Blocked

At 10:36 PM on Thursday, August 25, 2016, I was blocked from the popular Facebook group, Christian Bloggers Network.  At over 9,000 members, CBN is a conglomeration of bloggers from all corners of the Christian faith; a place where such well-known bloggers as John Pavlovitz and Jory Micah regularly share their work.

The group has often been a source of controversy, a place where Jory Micah and myself were once kicked out for espousing non-complementarian views of gender.*  It is notorious for lack of moderation, and there have been multiple periods in which trolls simply seemed to run free without fear of consequence.  But it has also proven, for many of us trying to establish a foothold in the blogging world, a good place to connect with and learn from other like-minded bloggers.

The posting guidelines have always been fairly free-form, with diverse conversation encouraged even on controversial topics.  So, even though we could expect opposition, many of us chose to post there because it gave us opportunity to expose the corruption and hate seemingly endemic to the broader conservative Christian culture which dominates the American church.

However, recently the group has taken a turn for the worse.  This month, the group was handed over to a new administrator, Derick Dickens.  With this appointment, there were promises of better moderation of comments and an end to the hostile and often abusive behavior of a small but exceptionally vocal group of trolls.  These promises proved entirely empty in the following statement by Derick Dickens:

While Dickens claims he is only acting in the best interest of the group, a quick look at the evidence demonstrates he is being anything but straightforward here.  He is serving a personal agenda of bias and denigration.

https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/413510038687207424/gTiGdpU4_400x400.jpeg

Derick Dickens

Before I take a look at the controversy itself, it is important to take a moment to determine: Who, precisely, is Derick Dickens?  In answering this question, I decided do some research.  The following seems relevant to the conversation.

According to Dickens’ Facebook profile he is a Presbyterian and “confessionally reformed Christian” who wishes to distinguish himself from “Liberals, Catholics, and Evangelicals.”  He is a speaker, a professor, and a “Gospel Minister.”  He has graduated from Liberty University, including an MBA, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.  Dickens’ LinkedIn profile lists him as a leadership expert.

This is more than a little vague, but conservative non-evangelical Reformed Presbyterian certainly indicates he is likely to be decidedly antagonistic toward the LGBT community.  A look at his blogging history quickly confirmed this.

Anti-LGBT Sentiments

Dickens has written blatantly anti-LGBT posts on the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood site.

For instance, Dickens openly supported the homophobic rhetoric of Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty.  I found it particularly telling how Dickens chose to spin this article.

Instead of analyzing the actual words of Robertson, Dickens chose to focus his attentions on how much “liberals” are supposedly persecuting and abusing Christians.  In doing so, he intentionally ignores that in the same GQ interview in question, Robertson also said the following:

I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, I tell you what: These doggone white people—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues. (source)

Let that sink in for a second. Dickens’ hatred of the LGBT community is so strong, he fights to paint Robertson as an upstanding Christian man targeted and persecuted for his faith.  In doing so, he conveniently glosses over the fact that Robertson called black persons in the Jim Crow South “happier” and “godlier” than the “entitled” black community of today, which has apparently been heathenized by welfare.

To further put that in perspective, Phil Robertson believes that the black community was better off when schools, restaurants, restrooms, drinking fountains, and public services were all segregate – a time when black persons were not permitted to vote.  Robertson, born in 1946, was nearly 20 years old when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed.

Further Dickens once said a transgender man’s only hope to find sanity is in the cross of Christ.  This transgender man was H. Adam Ackley, who at the time had chosen to transition from female to male while on the theological faculty of Azusa Pacific University – a decision which led to his dismissal.  That is, Dickens refused to call Ackley a man, referring to him in the feminine multiple times before questioning his faith, calling him an unrepentant sinner, and saying he needed to pursue sanity.

Despite the fact that Ackley was fired as a result of gender discrimination, Dickens maintained there was nothing wrong with firing him and that, in fact, criticism of Azusa Pacific’s actions among Christians served to diminish the Gospel.  He also argued that “transgenderism” is evil because it violates a Christian worldview, which mandates “biblical” gender roles (read complementarianism).

Posts such as these provide a telling window into the prejudice involved in Dickens’ management of the Christian Blogger’s Network.

Statement Analysis

It is no coincidence, then, that the current controversy centers around the topic of LGBT equality within the Church.  Several LGBT bloggers and their allies have been outspoken with their views and shared blog posts and general opinions accordingly.  These posts were met with a flurry of abusive comments as well as antagonistic counter posts.  As tensions continued to escalate, the moderators were forced to make a decision.

Laura Haines – blogger and LGBT ally – pushed to enforce the existing commenting guidelines, which seem more than adequate for dealing with things like name calling, insults, inflammatory rhetoric, and attempts to derail the conversation with other various forms of trolling behavior.

Provisions for dealing with such behavior can clearly be seen in these screenshots.

However, Dickens and other members of the moderating team decided to instead outlaw all discussion, issuing the statement pictured above.  As I read this statement, a number of inconsistencies stood out to me.

1. The group has an explicit policy that all persons be called by their preferred labels.  As an example, the policy asks that someone wishing to have their faith labeled as complementarian be referred to as such – hardly an accidental choice of words given his CBMW affiliation.  It is troubling, then, for the administrator of the group to refer to all LGBT persons as “homosexual.”  In doing so, he not only refers to gay and lesbian persons in a manner many consider offensive, he also entirely erases bisexual, transgender, pansexual, intersex, asexual, polysexual, agender, and gender queer persons.  This statement entirely violates the commenting policies of the group.

Already Derick Dickens has shown he pays a respect to people within his own camp that he denies to the LGBTQ+ community.  This point alone is enough to argue that the entire statement is rife with blatant and unrepentant prejudice.

2. If Dickens truly wanted to promote fruitful and edifying conversation, it would behoove him to enforce the rules he created for the group.  Instead, he chose to embrace the narrative of those participating in abuse and insult by banning all conversation.  It is simply inconceivable to ban a conversation for being heated and thus not “fruitful” while refusing to do the basic work necessary to ensure the conversation remains civil in the first place.

3. It is never in the best interest of a group for leaders to succumb to the wishes of the most abusive and belligerent members.  As administrator, Dickens and those moderators who have remained loyal to him, have made it known that any conversation that these trolls deem undesirable can be completely silenced by creating a heated and insulting exchange, then claiming the topic – and not their own abhorrent behavior – is the problem.  For a leadership expert, this seems the opposite of sound judgment.

The reality is, Dickens’ did not give into trolls because he had no choice.  Instead, it appears he has taken the opportunity presented by controversy to silence a conversation in order to force the group to align with his own personal theology.

While it is certainly his prerogative to do so, the dishonest way in which he has gone about this demonstrates that this is not simply a matter of “peacemaking” but of exercising personal prejudices under the auspices of “moderation.”

Laura Haines’ Letter of Dissent

Among the moderators, Laura Haines was the one person who opposed Dickens’ decision.  Laura is a fellow blogger and LGBTQ+ ally.  Below I have reproduced her letter of dissent with her permission.

***

As several others pointed out, the problem was not the topic or the level of engagement it inspired, but the hostile behavior of a handful of folks who chose to engage in disrespectful and trollish behavior. Moderation of this unacceptable behavior was only 11 days long. And we were all in agreement with moderating and discouraging such, alongside of encouraging respectful discourse and promoting of what others were sharing from their blogs. We are less than 2 weeks out from the installment of active admin and moderators. A learning curve is to be expected. We assured everyone we would not be making sweeping changes, we would simply be moderating for “blatant misconduct” while still “grant[ing] levity in discussions.” We agreed that “the purpose of this group [was] to engage people [with whom] we may disagree.” And this recent decision flies in the face of all of that. I echo the sentiments of John Van Randen and Peter Dunn that it feels like a “slap in the face” and “a case of bait and switch.”

What about members like Zoe Rose? What about Mark Buzard? Both are LGBTQ. Both are Christian. Both have actively participated here. And now we are going to restrict their freedom to even blog post here about something that is very much a part of them and how they live out their life of faith.

Further, it is a demeaning insinuation that all our members here are a bunch of children who require our parenting or a church congregation that requires our shepherding, when neither here is true. We are big boys and girls. Adults. Yes, we should be expected to behave as such and encouraged to. Like Jory Micah said, “If someone can’t handle a heated convo, that is their personal problem to work through.” As moderators, we can inform adults that they can personally turn off notifications for or hide posts they don’t care to see or engage in. We can remind and encourage adults to scroll and look for the blogs and topics that do appeal to them, cuz they’re there. And when one of us resorts to unacceptable behavior, it is reasonable to expect that consequences would be administered for that one. That’s how we treat adults, and how adults should expect to be treated. To now insinuate and treat everyone like children is demeaning and offensive.

Jory Micah said it best, “While I greatly appreciate you taking over this group, Derick, I don’t think this is a fair call whatsoever. I would be highly upset if you said, ‘We are going to stop talking about Christian feminism for a while because it is causing too much of a stir and taking over the group.’ All subjects we are working through, as the body of Christ, will cause a stir. You are shutting down a crucial conversation that both conservative and progressive Christians need to work through. As the leader of this group, your job should be to correct individuals who are being disrespectful and maybe even block them if they won’t stop, but to shut down an entire subject, is to be a controlling leader, friend. It’s not fair and I am very disappointed by this call.”

Like Jory and others who respectfully voiced their opinion regarding this huge change, this indefinite banning of the topic of homosexuality and conversations about it is a “bad leadership call for this group” and “breaks down trust of the leaders.” And I agree further with her statement that “the initial restriction is wrong and will only lead to more wrong restrictions. I hope Derick can be a humble leader and admit this wrong call. We all make mistakes as leaders. There is no shame in retraction of unfair rules and statements.”

I understand you are resolute, Derick. However, I’m hoping you’ll be open-minded and hearted enough to consider the thoughtful and respectful dissents offered and reconsider your decision. Particularly when there are less invasive ways to accomplish your/our personal goals/vision for the group, a number of which have been suggested by both sides.

You brought me on as a moderator knowing full well that we would not always see eye to eye but that we could still agree to strongly disagree. This is one of those times. And it’s a big one. Please consider and consider again.

***

Further Conversation

Laura has also provided me with a portion of dialogue between she and Dickens.  Out of respect for the confidentiality expected in a moderator’s forum, Laura has provided only her side of the conversation.  Below I have provided excerpts from this conversation which demonstrate the ways in which Laura caught Dicken’s in dishonest and deeply arrogant rhetoric.  Where a comment has been shortened, elipses will be used to mark my edit.  Neither wording nor punctuation have been changed.

  • […] Those of us who are free in Christ are preaching freedom to the captives, including LGBTQ people, welcoming them to the fellowship hall of grace, and there are folks in this hall who don’t like it, won’t stand for it, and want us put out, so they call us heretics, lawless, sin-affirmers, and try to shame us for daring to call out their intolerance (which is what bigotry is)!! And you, who as a pastor is supposed to know better, are kowtowing to the worst behaved among our own little legalist/separatist group, and instead of publicly admonishing them for their awful behavior, you’re siding with them, sitting with them, and silencing the freed in Christ, forcing them to keep silent on their freedom and the gospel message they have for LGBTQ people. That you fail to see the distortion of the true doctrine and gospel of Christ in that is as astonishing to me […]
  • You give yourself way too much credit and authority. You are an admin of a forum. You are not these members’ pastor or “shepherd”! And outside of providing a relatively safe environment in which to share blogs and share in discussions within the guidelines stated up front, they do not and should not see themselves as being under your “care” or spiritual headship. Holy cow, Derick? That’s way above your pay-grade here and not what these folks are signing on for! That is seriously disturbing. More disturbing than a 2000 year old debate about what Scripture does and doesn’t say
  • The ones who haven’t figured out yet that your “cooling off” time is indefinite, or as you said “quite a while,” are not upset yet, but they will be. And I may as well tell you that I now have my doubts that you’ll ever lift that ban.
  • Again, no one has joined this CBN forum to come under your spiritual direction or spiritual headship. This exemplifies yet again your well-overblown and worrisome view of yourself in this role.
  • Fairness is absolutely biblical. God abhors dishonest scales and favoritism and upholds justice. While we seek to oppress the weak and marginalize those we deem as less than, God’s plan is to correct that ugly imbalance by making the last, first, and letting those formerly shut out, in, and putting the shutter-outers out.
  • Your timeframe is indefinite. There is a huge difference between a 2 hour cooling off period and an indefinite one […] When you’ve been asked how long you intend to “pause” all conversation on this topic, you avoid giving a time or timeframe. “Quite a while” or some vague and subjective ideal of waiting until a “new norm” or “new culture” is established are indefinite answers and are again telling. Disturbingly so.
  • You had some from “my side” agree with the “pause” when they believed it was simply a pause that would be unpaused relatively shortly. Now that these same folks are starting to realize that’s not the case, they are no longer going to be in agreement with you. And rightfully so. No surprise at all that so many from “your side” agree with your call. They’re the ones who routinely lose their little legalistic nuts over anything LGBTQ, or egalitarian, or “worldly”, or anything that doesn’t have a bible verse in it. To the point of displaying hostility and unacceptable behavior toward their fellow contributors and we who tried to moderate such unacceptable behavior. And yet, rather than focus on fixing the problem of unacceptable behavior, you chose to focus on the issue of homosexuality as a whole and ban all discussion of it indefinitely, giving the worst behaved among you exactly what they’ve wanted from the start.

From these excerpts it is quite clear that Dickens has fashioned himself the authoritative spiritual leader of the Christian Bloggers Network without so much as asking any members  their feelings on this.  Further, while peddling a “short” break from discussion, he clearly intends to uphold the ban for “quite a while” until a “new norm” is established.  But as his own work above shows, Dickens openly opposes any such “new norm.”
He saw his opportunity, and utilized the oppressive and abusive comments of a handful of belligerent persons to silence all discussion of LGBT equality because he does not believe LGBT persons deserve to be treated as equals.  Quite literally, he has chosen to silence the abused persons while supporting and uplifting their believers.

Again, his CBMW affiliations prove influential on his leadership style.  Just as CBMW has backed Together for the Gospel, the conference started and headlined by CJ Mahaney – a pastor who has been unrepentant over his involvement in a conspiracy to silence victims of sex abuse while keeping their abusers in positions of power and privilege within his church.  In fact, the current president of CBMW, Denny Burk, has openly and unabashedly given his assent to statements which imply that the victims’ testimonies are unreliable or entirely false.  It seems Dickens is bringing the culture of “confessing Reformed” (Read:Neo Calvinist) Christianity to Christian Bloggers Network.

My Protest

Before being blocked from the group, I entered into a comment thread on a post by moderator Laura Prater.  In this post, Prater sought to remind the group what topics were considered off-limits.  This post was met with protest by several members, including myself.  As I entered this comment thread, I decided to test precisely how the conversation ban would be applied.

As such, I submitted the following three posts for consideration for the Christian Bloggers Network Facebook page.  All three were denied – again, I am forced to wonder if Dickens ties to CBMW played any role in the denials.

Privileged: an Open Letter to Evangelicals

Injustice: an Open Letter to The Gospel Coalition

5 Reasons Not to Support New Calvinism

At the same time I was submitting these posts, I had the following conversation with Laura Prater.

The video referenced in this screenshot can be accessed here.

https://youtu.be/BGIrAPSZvbU

The blog post mention in this screenshot is available here:

https://natesparks130.com/2016/08/24/confession-anti-lgbt-rhetoric-and-the-dynamics-of-abuse-in-evangelical-christianity/

 


My terrible punctuation here is duly noted, both sentences should end in question marks.

Prater refused to answer any questions regarding application of the “rule” forbidding LGBTQ related posts.  When I continued to press her she deleted the entire comment thread.
However, as she had not removed me from the group, I chose to press forward.  This time I questioned the removal of the thread, and was met by Dickens himself.  At which point the following conversation occurred.

Notice here that Dickens juxtaposes “pro-Marriage” with  “pro-homosexuality.”  This juxtaposition again indicates his blatant antagonism toward the LGBTQ+ community.  After I called him on his supposed “defense” of the rule, I noticed that all three of the above mentioned posts had been denied approval.  I then posted the following comment:

I received no reply to this comment, and was instead blocked and, according to sources, all of my comments were removed.

Conclusion

This is not the behavior of persons looking to give anyone time to “cool-off.”  This is blatant censorship of any person unwilling to fall in line with Dickens rather authoritarian view of his own “pastoral” role over Christian Bloggers Network.  Dickens has proven himself to cut from the same cloth as men like Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney, and Darrin Patrick – all men well-known for their abusive “leadership” tactics.

Sadly, Dickens actions here represent nothing more than the system of oppressive ideology which is currently driving the ship of conservative Christian culture.  The question is, when will we stop allowing men like this to bully us into silence and complacency. Like so many leaders before him, Derick Dickens has demonstrated his leadership is driven by prejudice and a desire to exercise his own privilege in an abusive and authoritarian fashion.

I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 20, when he tells his disciples that they should eschew tyrannical forms of leadership which seek to Lord authority over others and disenfranchise them.  He directly juxtaposes this type of leadership with his own ministry, and with his impending actions in the cross.  As such I feel confident in saying that to seek authoritarian rule over other human beings, as Dickens has done, is an action in competition with the command to imitate Christ in his crucified kenosis (Phil 2:1-11). One cannot be a “Gospel Minister” while using privilege and prejudice to disenfranchise other persons.

**Cover Image from http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/files/2013/12/twitter-blocked-policy.jpg**

*We were later reinstated.

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22 thoughts on “Blocked

  1. So you got blocked from this FB group and cry about it while you block others from your social media account. This must hurt you on the inside deeply l to make a blog out of it?

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      1. I didn’t answer all your questions to your satisfaction? I didn’t answer some of your questions in general? I gave you a label that you believe is false? Those are my guesses.

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        1. Here are the answers:

          You’ve proved unable to engage in reasoned conversation. You repeatedly resort to insult and condescension rather than careful argument.
          You refused to recognize your lack of knowledge, even it was demonstrated to you clearly. For instance, you demonstrate you have done no studies in linguistics or literary theory, yet you insist you understand how language works. Often repeating ideas that have been refuted as if they are somehow new objections.
          3
          You on numerous occasions removed my name from a comment thread in order to harass a woman who came into the conversation. You also take a very condescending and paternalistic tone with women. If you cannot show a friend of mine basic respect, then I have no desire to continue in conversation just because you respect men more than women.
          You refuse to admit your lack of knowledge, even when it is glaringly apparent. When you tried to correct my theology on LGBT inclusion, you used the terms intersex and transgender as interchangeable. Throughout our conversations, you constantly tried to play the expert while demonstrating you have no mastery of the topic.

          Or, for instance, You also harass women for making “feminist” statements, drawing on your apparent mastery of the subject gained by taking a single class in feminist theory during your undergrad.

          You constantly try to obfuscate when caught in falsehood. Rather than honestly engage when you are caught in the actions above. I have had to repeatedly point you back to the topic of conversation after you set out to change the topic.

          For instance, you said that the modern Bible translations water down the Scriptures. When I asked what you meant, giving the example of blatantly and explicitly sexual metaphors used in Ezekiel. Rather than answer the question, you chose to call me a “homosexual apologist.”

          I read a tweet in which you called Black Lives Matter a Communist Trojan horse. I’m not going to pretend there is any reason or common sense in such a statement. It is a blatantly racist and ignorant thing to say.

          Why would I continue in such conversation? I am under no obligation to engage in conversation with a person whose only goal is to harass me.

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          1. As far as the CBN group. I did not challenge them for blocking me. That is Derick’s purview as an admin.

            Instead, I explicitly stated that he engaged in dishonest actions, upheld abusive persons while silencing their victims, and carrying out a personal agenda under the guise of “keeping the peace.” I also showed how he was taking an authoritarian approach where he was appointing himself the spiritual head (shepherd) over persons with neither their input not their consent.

            All of these behaviors are reprehensible and deserving of exposure, especially from a man who is considered a national expert in leadership – specifically in Christian ministry and church settings.

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          2. You’ve proved unable to engage in reasoned conversation. You repeatedly resort to insult and condescension rather than careful argument.
            You refused to recognize your lack of knowledge, even it was demonstrated to you clearly. For instance, you demonstrate you have done no studies in linguistics or literary theory, yet you insist you understand how language works. Often repeating ideas that have been refuted as if they are somehow new objections.

            My RESPONSE >> I did not answer questions to your satisfaction. You also fired off so many questions at one that I refused to work with it……SLOW DOWN. insult and condecesnsion is a result of someone who is too sensitive to word….i.e. having a politically correct mindset because you are a liberal person……ok progressive….. that is the pc word for it because it sounds better……….. I have a lack of knowledge on many things but because I refuse to answer certain question I demonstrate a lack of study. Very ignorant of you Nate. You continually asking me about linguistics….because I mentioned it is like me dating a girl and I joke around alot but she questions every joke which is a sign of insecurity and even some kind of emotional trauma. This is how you are acting when I mentioned this word as well………….. and so you take it to its zenith to tag me as an ignorant peasant as a result. Stop being arrogant about this Nate!
            3
            You on numerous occasions removed my name from a comment thread in order to harass a woman who came into the conversation. You also take a very condescending and paternalistic tone with women. If you cannot show a friend of mine basic respect, then I have no desire to continue in conversation just because you respect men more than women.
            You refuse to admit your lack of knowledge, even when it is glaringly apparent. When you tried to correct my theology on LGBT inclusion, you used the terms intersex and transgender as interchangeable. Throughout our conversations, you constantly tried to play the expert while demonstrating you have no mastery of the topic.

            My RESPONSE >>> I removed your name from some comments when it was meant for someone else. Remember the comment made to you but it seems as it was meant for me and the tweet said so? It helps clear confusion but apparently your knowledge base doesn’t give you the common sense to see that. Why Nate? Why does that trouble you so much? I do that alot unless I want someone else to see what I am saying to another person. Why does that trouble you so much?……………. Women are paternal. I don’t believe I take a condescending attitude toward women……… Often when I hear that it comes from a left pov…….why do I say that? Because it is only those who have a liberal think tank that ever say such a thing. BUT I would ask you can you give me some examples where I made a condescending tweet to a lady about her being a lady……………….. I don’t need to be an expet in LGBT stuff. Common sense can go a long way. i.e. a person is born male they are to be heterosexual but feelings can pull them in another direction….do feelings define who we are? The average person knows LGBT is wrong but it takes educated people to rewire terminology, put a spin on the subject, with humor and sympathy and it puts out something that was once considered wrong to be ok and even right. It totally opposes God’s Word. God makes no one homssexual. If he did why would he destroy Sodom? Why does Paul talk about it in Romans 1? Why does he say such were some of us before we are Saved and lists a number of sin laden lifestyles with homosexuality being among them.

            Or, for instance, You also harass women for making “feminist” statements, drawing on your apparent mastery of the subject gained by taking a single class in feminist theory during your undergrad.

            MY RESPONSE >>>> i don’t harass. I do ask question and sometimes will get sarcastic. Some of your twitter friends…….have you not seen them do what you accuse me of doing to me? I have no mastery of feminism but I know enough of it that it becomes a 2 way road.
            Do you ever preach what you are telling me to your twitter friends?

            You constantly try to obfuscate when caught in falsehood. Rather than honestly engage when you are caught in the actions above. I have had to repeatedly point you back to the topic of conversation after you set out to change the topic.

            My RESPONSE >>> I think this happens because you tend to ask lots of questions at once and then on tweeters come into the picture and ram into the conversation. I have to apologize for me not responding to those questions because they would be important and if I cannot answer something I will admit it.

            For instance, you said that the modern Bible translations water down the Scriptures. When I asked what you meant, giving the example of blatantly and explicitly sexual metaphors used in Ezekiel. Rather than answer the question, you chose to call me a “homosexual apologist.”

            My RESPONSE >>>> I called you a homosexual apologists because much of what I have seen from you, in Twitter, up holds LGBT as good despite what scriptures say and you are rather dogmatic about it. I do not know what you refer to in Ezekiel but throughout the bible we a standard when it comes to homosexualty but you uphold it and seem to chastize even preaches of the Gospel as some kind of bigot or hater when they touch on this subject. It reminds me alot of Nadia Boltz -weber. Same mentality type of thing……..she is apostate btw.

            I read a tweet in which you called Black Lives Matter a Communist Trojan horse. I’m not going to pretend there is any reason or common sense in such a statement. It is a blatantly racist and ignorant thing to say.

            My RESPONSE>>>>> Black Lives Matter is becoming a communist trojan horse. What I mean here is that communists are infiltrating the group and causing the group to do thing that maybe it was not meant to do. i.e the violence….. the trojan horse.
            http://blackcommunitynews.com/the-real-power-and-purpose-behind-black-lives-matter-movement/

            https://www.oathkeepers.org/navyjack-riots-in-milwaukee/

            https://capitalresearch.org/2016/08/communists-involved-in-milwaukee-mayhem/

            Now, it is possible that I am missing something in these stories and they all could line up as bogus stories and I am open to seeing the facts on that but from what I am seeing is that BLM is becoming a kind of trojan horse. Meaning………….it is beginning as a social group but communists are seeking to hide within it to stir up more trouble then what BLM want so? But then again we are talking about anger here and when you have these events taking place you will have thugs who want more then a march. They want violence and war.

            Why would I continue in such conversation? I am under no obligation to engage in conversation with a person whose only goal is to harass me.

            One last thing………something have wanted to talk to you more indepth about is the Gospel because from some of the things I have read in your writings it appears to me that you hold to a different kind of message than what the Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us……… If that is true that is very concerning to me and I would like to know what is your belief on the Gospel. OR just share link in response to my post here and I can read it for myself.

            Good day!
            John

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          3. John, this will be the last comment on this thread.

            I don’t play the “you’re being PC game.” Calling someone arrogant and ignorant is an insult. I am under no obligation to tolerate or deal with persons who only wish to assert dominance with abusive and offensive behavior and rhetoric.

            You do not understand linguistics or literary theory. That isn’t an arrogant statement, it is a real assessment of your proven abilities. I am not required to recognize you as an expert on a topic in which you demonstrate no actual knowledge. It is not arrogant to tell you you have no clue what you are talking about. It is the truth.

            And here is the thing about your demand for me to explain the Gospel to you, I do not recognize you as a person with any authority to pass judgment on me. Your rhetoric is entirely bankrupt, your approach is to dominate through shame and abuse, and those are not qualities in people with whom I continue dialogue.

            I have respected your disagreement and engaged you for months now. You have yet to even once present a well-reasoned answer. Instead, when your words are shown to be in error, you divert attention by changing the subject or resorting to insult.

            I do not subject myself to persons whose only goal is to abuse me into submission.

            Any further comments you send will be deleted.

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    1. I considered that whether hotlinking is illegal or unethical to be the discussion at hand. I was making a case that it was neither illegal or unethical. The 9th Circuit court has said that it is not illegal–not a violation of copyright. Only the Supreme Court can overrule that.

      As for being unethical, that was the question at hand. But I was not allowed to have my point of view.

      That means that it is not about having intelligent discussions.

      I would have preferred the group remain a free for all with no moderation. In that format, there was equality, which is rare in a Facebook group. But in the current format, you can have a complete prat (note the eponymy) not only insult but also ban a person with a PhD. They did not just ban me, but called me childish and stupid before they did so. And that, in my opinion, was a violation of the rule to be respectful, while I remained cordial and obstinate to their correction of my hotlinking.

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  2. Hey, This is Peter W. Dunn, who is mentioned above, “Bait and Switch comment” (I believe that they changed the purpose of the group–I looked for the stated purpose that Derick gave in his post announcing the decision to ban discussions of LGBT, and tried to find that in the group description and could not).

    I am here just to say that I was also banned from the group apparently by Laura Prater, with the accord of Derick Dickens (who has failed to respond to any of my messages and tags). The reason? Because I disagreed with Laura and a few others that hotlinking is illegal and unethical. She said that I must stop doing hotlinking of images in my blog or be kicked out of the group. I was flabbergasted. I thought we were discussing whether hotlinking was unethical–but apparently in her mind she was telling people what they must do or not do, and if they did not do exactly as she said, they were not acting in a Christian manner–it was stealing. So I was accused of being thief because I hotlink in my blog posts. I had never heard that that was even wrong. Since I refused to stop hotlinking, I was removed from the group. I have tried to contact Derick about it but he is apparently ok with it.

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      1. That is hotlinking. You do it with Derick’s picture above (and provide the url/source). I’ve done about 4 public posts on my timeline about the issue of copyright and hotlinking.

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  3. I am incredibly frustrated that so many christians want to impose their own, limited understanding of faith over their brothers and sisters who have reached different conclusions – which are also limited, I might add. (Paul spoke about seeing through a glass darkly – how can any of us credibly claim anything else?) It seems to me that trying to control the narrative simply confirms our fear and insecurity in the weight of our own argument.

    BRW, on Friday, I was blocked from commenting on the Australian Christian Lobby’s Facebook page because I dared to suggest that there were Christ-followers who had studied scripture and come to a different understanding on the issue of sexuality. As we are facing a possible plebiscite over the SSM question in this country, and ACL are one of the loudest voices trying to prevent it, the fact that their response is to simply shut down debate horrifies me.

    Liked by 2 people

Thanks for taking the time to read and engage. I look forward to your feedback, I welcome any criticism. However, as my goal here is mutualy respectful, beneficial conversation, I only ask that we keep civility in mind with our words. Grace and Peace.

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