue to bless you in your ministry both online and off.


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