should we take it seriously? Other bloggers have to speak for themselves. As for me???
In a previous article I wrote (here), a commenter, Mike, cautioned me about how "risky" quoting someone can be and how it can lead to "gossip". Actually, he didn't like much of what I had to say, at all. He even assigned an ulterior motive to the purpose of my article. Unfortunately for my commenter, that part of his critique proved totally false. In his critique, he included a quote, which he attributed to me, but was actually written by someone else, from another website-- Erick Erickson. It can happen. When folks read a lot of sites covering the same subject, folks can get confused as to what they read and who said what. That aside...
I do think personal criticisms need to be taken seriously. One-- because it's prudent. Two-- because I may need to repent and apologize (which is expedient to be done as quickly as possible--like Mike did when I pointed out his error). Three-- because I may learn something. In this case, with Mike, I found his caution unfounded. Rather than let his critique simmer on the back-end of my article, I'm using it for an example to consider as a guide in discerning the value of a critic's criticism and the validity of what I say.
Firstly, we disagreed on premise. "Gossip", to me, is passing on private information about someone with malicious intent. I had no malicious intent, nor do I think Kirsten had any. One author says this about gossip:
"The Hebrew word translated 'gossip' in the Old Testament is defined as 'one who reveals secrets, one who goes about as a talebearer or scandal-monger.' A gossiper is a person who has privileged information about people and proceeds to reveal that information to those who have no business knowing it." [To read more on gossip, go here/link]
So, did I really gossip about Andy Stanley? did Kirsten Powers? I don't think so, the information I had was not privileged, nor private. It was public knowledge. Also, Kirsten Powers is a well-respected journalist and popular news analyst. It's presumptuous to consider she'd attribute a private personal quote to someone that is not hers to reveal or was not freely given--she's a credible writer. Journalists protect sources--they don't expose them. She went to Andy in an interview situation to acquire his opinion. He gave it. She quoted it to reinforce her position on what she deems homosexual discrimination, albeit others, including I, see as a religious discrimination issue. So, given how many people have written about Andy Stanley's quote to Kirsten, I felt quite safe in re-quoting it after I found it at the source of her own article/here.
Given the ripple of public scrutiny and troubling confusion created, a retraction would be in order if it weren't true. To my knowledge, Andy hasn't requested one, nor has he walked back the statement.
Anyone can say something they wish they hadn't (Mike regrets his mistake with me). I'm a bit snarky at times (I'm working on it). I don't think I erred when I lamented my mental and soulful weariness regarding Christians who try to live as Jesus would want in all areas of life (as in the case of the Seattle bakers), only to have their concerns tossed aside as irrelevant by a brother-in-Christ with prominent status.
Since the issue went beyond that of the bakers in Seattle to the bill in Kansas, which inadvertently coincided with the Arizona law, we must recognize this as a much larger issue in our country. Even Eric Metaxas, a minister instrumental in Kirsten's recent conversion to Christianity, disagrees with Kirsten and Andy; he said so on his facebook page when Erick Erickson's rebutted Kirsten's views:
"I'm afraid that in this my dear friend Kirsten Powers and pastor Andy Stanley are mistaken. I believe their hearts are absolutely in the right place, which is perhaps the most important thing, but in their ultimately standing aside so that the Religious Freedom of Kansans and other Americans can be disregarded, they are missing something very important, something crucial, and with great ramifications for all. Let our conversations on this subject be civil and respectful, but let's have them."
So, folks, I make no apologies for writing about a subject I find most "crucial" as Metaxas affirms. As a blogger and a sister-in-Christ, I saw a need to support fellow Christians and defend their position.
As Christian bloggers grapple with issues of the day, we must engage with caution, in a spirit of grace, but we must not sit silently on the sidelines while religious liberty is crushed beneath the feet of rulers who usurp the constitution and the conscience of man, either.
So I wrote about the quandry of it all. It was not gossip. It's a matter of exhortation, similar to what my commenter tried to do with me in his critique and caution. We learn, we share with one another...then Christians must pray. We offer apologies, ask forgiveness wherein we err, and move on. Most importantly, we must look at Scripture and stand on it, and it alone, to make decisions when we speak, think, or write. For me it's all about Jesus and I won't leave Him out of my conversations. Without Him, I am nothing. ~hariette petersen @SelahVToday