When Cruelty is Trending

Lately the trolls are having a field day.

The conditions are perfect and they’re breeding prodigiously.

An uninvited guest showed up on my social media doorstep late last night. It was a man from a former church; one I hadn’t had seen in 5 years and hadn’t really known all that well prior to that, other than sharing the same large faith community and having a number of mutual Facebook friends. He began with personal insults and taunts more appropriate to a middle school locker room bully than to a grown, educated man with teenage daughters—and then moved to demeaning the many strangers who rightly questioned his tactics.

Over the course of three hours and well into the early morning, the man unapologetically egged on people he’d never spoken to before, immediately disparaging their intellect, their sexuality, and their faith convictions—all the while claiming some imagined moral high ground that supposedly justified his public expressions of contempt. Well-meaning friends responded in my defense, further fueling the man’s tantrums, and before long I too was sucked into the firestorm, exchanging verbal volleys with him, with little regard for their collateral damage to those looking on.

After catching myself in a moment of self-awareness, I stepped back and watched it all unfold and once again grieved a sight that’s become all too familiar. I lamented the fact that there in those unsolicited, bitter diatribes from an otherwise rational adult human being—was yet further proof of the sickness that has afflicted us all.

Regardless of our political affiliations and religious convictions, many of us can see it clearly and we can feel it pressing down like a heavy stone upon our chests: cruelty is trending here.

There is a profound poverty of empathy in our friendships and church communities, our social media pages and political exchanges, our family conversations and our interactions with strangers that we can’t ignore—and I’m not sure how we recover what we’ve lost or remove what’s been released into our corporate bloodstream. Right now the only solace I take, is in knowing that a tired multitude recognizes the symptoms and shares my lamentations.

I spent the past week traveling and talking to groups of folks about the bigger table, and there was unanimity in our exhaustion; great company in feeling the oppressive fatigue of living in a place where compassion seems to be both invisible and unnecessary to so many. With cracking voices, strangers publicly shared their grief over having to disconnect from people they once loved for the sake of their sanity. They talked of dreading the approaching holidays, not sure whether to avoid family gatherings or to risk the conflict surely waiting there. They recounted social media shit storms and family dinner blow-ups. Mothers of LGBTQ children wept over knowing relatives voted in opposition to their own flesh and blood, and that they’ve done so defiantly and with great malice. Muslims talked about living here for decades and only now feeling endangered.

With every story, they reminded me of the trending cruelty. 

And as we diagnose the sickness presently befalling us—we can’t avoid the orange elephant in the room.

There’s no doubt that the man occupying the White House is part of this, but he didn’t create this cruelty—he simply leveraged it to his advantage. He didn’t invent the malevolence my uninvited social media visitor reveled in last night, but he did make it go mainstream. He gave this man and so many like him, license to emulate him—and that’s simply the ugliest truth about where we are in this moment: while those who serve as our representatives in the world continue to lower the depths of human decency, we too will continue to descend unless we resist it fully.

We can’t wait for our political or religious leaders to raise the bar because that may never again happen. We’re going to have to do that ourselves. We who are burdened by this enmity are going to have to raise the flag for simple decency and fight to defend it with the very best of ourselves. We’re going to have to combat this vicious illness by not perpetuating it.

We’re going to have to love the trolls enough not to feed them the empty calories they crave.
We’re going to need to oppose this malice by not replicating it.
We’re going to have to step away from the seductive, slippery slope of putting people on blast.

We’re going to need to keep loving people even when it seems to be a lost and fruitless art.
We’re going to need to make compassion fashionable again.

Yes, cruelty is trending right now.

It’s time we gave empathy the bandwidth it deserves.

Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here.

 

 

58 thoughts on “When Cruelty is Trending

  1. John,
    Sadly, you’re right on the mark. I wrote about that fatigue this week, and a quick search online showed me I’m not the only one who is suffering from “outrage fatigue.” Trolls just outrage us–and suck us in, then spit us out, depleted, exhausted.
    As I prayed and struggled with this, I felt like God was inviting me to something counter-intuitive–gratitude. If you’d like to read more, it’s here: http://www.keriwyattkent.com/the-antidote-for-outrage-fatigue/

  2. Compassion is essential to faith. Jesus taught both by example and parable that we treat each other with love. It seems that in our society today, such kindness is seen as weakness, as being foolish and could be taken advantage of. But as we remind ourselfs at my church, we love because we are Christians, not in spite of being Christians. We love because we are to be the salt in the bread, the light on a hill. Not because we have the legalistic correct theology, but because within live and kindness there is great strength . It allows a suffering soul a place to breathe. It shows society there are other ways to be.

  3. Thanks so much John, everything you’ve said is so true! I catch myself as you did getting caught up in the emotional dramas and have to catch myself and back off, take a few deep breath’s and center myself with the Christ Spirit within. This brings peace, love and compassion into the equation, which causes the result to mellow out at least in me. Then I can precede on being aware of who I am. The Christ Mind or the carnal mind which needs to change as Jesus taught. Planning on getting your book, thankfully in this crisis time we face, The Spirit is still leading if we listen.

    God Bless us all,

  4. Thank you, you have stated very well why I don’t comment here anymore. I realized that I would not invite these people into my home but was letting them in by way of the internet. As I have watched over the months people have just gotten nastier. They start putting others down, then say they do that because that person was nasty to someone else, that it is not their nature (but if they can put this out there, it must be in their nature). Then they end their trashy comments with a peace? There is nothing peaceful when you are trashing someone when you have no idea what they have been thru. You don’t walk in their shoes and don’t even try. Can’t be bothered, just slam them, make them feel worse rather than try to help. So I have decided that for my health I will stay away. People aren’t interested in a conversation they just want to yell at you and tell you how wrong you are, how you are going to hell or whatever. It is mean spirited and yes it is being fed from some pretty high places. I would ask that if you see yourself in these statements you might want to look at your heart and perhaps change, just saying. To those of you who have remained positive and loving I give you my Peace and Love.

    • Kathleen B, I have only been here minimally for similar reasons. There is enough stress in my life already that needs to be managed without deliberately engaging in stress.

      One place where I did intentionally do battle was on a friend’s Facebook page. His nephew was coming on to every posting, no matter what the subject at hand, to castigate his uncle and his uncle’s friends for saying things that did not agree with his rigid beliefs (earth is 6,000 years old, any science that contradicts something in the Bible or that isn’t spoken of at all in the Bible is false). Uncle was trying to keep peace in the family by responding to his nephew respectfully and generously, but that was allowing the nephew to dominate and drive away Uncle’s friends. I started noting every time the nephew had highjacked a thread and stated that I had ceased to be in conversation with my friend because I was tired of being abused by the nephew. Other friends said they too had not been conversing for the same reason. Of course, this brought further abuse from the nephew. Uncle realised that peace was not to be had with his nephew and set a firm boundary without having to block his nephew. Respectful, thoughtful and insightful conversation has bloomed again on Uncle’s page. The continuing worrisome thought, and nothing that I can do anything about, is the many people that nephew has surely driven away from God with his sour behaviour and continues to drive away while he feels fully confident in his moral righteousness.

  5. I fell prey to the negativity at first until I caught myself. I started applying what I had read in your book and the peace I felt was overwhelming. It is too far easy to get caught up in the emotion and negativity. It is so draining.

  6. Great Story John
    The Real Issue here is : Media, Story, Drama , Training up society in the way of sales , business, money
    Everything we see on TV is programming from early on to be violent, see violence, respond to violence and over and over again we see it.
    TV Protrays Thugs as heros and wonder why we have the problems we have.
    When we as a society Thro out morality, values, accountability , integrety and more for the mighty dollar, the ratings, the wow effect .
    Why wonder ?
    You and all who read this should be madd a H—–
    You and all who read this should be making changes to your own direction and what you allow into your life.
    Well we all know thats not going to happen
    What is going to happen is , there will come a end to this mess we all have accepted , created in the name of diversity and acceptance and it will spiral out of control.
    Well the Bible Says, and I Quote the Bible , Not my opinion : that the thief comes to steal , take, erode, corrupt, change for evil all you have and all you are . so as to deceive many.
    That is right To Deceive as many as He(the devil ) can before Gods final Judgement.
    In order to stop this mess from the sinful spiral Down .
    We , YOU , our family’s Must take a stand, Stand for Right, Stand up and call Sin what it is. NOT just more diversity, and acceptance of all who sin.
    Love what is True, Right , Good
    Hate ( dislike) what is wrong, evil, NOT Godly , NOT supporting what the bible says is right, NOT mans view.
    This means YOU must look, seek, find out what is right.
    Read Proverbs , Leviticus, Deuteronomy
    Provided for man to save man from his own evil nature.
    We , All are incline to do evil all the day long .
    It is our adamic nature
    But
    God is the restrainer, Control on life, factor that give man a self controlled purpose.
    Thru Jesus Christ we seek not our own will , but the best for all, good of many, holiness

    • Do you see anything of the Pharisee in your post? How many times in the Bible are we instructed that ours is not to judge? Jesus calls us to humility and compassion. Want quote bible verses? Dig out your concordance and reference ” he who is without sin cast the first stone ” or ” brood of vipers ” or ” father of lies “.

  7. But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles.
    — Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
    Grief is not an enemy or a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being human.
    Grief is the cost of loving someone.
    Since grief comes to everyone, why do some people seem to work through it better than others?
    “Some people think that going through the losses or crises of life are the exceptional times,” says Dr. H. Norman Wright.
    “I see it differently. I see the times of calm as the exceptions. Life really is going through one loss after another, one crisis after another. Instead of avoiding talking about these times, let’s do our homework. When you know what to expect, you’re not thrown by them as much, and you’re going to be better able to recover.”
    Lord God, teach me to embrace my grief and not fight it, so that I may experience the true healing that comes from You.
    Grief is a Unique Experience
    O LORD, You have examined my heart and know everything about me… Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex… You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. — Psalm 139:1,14,16 (NLT)
    You may feel it is useless to talk about your grief because no one truly understands what you are going through.

  8. Yes, trolls can have a field day when we non-trolls get sucked into their cognitive dissonance. There are even online course to teach people how to troll. Some people have commented on your blog who show evidence of matriculation from such courses.

    Then there are those who may not have taken those classes but who are so dedicated to only one issue, they are blind to everything else.

    What’s worse is that we see cruelty abounding in our governement. We see cruelty to children fleeing unspeakable horrors in other countries. We see cruelty when families are torn apart. We see cruelty when contributing members of society are no longer allowed to contribute.

    We see cruelty to our own fellow citizens and disguise it as “religious liberty.” We see cruelty in a budget that would strip Medicaid and Medicare of funding, despite the millions of people who depend upon it, probably even members of our own families.

    There are lots of antichrists among us, disguised as family members, friends, politicians. Anyone who finds reason to refuse to care for the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, provide the needy with what they require is an anti-christ because that person is ignoring Matthew 25, the Beatitudes, and every other word recorded in the Gospels and in the books telling us about the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures.

    We must not attempt to confront the trolls and the antichrist by ourselves. We must do it in community. We must put on the armor of Christ. We must be filled with the Spirit who illiumines our monds and softens our hearts. Then we turn ourselves to the work to stop cruelty and show the real Jesus to the world.

    For myself, and others are welcome, I feed my soul and spirit every day with the things I share with my group Celebrate What Christians Have in Common on Facebook.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1409874399270377/

    Then so armed, I move to fight on the side of the angels with actions, evidence, facts, information, petitions, phone calls, sharing on my Facebook group, Gloriamarie’s Progressive Stuff. https://www.facebook.com/groups/gloriamariesprogressivepetitions/

    Both are safe, troll-free environments. If you wish to concentrate on prayer and worship, rather than arguments, if you wish to rejoice in the company of like-minded, civically active people, please join us.

  9. I try to keep my comments to respectful statements and facts opposing the erroneous and negative comments spewing out of the mouths of so many people. But it is so hard. I believe in the 12 rules of Karma and I have had to print them and post them on my fridge to remind myself that the ultimate goal is love of all human beings and that in this journey, whatever I may do or say will have a future impact on my soul and the soul of others. I am struggling with how to balance trying to live up to that quest for love and standing up to the hatred and the injustice without causing any more harm.

  10. Thank you for letting us know you continue to be challenged by provacateurs yet do not give up.
    May God continue to fill you and all of us who follow you with Grace.

  11. While your assesment is spot-on, John, those of us with a modicum of compassion are finding it much more difficult to not respond in kind. We’ve tried and tried again to engage in a civil, rational, reasonable discourse only to be met by more cruelty and irrational retorts. The choice is either walk away completely or let our baser instinct kick in with our own scathing responses. Lately I’ve been doing the latter. And I must admit it feels good sometimes.

    • Rollie, I agree completely with you. John is very correct in most of what he says here, and for that reason, there are times when I completely back off of social media – to calm down, to breathe and to remind myself that I mustn’t let negativity take over. Having said that, however, there are also times when I don’t give a damn about whether or not I’m feeding a troll. I will call these people out on their bigotry, sexism, homophobia, what have you. “When they go low, we go high” doesn’t work with these people, and I’ll be bloody damned if I’m going to let their cruelty go unchallenged. The trick, I think, is knowing which battles to pick and which to walk away from.

    • I asked John about this very issue at his book signing here in Wake Forest… as I often get into these discussions with his adversaries on Twitter, but I try always to maintain my dignity, my composure, and my biggest rule being to NEVER get personal in my replies… but to respond only to the substance of their tweets. And what he said to me which is something I will keep in mind forever, is that while I may never change that other person’s mind or heart… we have no idea how many hundreds of other people will be reading those posts. How many might see someone responding in a way that reflects Jesus and not hatred, that calls out bigotry and false narratives…but does so while respecting the other person’s humanity no matter how much we disagree with their statements. And THAT is something that not only allows me to always come out ahead of them… both as a Christian living what I try to proclaim, but also knowing that I was able to stand against hatred and not lose who I am and what I want to be. And who knows what person might be questioning what they’ve been told and learned that might read those tweet threads… and see which type of person they want to be as well. I write for THAT person….not for the bigoted troll that I might be responding to at that moment. And while it’s VERY hard for me to let them get the last word in, I try to know when the point has been made and stop responding any further. That for me is the hardest part… I do NOT like giving someone else the final say. 😉

    • When tempted to respond in kind to cruel comments, I try to stop and remind myself how unhappy or alone or empty or powerless the person must feel at some level to make such hateful comments. I remind myself that it is not my goal to heap more hurt on an injured person. It isn’t easy, though.

  12. I just wanted to take the time to thank you.

    Your blog has served as a soothing balm to my anxiety and fear over the past year. I’m lucky in that most of my family and friends share my beliefs and ideals for the world. However, you often lay out thoughts far more eloquently than I am always able to do myself, so I often share your blog posts when I’m trying to articulate how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking.

    Your words matter so much, so again, thank you for providing some hope and clarity in these dark and treacherous times.

  13. Mr. Pavlovitz,

    I do agree with your post and it is sad and disheartening. It is easy to get sucked into the vitriol. It is hard to step back when you feel everything you believe is being attacked.

    While I cannot understand why so many see things so differently than I do, I also understand that those others feel the same way about me. How do we bridge this gap?

    I cannot change my loathing for the man who is our President. On the other hand I find it hard to see former President Obama as the man many believe led us to the abyss. As has been said, the truth must be somewhere in the middle.

    My most comfortable position has always been in the middle until last year. This last election has made me angrier and more frightened than ever before.

    My husband and I have lived through 2 recessions, loss of jobs and hours, disheartening debt, and the rest that life throws at all of us. We were able to work through these bumps in the road.

    Nowadays I feel powerless. Maybe that comes with age. I want Utopia – where everyone is happy, secure and safe, where everyone is treated equally, where every person knows their worth. I want unicorns and rainbows. I can always dream.

  14. Thank you. I rely on you as evidence that there is still sanity out there. I am sorry that you had to endure yet another storm of malice and I so appreciate your putting all this into words – so many of us feel this but haven’t been able to verbalize it. And I thank you for raising the flag of simple decency and standing steadfast.

  15. This is a big issue but a temporary one. Not unlike all other highly emotional big issues that have come and gone over the many decades I’ve witnessed.
    One place I worked there was a fellow employee who delighted in creating “fun” at others expense simply for his own enjoyment. I decided I wouldn’t respond to any of his shenanigans and witnessed a person frustrated that he couldn’t move me.
    That is what is required to shut down the crazy nonsense so prevalent today. Any comeback response only inflames and never but never instruct or causes the perpetrator to change their ways. They achieved their goal of raising ‘hell’ and feel vindicated in doing so.
    If all Americans and all media quit publicising the negativity of the orange one and his followers the problems would quickly go away.
    But that won’t happen because those who want to fight back will say, “oh, we can’t let it ride as though it is okay”. Well duh; what has improved with all the push back? Yea, please count the victories from fighting back!
    The fight that matters is helping to elect responsible people to all stations in life and that goes for church leaders as well – vote them out and bring in people who really care about people.

  16. John I think we are all dealing with this. I know I have been unfriended by people I have known. I guess they are so afraid of having to look at a different perspective, that they just want to wash us out of their lives. I feel that the truth is the way for me and the most important people in my life still are in my life. It does make it hard on family gatherings

  17. It’s hard not to respond in the same vein as the taunts. I too am guilty of it occasionally, despite my online reputation (on places like Patheos/Unfundamentalist Christians) for being gentle and reasonable.

    But you need to defend your sanity. I personally find that if a person is getting on my tits too much, I would rather remove their negative influence by blocking them. This is not cowardice; it’s sanity. Especially if that person only ‘knows’ me through online channels. It really doesnt matter to me what strangers think of me.

    If someone is being horrible to vulnerable people, I would rather address my comments to the vulnerable – saying things like, ‘not all Christians are like this fellow’ and ignoring the blocker’s replies to me. My ministry, such as it is, is to the hurting, not to the thugs. Although I appreciate that the ‘thugs’ are probably hurting too, I would rather limit the damage they cause first; the bullies are never going to be changed by anything I can say to them. But the smoking flax I will not quench, and the bruised reed I will not break; I’d rather heal them.

  18. Abraham Joshua heschel once remarked, “We are commanded to love our neighbor: this must mean that we can.”
    Who is my neighbor? All people are my neighbor. It takes supernatural patience to understand what motivates trollish Behavior and not retaliate with trollish Behavior when one is being targeted by a troll in my humble opinion. And that surely is the point!!

  19. “And as we diagnose the sickness presently befalling us—we can’t avoid the orange elephant in the room.”

    It’s interesting that you can’t see the trees through the forest.

    How many times do you need to be reminded about the plank in your own eye?

    Try being nice…

  20. Very well said. Trolls and other social arsonists feed on the rage they seek to evoke. The only way I know to frustrate their aims is the classic “do not feed”. Insisting on treating others factually and courteously is also the right thing to do.

  21. John I agree with your piece. However, I do want to note that the left-side of the equation was in full-bloom during the Democratic Primary so it’s not only not all Trump, it preceded him. If you were critical of positions or decisions of Clinton, cries of racism and misogyny were everywhere. It was not just bottom-up– the “bernie bro” narrative was designed by strategists and fed to foot soldiers. This continues as anyone that voted from Trump is branded a racist by many people. As long as the Democrats are pretty much owned by Wall Street, there will be much insulting and trolling framed around racism and sexism from the left to avoid the discussions of class and equity that would not serve their Neoliberal Agenda.

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  23. Mother Teresa was once asked by a young man “How can I serve the Lord?” She replied, “find your own Calcutta.” As much as there are fools out there shouting through social media to anyone who will listen/read. There are also the angels in disguise who feed the poor of spirit, love the brokenhearted and raise the hearts of men! Just as we believe in the power of love and God’s love , we have to believe in the existence of evil and Satan . Have faith my dear John, you are among the majority despite these fools and the gong show of dysfunction in Washington, D.C. Signed a neighbour from the north!!

    • Quoting Mother Teresa won’t get you very far around here, considering she was a misogynist in their upsidedown morality and thinking.

  24. John Pavlovitz and Friends. The major point I have been trying to make here on your blog (and on my blog) for going on four years is the FACT that Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and the so-called Religious Right have succeeded in kicking the LOVE of Jesus Christ, his generosity, his compassion, and his empathy out of the hearts of their own fundie followers, out of their fundie churches, and out of the American people they touch and influence. That is why we are seeing all of this evil today, and as long as they are allowed to continue to do it, the matters of concern stated in your main post will get worse, and worse, and worse. As a result of this fundie EXPULSION OF LOVE from the American church writ large, we have inherited a LOVELESS American society and culture that is based on greed, money, the philosophy of “every man for himself,” the canine tooth law of the jungle, and the fundie subliminal belief in the most basic pseudo-tenet of crackpot social evolution—meaning—that only the culturally and socially strong and well-moneyed should have the right to survive.

    I am sorry you lost your cool with that man and his supporters on social media last night. That is precisely why I have lost my cool here on your blog when occasionally confronted by one of these fundie morons. This is why Jesus lost his cool with the money changers in the Temple of Herod and why Jesus lost his cool with the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23. He had learned that his LOVE and being REASONABLE ROBERT with them does not work on people who are “so far gone” that they are seemingly beyond reach. His whip in the temple and his harsh words to the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23 were a final, last ditch attempt to reach them with harshness—but it did not work. As Jesus later observed in his own words, even a man being raised from the dead would not be able to penetrate their thick skulls. And sure enough, Jesus was right—and they killed him on a cross.

    The Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals of today have so abandoned Jesus (his LOVE in Spirit and Truth) that He and his LOVE play no real part in their everyday lives out on the streets of this country—not really and truly. They might mouth the word “LOVE” as a matter of lip service, but it does not ring out in massive action for the people in need in this world—because for all intents and purposes—the fundies have rejected it in their minds and hearts.

    Your conclusion that the LOVE of Jesus is the answer is TRUE—but only to the upper limit of where Jesus experienced it and expended it in this life. His LOVE, directly from him, was never able to penetrate the thick skulls of most of the Scribes and Pharisees. Therefore, I do not think that your LOVE or my LOVE will ever be able to penetrate the thick skulls of the Scribes and Pharisees of our times—who are known as Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. I think the very best we can do for Jesus here on Earth (right now) is to demonstrate to the “unchurched American public” that the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals ARE THE LOVELESS Scribes and Pharisees of our own time, warn people of the leaven of these fundie Scribes and Pharisees, try to protect the American people from these heartless wolves in the political social and economic realms, and as Frank Schaeffer says in the video below: JUST MOVE PAST THEM. After moving past them, we then focus the LOVE of Jesus on saving and helping the millions of American souls who have not been already ruined by the vile leaven of the S & P Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, and all the venom they spit. These millions of unchurched and unreached people are the minds and hearts who are still susceptible to the true LOVE of Jesus Christ. If his LOVE is to be injected back into the church and back into the American people and its culture, it must begin in the ranks of these unsaved and unchurched people who have not been ruined already by the leaven of the fundies. That is where our LOVE and the LOVE of Jesus should be concentrated.

    What about the fundie Scribes and Pharisees themselves? You can LOVE them too. If they are hungry, you can feed them. If they are sick, you can visit them. If they are in prison (and many of their preachers are), you can visit them. You can do all such things for them—expecting nothing in return. That is the right thing to do. However, you are going to have to realize that doing these acts of LOVE will not reach them anymore than the LOVE of Jesus reached the Scribes and Pharisees of his time. Also, as Jesus well pointed out, do not be surprised if your actions of LOVE toward them incite them to turn around and rend you with biting teeth and poisonous venom—or even death.

    Like Jesus, you just have to understand that this is the way they are and this is the evil they have become. If you own a pet pit viper, you can show it all the LOVE of Jesus you like and more—but just remember—a pet pit viper you LOVE every day will still bite you because a poison snake is still a poison snake—and he will behave like one no matter how much you LOVE him in the name of Jesus. And he will only very rarely, if ever, turn into something soft and cuddly that fully understands the LOVE of Jesus that you are giving him/her.

    Like Frank says in the video clip: You can love them all you like—but all of us nonfundie Christians and nonfundie Americans need to JUST MOVE PAST these modern day fundie Scribes and Pharisees like Franklin Graham, James Dobson, the Falwell son, etc.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IaAsBjoaj8

    Their election of Donald Trump plainly shows who these fundie Scribes and Pharisees truly are—for it is their very nature to seek after their own kind and to do the bidding of his master Lucifer—for whom he tells lies day-in and day-out.

      • Yeah, Charles knows all about the love of Jesus.

        Jesus told him that he should show me love at the end of his shotgun.

        Why can’t the fundies find the love Charles has found?

  25. I’m tired. I’m tired of heralding. I feel like I’m in an echo chamber.

    I ask the hateful and cruel this question… What subtracts from you? if you reach out to another sinner, another other different person, in love and compassion, with an invitation to come and share in His healing and peace. What are you personally losing by loving?

    And the counter question… In hatred, what are you gaining? What is added to you?

    I get no answer. Just another diversionary response. I am tired of not getting an answer.

    Any hateful, cruel person… Christian or not or other… is welcome to answer these questions. Because I’d really like to know. Maybe you can shut me up with your answer.

  26. I have a friend who is very good with words and in any debate could strongly oppose any argument even if at fault. I decided to not concede but sway him with kind words and greetings. I normally get the f… word after that because he knows further discussion is futile. He always goes into a funk but I realize that I actually feels better. Trolls feed on your negativity and are normally experts in vitriol. Why fight on their ground when kindness is your weapon.

  27. Now on to more important news: John, I’m still waiting on you to address the passing of the evil pornographer, Hugh Hefner, and how he exploited, sexually abused, sexually objectified, and ruined and wrecked marriages and people’s lives due to their addiction to pornography

    • Oh,. one other thing: Harvey Weinstein. He and Hefner are liberal women abuser, will you say anything about their evil deeds?

  28. Thanks John.

    I also lament that all sense of civility and humanity seems to have evaporated in our society. It’s pretty easy to point at a specific thing or person we don’t like and say he or she is responsible, but in reality we are getting more mean and less kind because we want to. People like Trump don’t gain power unless others believe him to speak for them or find him useful for their purposes. Media pundits don’t get to spew out their bile unless someone is listening and someone is paying. Trolls don’t get very far if we don’t have a social ethic that says we have to “win arguments” nor if everyone agrees that fighting is not fun. It’s hard to deny social justice if we honestly believe that every person should be treated as we would like to be treated.

    At the end of the day, we persist in proving that all people struggle with sin, but it’s sin that we like so we’re really not interested in doing something about it. I’m sorry that someone flipped your switch and you slipped. That can be painful, too.

  29. Trollish behaviour is ascribing every evil attribute you can to someone who marks a ballot paper in a box that you don’t agree with. That’s just sad and misguided and against the ethos of love you seem to want to encourage. I have always belonged to what some here pejoratively refer to as fundamental churches and I can tell you that, although imperfect, they far out -love any other group of people in a corporate sense. They extend a warm welcome to all sinners because they recognise their own sinfulness while at the same time denounce sin in all its forms because that is what Jesus did. I’m sure it would surprise many of your readers that the most conservative Christians are traditionally the most generous with their time and money because they follow the words of their Master.

    • Be sure and read the “About” and “My Profile” sections on my blog—and the approximately 200 articles there. As my friend Jack used to say, your fundie excrement does not smell nearly as sweet as you fundies like to think it does—loved your brief “Thank you Lord that I am not like all these liberal sinners here” speech. On my blog, you will find out how you fundies are just as much conservative sinners as they are:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

      Oh, I forgot. You fundies are not allowed to read anything written by sinners like me because the slightest microscopic speck of doubt in your mind may doom you to Hell forever. Today’s post is about that too.

  30. Pingback: Please, Share Your Healing Gifts – I Am Many Things

  31. Thank you, always, for your good words. I found myself criticizing a trump supporter’s media sources last week and had to go back and apologize (I’m not the bad source police) and delete myself out of the conversation. I’ve been calmer since then, though I confess, still, to a certain amount of smartassery. (sigh)

  32. I am with you brothe . We must resit cruelty and not follow these supposedly representatives, who do not represent us, they certainly do not represent Christ.
    I too have been the victim of unsolicited bitter diatribe. I was taken aback I assure you. When someone you thought loves you, tries to bite you it is horrifying. Keep fighting the good fight. Thank you , Mary

  33. I hate all Trump/Pence supporters.

    I don’t care about the excuses they make.

    They need to reap what they sow.

    They are fascists, plain and simple.

    I have never been filled with so much hate in all my life.

    • I will happily vote for Trump/Pence again, in spite of the irrational hatred coming from the left.

      It’s very sad that the blog host nurtures your hatred instead of leading you out of it. That’s what pastors are supposed to do.

  34. Thank you again for helping me to get through another day covered in the mud splattered on me by “haters.” I have been wondering if there is a simple phrase I could use to respond to their hate-filled rants that would defuse them, that they wouldn’t see as condescending or sarcastic. “You are better than this”? “Let’s rise above this anger together”? Any ideas?

  35. Thanks for this. I’m sick and tired of feeling sad and tired. But also I LOL’d @ the orange elephant in the room. Genius.

  36. I do not write this with hatred. I write this with tears in my eyes. Because I am a lover of people. And I am a lover of America. I write this with sadness and with an increasing fear for our country. Like watching a beloved friend walk down a path of inevitable pain and sorrow–the way Abraham felt when he begged the angels to spare Sodom. This is Sodom time for America and most of the American Church. Everyone thinks of Sodom in terms of sexual sin. But read this: In Ezekiel 16:48-50, God compares Jerusalem to Sodom, saying “Sodom never did what you and your daughters have done.” He explains that the sin of Sodom was that “She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.” Arrogant. Overfed. Unconcerned. Not helping the poor and needy. Haughty. Does that sound like today’s America to you? Today’s American Church? I believe in redemption and resurrection. I weep and I pray–constantly–for my beloved America and for our Church. More and more I have no words and I ask the Holy Spirit to groan for me. Like Abraham, I do not judge…but I do feel an increasing heaviness about our country’s future. I do not know to do with this post other than to share and, I guess, ask that we, like Abraham, join together in prayer for the salvation of our country and our Church. That ears be opened to truly hear. That hearts be softened. That the Holy Spirit will give us Christ-like powers to defeat the deafening/blinding/numbing Devil with just the right words and actions. In Jesus name….

  37. Your observations are on target. I am a long time pastor nearing retirement and have never seen such intense cruelty and an absence of compassion in churches as now. My last two congregations have been extremely unhealthy with several members who regularly conduct campaigns of false accusation and character assassination against pastors and key leaders. There is no acknowledgement of the emphasis Jesus placed on “The Great Commandment.” One member who is emotionally and spiritually diseased recently told me that pastors have it made: an easy life with job security, etc. This is one of the same people who have made her pastors’ lives feel like hell on earth with her dishonest and destructive behavior. I pray for a return of basic decency and an acknowledgement that love is expected of all who claim allegiance to Christ. It has been greatly discouraging to see the rise of cruelty in our culture; it’s even more tragic that many churches are no better.

  38. –John,
    hateful, judgmental, cruel people like that ‘man’ is one of the reasons others do not come to Christianity.
    Isn’t it about LOVE? One doesn’t need to agree, but that’s okay. We must LOVE, reach out, hold on, extend our arms.
    I, for one, despise the so-called Christians like that ‘man.’
    …I sometimes wonder who these cruel people are following.
    Jesus?
    I don’t think so.
    -As always, thank you for your thought-provoking perspectives.
    PS. TROLLS SUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK.

  39. For every troll post I see, I set aside a small donation to Planned Parenthood to honor reproductive freedom and empowerment. Update: It’s adding up fast.

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