Forgive Me, Too

Rachel wrote a very difficult post earlier this week. Then she asked for forgiveness from her readers if she hadn’t dealt with the topic perfectly.

The first was a courageous post.

The second was even more courageous, and I’d like to echo it here, for my readers:

Forgive Me

For my readers:

Forgive me—

When I say too much,

When I don’t say enough,

When I write out of anger,

When I write without feeling,

When I get it right (and I know it),

When I get it wrong (and I don’t),

When my motives become a tangled mix of evil and good and I can’t for the life of me sort them all out.

I wish you knew how often I second-guess myself, how aware I am of my own shortcomings, how grateful I am for your attention and input, how in-over-my-head I feel sometimes, how desperately I want to do right by you.

I stand by the message of yesterday’s post–[fill in your least favorite post by Tony here]–but I owe it to you to tackle big topics like this with as much care, precision, and grace as possible.  So if I failed in that way, I’m sorry.

Be patient with me.

I’m figuring this out as I go.

Thank you for taking the journey with me.

  • Keith Rowley

    I love this. Thank you for your humility.

  • Mich Barry

    You are forgiven, as long as keep blogging. :-)
    Peace.

  • Marta L

    I love this, and definitely appreciate the thought behind it. But I am a little unsure about whether it can be generalized. Asking for forgiveness IMO involves an awareness that you have done something wrong. I read Rachel’s post as courageously and wonderfully saying she agreed with her original point, but that she recognized that because she was human and still growing, she might handle difficult topics like this in a way that caused others pain – and that she regretted the pain, would try to do better in the future, etc.

    I worry that when we say “whatever I have done that you found offensive, I apologize for that,” because it doesn’t seem to involve owning an actual mistake. This is a great thought, but I do find myself wondering a little: is it truly asking for forgiveness if you do this at a general level? Maybe it is sincere, but it does give me pause.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      That’s a great point. Generalized apologies often fall into the trap you mention. But she was pointing to a particular post and acknowledging that her writing was less than perfect — which all of our writing inevitably is. I simply appreciated her saying it, and wanted to echo that.

      • Marta L

        Thanks for replying, Tony. I understand why you want to echo her words; when I read them, I wanted to cheer her on myself! I can understand your post as echoing the sentiment and the concern, and that’s a good thing to do, definitely.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

    Just to be clear, everyone, I am not trying to co-opt Rachel’s apology. I’m encouraged by it. I love that she iterates what I so often feel — that I write to the best of my ability, but nevertheless fall short. That what I write rubs some people the wrong way, even when I don’t mean it to. I think it’s a beautiful post.

    It is not meant to stand in as an apology for anyone to whom I owe an apology.

  • Ratchet

    T, thought you might enjoy this article on writing with soul from the Chronicle of Higher Ed. I especially liked this quote :

    “It’s also taken me a long time to realize that it’s OK and even admirable to admit how much you don’t know, and, when writing an essay, to put yourself in harm’s way—to expose your own flank to whatever poison darts people want to fling at you. (Though I would like to point out, people, that anonymous and bilious comments still hurt.) It may be easier to attack someone who doesn’t admit to flaws.”

    http://chronicle.com/article/Writing-With-Soul/139405/

    I enjoy reading your blog–I learn things and it makes me think in ways I do not usually think without urging. I appreciate the ways you explore ideas personally and academically (and usually without separating those two). Thanks for continuing to expose your flank to poison darts. You provide a valuable service I count on.

  • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

    Tony and Rachel, John Piper’s intention was clearly not AT ALL what you have accused him of. That is absurd. How you could determine otherwise is hard for me to grasp. I understand completely what he was attempting to get across, and it was exceedingly loving. That he removed the two tweets that belonged together, due to folks misinterpreting his offer of love and he didn’t want to cause further hurt to anyone, was also exemplary. But, that’s the type of Christ-like man John Piper is. I have lived through the profound darkness of a shattered dream – that of the stillbirth of my first granddarling. As my two daughters and I were in that dreadfully sad birthing room, the light and life and edification we were enveloped in in the midst of our tragedy, as we awaited the delivery of my daughter’s full term, dead baby girl, was incredible! We were able to lift our arms in praise of the One who gave and took away Lily’s brief, albeit significant life, even as the tears of profound loss streamed down our anguished cheeks. We will never forget the presence of the Holy Spirit as He ministered healing to our parched souls, hearts, bodies and minds. My youngest daughter, who was 15 at the time, pointed out to her laboring big sister and me that it was 3-16. It was a rainy day and we felt as if Jesus was crying with us in our time of deep pain and suffering, even causing it to happen on March 16 so we would always equate it with John 3:16.

  • Chris

    I appreciate the apology Tony, but something I don’t get.

    This observation dovetails Marta’s comment, but…

    In general, in real life an apology comes from an awareness of where and how in particular one has offended or injured another person. In real life, as I said, what might usually follow is a tempering of one’s attitudes. A general softening and a little less stridency or shrillness in one’s presentation so as not to repeatedly offend. At least not in the same areas.

    But in the make-believe world of the blogosphere people continue on with just as much gusto and conviction as before. Apologies seem to take on the cathartic effect that some people have when they enter the confessional booth. Admit your sin, breathe easy, go out and sin again all week, repeat.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      What you’re missing is what I’m doing privately on this matter. That, you are not privy to.

      Believe it or not, the entirety of my life is not public. Things actually happen that I don’t blog about.

  • http://www.dyfedwynroberts.org.uk/ Dyfed Wyn Roberts

    Her apology was courageous and correct.


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