Friday, September 01, 2006

The most dangerous key in the world...

The most dangerous key in the world is the "send" key, or the "publish post" key.

Have you ever received an e-mail like this?
Dear Tom;

It was nice of you to take the time out of your busy schedule to visit me. I enjoyed our time together, especially after being so out of touch.

Faithfully yours,
Aunt Betty

How should I understand this e-mail? Is grouchy old Aunt Betty upset that I don't call her more often? Or is my sweet, loving aunt honestly expressing her appreciation for a visit by her favourite nephew?

If I read the e-mail on Monday, I might interpret it as the former. On Tuesday (or after my morning coffee), I might see it as the latter. The point is that it is almost impossible to properly interpret tone in most peoples' e-mails.

Have you ever dashed off a quick e-mail to a friend, only to find out that they totally misunderstood your intention or attitude? Have you ever received a gruff or ominous e-mail, only to find out via a quick phone call that there was nothing gruff or ominous intended?

(I can see all of my readers' heads nodding. All five of you.)

Me too. In fact, years ago I committed to never using e-mail to communicate anything sensitive, critical or emotional. And any time I have broken that commitment, I have always regretted it.

So, why did it not occur to me that the same is true in blogging? In fact, it is true in spades! (And diamonds, hearts and clubs)! If a personal e-mail is open to misunderstanding, how much more so is a public announcement?

Three times over the past six weeks, some loving and wise brothers have pointed out to me articles I have written on this blog which fall into that "sensitive" category. Either I took on issues that were not appropriate for blogging, or my articles employed a tone (even an unintended tone) that was not godly.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. (Pr 9:8).

I may not be a very wise man, but I am working on it (or, more accurately, God is working on me, amen!) I love these brothers for their grace, courage and mercy. Although I have not changed my stance as expressed in most of those articles, they have shown me more godly and more biblical ways to deal with these issues, and I am humbled and deeply grateful!

Accordingly, I have removed several postings altogether, and edited out some references in others.

My hope and prayer is that this blog may as a result be more profitable to a small part of the Body of Christ (all five of you again!), and that my own heart may be wiser, humbler, and more "useful for the master of the house" (2 Tim 2:21).

Thank you for your patience and grace, dear reader.


JLF said...

But, Tom, the way to get people to read your site is to be controversial... get lots of people worked up... right? Isn't that what it's all about? Readership? Shouldn't we do whatever it takes to get more people to read and comment on our blogs?

Thanks for your humility here, brother. You are a good example to us all.

bradley said...

It's very true what you say. My mum didn't know how to sms very well and always wrote in capitals (IT WAS LIKE SHE WAS YELLING THE WHOLE TIME).

On an unrelated note: have you heard Martyn Layzell's "Lost in Wonder" song? It is an awesome song inspired partially by the hymn that is your blog's namesake. I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone. God bless

JLF said...

I haven't yet heard that version. The version of the hymn that's performed by Fernando Ortega is absolutely fantastic, though. Mind you, just about anything Fernando does is fantastic...