Why I Follow SBC Leaders Uncritically First and Critically Second

Why I follow SBC Leaders Uncritically first and critically second

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

I am thankful for Southern Baptist leaders at our entities. I am also thankful for our elected officers. I criticize leaders and entities occasionally; just as they criticize Southern Baptists occasionally. But, when I do, I try to interact with words, statements, etc. without using logical fallacies, speculation, etc. I also try to follow SBC leaders uncritically first and critically second. Here is why…

1. My heart is deceitful (Jer. 17:9). I walk every day depending on the finished work of Christ alone to justify me before God. I am also being renewed daily through the reforming of my mind based on the Holy Spirit’s work through Scripture. Although I was raised in church my whole life, I did not repent and believe in Christ until I was 17 years of age. Thus, I’ve only been a Christian for 15 years. The older I get the more I realize how deceptive sin is. Because my heart is deceitful, I can see the sins of others more easily than I can see my own. Thus, I try to temper my criticisms of others with prior criticism of myself. Furthermore, if my criticism is valid, I must be careful to offer this criticism in a manner that is not sinful. Because our hearts are deceitful, it is tempting even when we have a valid criticism, to make this criticism in an ungodly manner, packaged in arrogant or rude rhetoric, etc. In other words, because our hearts are deceitful, we must be careful to make sure our criticisms are Biblically and logically justified, and that our rhetoric does not undercut the truth we’re trying to defend. If a Southern Baptist is trying to protect the truth by sinning, then he or she undercuts his or her message with his or her method. Therefore, I try to make sure my criticism is Biblically and logically valid, and that I offer this criticism in a loving manner without arrogant or rude rhetoric and needless offense. Praise God I am justified by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone!

2. I am trying to love God and my neighbor (Matt. 22:37-39). An accusation cannot be received against an elder except if there are at least two witnesses (1 Tim. 5:19). Granted, SBC entity leaders are not pastors (some are), but I think the Biblical model still fits. We should follow our leaders until they provide us Scriptural reasons not to. Furthermore, if you or I was in their positions, we too could only follow Scripture and our consciences; we would not please everyone. Therefore, I try to criticize in a manner similar to how I would want to be criticized.

3. Leaders have their necks out there answering to over 15,000,000 Southern Baptists and a board of trustees. I cannot imagine the stress that comes with being an entity leader. Just because an SBC leader may not heed my criticism does not mean that he or she is not submitting to Southern Baptists. In a sea of criticisms, whose voice do you listen to? The entity leaders may be receiving praise from other Southern Baptists for the very thing I am criticizing them for. Thus, if they do not heed my criticism, it may mean that they’re merely submitting to other Southern Baptists. Therefore, I try to give the benefit of the doubt when entity leaders do not receive my criticism, instead of assuming the worst.

4. SBC leaders do not answer to me; SBC leaders answer to all Southern Baptists. Most Southern Baptists think that their views represent the majority of other Southern Baptists (even this statement is anecdotal), often based on anecdotal evidence. One’s belief, however, does not make something true. You and I only represent the majority of Southern Baptists if we really represent the majority of Southern Baptists. Furthermore, entity heads and entity workers are not puppets but persons. I do not lead SBC entities through my website, blog, facebook page, twitter handle, or youtube account from a distance. I am not a puppeteer. I am one voice among many equal Southern Baptist voices. The vote of the convention reigns; I do not. Therefore, If I think a criticism is Scripturally warranted, I must bring it before the convention for a vote. Otherwise, I’m one Southern Baptist voice in a sea of other Southern Baptists that may or may not represent the majority of Southern Baptists.

5. I do not have the vote of the convention behind my criticisms. SBC leaders and entities have the vote of the convention. When I make a criticism of SBC entity leaders or entities, unless I have the vote of the convention behind my criticism, I cannot argue, “SBC entity leaders or SBC entities are not listening to me, and therefore, do not listen to Southern Baptists.” If I’m tempted to make such statements, I need to ask myself, “Who voted to make me or my church the leader of the SBC?” A single person or church does not run the SBC; gathered churches run the SBC. All SBC churches run the SBC. Therefore, I try to consider that my opinion may represent the minority. If I think it’s Scripturally warranted enough, I’ll bring it to the convention.

In light of these points, I do not want to discourage loving debate in the SBC. The SBC needs men of conviction in the likeness of Martin Luther, W. A. Criswell, Voddie Baucham, and Carl Trueman. Instead, I want pastors who levy criticisms from a distance to bring their criticisms to the annual Southern Baptist Convention. I also want to encourage pastors and other Southern Baptists to get more involved in the SBC so that you can help “right the ship.” This statement about “righting the ship” goes for all Southern Baptists who affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. We need more interaction at the convention level, not less. To those who are frustrated with slow-moving change, please reject your arbitrary time-table for reformation, and instead, if you’re a Southern Baptist, commit your life to reforming the SBC from within. We need more longsuffering at the convention level. The SBC needs constant reformation based on Scripture alone. Yet, we cannot have reformation without reformers who are willing to love, sweat, bleed, and give their lives for the sake of the gospel witness in the SBC.

How will we respond?

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

Comments

  1. william thornton says

    Not me, Jared. I’m not following any SBC leader “uncritically” if you mean without thinking and reflecting. I don’t think any SBC leader expects uncritical allegiance or followship. Neither do I think any Southern Baptist should be expected to do so as a first priority.

    I appreciate your general thrust here but it would be simpler and more easily understood to say that I give SBC leaders the benefit of the doubt in their decisions and leadership but that I, as all Southern Baptists, have a right to properly express disagreement with them. If this is being critical, then it is intended to be civil, helpful, constructive criticism and is not just allowable but necessary for us to function, not to mention a valuable source of feedback for leaders.

    This business of “Scripturally warranted” criticism is a poor use of the phrase unless we are speaking of some doctrine or practice taught in Scripture. A good part of what we do in our common work, the great majority of decisions, cannot be judged on a Scriptural/non-Scriptural basis. What percentage of the CP dollar should my state convention keep? Should NAMB put 50% of their budget into church planting or a greater or lesser proportion. Should seminaries be spending our money on undergrad education and thereby competing with state educational institutions for students? Should we have some system for annual meetings that allows for remote participation? Should we dispense with “Baptist” in our name? There is an endless list. None of these are questions settled by Scripture.

    The idea that “pastors who levy criticisms from a distance [should] bring their criticisms to the annual Southern Baptist Convention” is not a particularly helpful suggestion. Very few criticism rise to that level. I’ve been to enough annual meetings to understand that it isn’t a very profitable forum for criticism. Take a good look at the crowd that lines up to get to the mics.

    I agree with your suggestions that critics need to be involved, committed, and patient.

    BTW, Al Mohler, Frank Page, and the whole lot of SBC leaders have hearts just as deceitful as yours. We are on level ground there.

  2. says

    Sometimes many believers tend to put the SBC into the category of the church, which may be the reason that conventions become so bizarre with long lines at the mic. Learning to separate the convention purposes from the commission of the church is sometimes tricky. The convention money accumulation practices seem effective in supporting non-church entities, which should always be scrutinized passionately.

    1. Every “jot and tittle” of the convention should be critically examined, which I also take that to mean those that serve the SBC should expect the criticism, whether positive or negative. It is part of the territory, and should be part of the territory.

    2. Churches that send messengers to the SBC should start the “line at the mic” sooner in the year within the local church, so that the line at the convention would be shorter, and the convention could move to get the business done sooner with less drama.

    When men/women invent a way to accumulate money, it should always be examined closely.

    Examination really should be a greater part of the following IMHO.

    Blessings,
    Chris

  3. Rick Patrick says

    I’m more with William and Chris on this issue than with Jared—which I suppose puts me in the majority by about three to one. But even if I were in the minority, I would still speak out and address SBC issues—most often through writing, as I find the convention floor a peculiar and unbalanced setting for any real conflict resolution process, while both voice and vote are time honored approaches in a democracy for bringing about change.

    Of our total offerings, the autonomous church I serve voluntarily forwards more than ten percent—over $100,000—to Southern Baptist causes. With such a stake in these institutions, although my heart is filled with thanks for the service of our leaders, I will not fail to express my convictions whenever I feel an issue deserves greater attention. This is not the work of an angry critic or a stuffy contrarian, but the simple exercise of good stewardship on the part of a Southern Baptist Pastor.

    As to the Five Points (ahem) mentioned in the post:
    1. That EVERY heart is deceitful should never muzzle MY voice.
    2. Love does NOT equal the practice of uncritical evaluation.
    3. Leaders who answer to many others must also answer to me.
    4. It would be ludicrous to bring every concern to the convention floor.
    5. I don’t need the convention behind me—I have both a vote AND a voice.

    For crying out loud, this website is called SBC VOICES and not SBC SHUT UP AND VOTE! In a democratic institution like ours, a denomination practicing congregational polity, it is patently absurd to argue against speaking or writing one’s viewpoint based on the logic that (1) your view MAY be in the minority, or (2) since you don’t speak for EVERYONE you should not speak for ANYONE but simply go to the microphone the second week in June.

    • Dave Miller says

      There is a place where the offering of criticism becomes a critical spirit. Are there Southern Baptists afraid to offer a word of criticism? Perhaps. I’ve not met them, but they must exist.

      But are there Southern Baptists who have crossed the line of biblical behavior, developed a critical, slandering spirit, who badger our leaders with false accusations or an uncharitable spirit? I could name several without drawing a breath.

      We ought always to be ready to speak our minds on behalf of truth and righteousness, but it is NOT an undue attempt to silence opposition to call foul on the bitter, critical spirit too many in the SBC have developed.

      • Rick Patrick says

        Fair enough. But if you “criticize the critics” at least identify them for us. Go ahead and name several without drawing a breath. Otherwise, your general (and therefore broad brush) criticism of SBC criticism is totally ambiguous. Since we don’t know who you’re talking about, we harbor the suspicion you may be talking about us. Hence, whatever Tarheel (whoever he is) said about Jared hitting a dog or something.

        There are two ways to offer anonymous criticism—one is to remain anonymous yourself and the other is to make the object of your criticism anonymous. If I critique a decision by Russell Moore at the ERLC or by Thom Rainer at Lifeway or by Kevin Ezell at NAMB, it is very clear which one of these good men I believe may not be representing Southern Baptists like me in the manner I would most appreciate.

        In this article, Jared urges us initially to view leaders uncritically—to give them the benefit of the doubt. But he does not apply this same approach to the leaders of criticism—for not all criticism is unwarranted and many of history’s greatest leaders were viewed as critics first, from Martin Luther to Martin Luther King, Jr.

        In this article, Jared is himself a critic of critics, so let me criticize him for this one thing—if he would only clarify his position and illustrate for us with names and examples the kind of person he and you are talking about who criticizes without reason, then we could examine the facts and tell if the person truly has no reason or if, from their perspective, ample reason exists to criticize.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Tarheel,

            First of all, I’m not sure it’s touchiness—if you’re saying what I think you are, it’s full blown righteous indignation. Perhaps I am wrong about your little joke. Are you saying Jared’s article about mean-spirited SBC criticism so applied to me personally and the articles I have written expressing my principled concerns that his article “hit” me (the metaphorical dog) thus provoking me to respond by barking (leaving a comment on the stream) as if to imply that whenever someone comments on an article it makes one guilty of whatever is being harshly criticized in the article?

            If that’s NOT what you’re saying, explain, but if it IS what you’re saying, then I’m not being touchy. I am genuinely offended that you are lumping the essays I write sharing my principled concerns about SBC issues with whatever Jared might be talking about here, whether watchdog websites or whatever else. You cannot simply throw out a veiled, drive-by potshot and then say, “Just kidding.”

            So is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” (Proverbs 26:19)

            Secondly, and this may be my primary beef, Tarheel, I don’t even know who you are. Why won’t you identify yourself like EVERYONE ELSE on this comment stream? Is your goal in remaining anonymous the provision of cover so you can take potshots at others, claim humor, and never be held accountable by anyone?

  4. Dale Pugh says

    Well, I was going to add my two cents, but I see that Rick Patrick left a $5 bill. What he said.
    Now my two cents–It looks to me like you’re conflating “criticism” with “accusation,” Jared. They aren’t one-and-the-same.
    I’ve been criticized/critiqued through the years by many individuals. Sometimes the criticism stung, but was very much needed. Other times it was just a matter of personal preference and we went our ways understanding one another better. There were still other times that the criticism was just someone being a jerk, and I told them so.
    An accusation is another thing entirely. An accusation asserts that there is wrongdoing or wrong intent in the person being accused. In such cases 1 Timothy 5 should be invoked and heeded. When an accusation is made there should be evidence that it has merit, and it should be dealt with in a biblical manner.
    No one has to agree with anyone else all of the time. To challenge a leader’s decisions in a critical manner is not a bad thing. To toss about accusations of wrong doing and evil intent is a serious matter and should be met with sober thinking and a critical eye.

  5. William Thornton says

    Do I detect a different view of our cooperative system from younger colleagues like Jared here and elsewhere? I may be completely afield here but am curious if others see the same things.

    What I mean by that question is this: Do some in the SBC see our denominational leaders (seminary presidents, Executive Committee CEO, mission board CEOs and various state convention leaders) as being those whom the churches and individual Southern Baptists should listen to and follow because they are our leaders and this in contrast to our fundamental principle of the local church being the driver of denominational work?

    Granted that we expect some innovation, vision, and leadership from those whom we indirectly employ as our entity heads but any leader who would ask for what Jared appears to outlined as a principle here, that they should first be followed uncritically, should be turned out forthwith. They have the whole matter upside down. Since the SBC has operated for some years on the celebrity system, this may be a product of that.

    It is entirely possible for Jared to be unclear about what he writes and sometimes uninformed for poorly informed about some basic SBC matters but this is what his piece seems to mean as I read it. He is welcome to clarify and expand. I’ll say again that I appreciate what I think is his general tenor.

    • cb scott says

      William Thronton,

      Yes. I, for one, see a distinctively different view of CP supported personnel in the SBC among some of our younger colleagues than that of many who are older among my SBC colleagues. I actually have a name for it.

      I call it the : “Creeping Elder Rule Syndrome” with a major emphasis on the word “Rule.”

      • william thornton says

        And I don’t know how you got to your views that generated this piece, so we’re even on that.

        Let’s try this. I made the specific statement below that includes quotes from the article. Please comment on this:

        “The idea that “pastors who levy criticisms from a distance [should] bring their criticisms to the annual Southern Baptist Convention” is not a particularly helpful suggestion. Very few criticism rise to that level. I’ve been to enough annual meetings to understand that it isn’t a very profitable forum for criticism. Take a good look at the crowd that lines up to get to the mics.”

        And, I made this specific statement based on your words, please respond:

        “This business of “Scripturally warranted” criticism is a poor use of the phrase unless we are speaking of some doctrine or practice taught in Scripture. A good part of what we do in our common work, the great majority of decisions, cannot be judged on a Scriptural/non-Scriptural basis.”

        I recognize that the quick and easy solution to comments that are somewhat negative about what one writes is to declare that the critic didn’t read or failed to understand what one has written. Presumably, you wrote this and put it here the get wider readership and some interaction. Unless, there are rude or unkind comments, don’t you think it would be appropriate for you do respond?

        You could say, “What I meant by following leaders uncritically first is…” and “I would clarify what I meant by bringing criticism to the annual meeting in this way…” and “When I speak of ‘scripturally warranted’ criticism I am not meaning that…”

        So?

        • Dave Miller says

          I’m not sure, William, that you aren’t responding to something that Jared didn’t really say.

          • William Thornton says

            Uh oh, this means trouble…since Dave Miller is known to have a modicum of common sense.

            Well, I did pick a couple of direct quotes, things he really did say. If I am erring on what he meant by such, he should have no difficulty fixing that.

          • Dave Miller says

            All I read was a “give ‘em the benefit of the doubt” and then criticize within the boundaries admonition.

            I’ve observed so much criticism of SBC leaders recently that simply goes beyond the boundaries of godly communication (not talking of you here William) that I guess I am reading Jared from that perspective.

          • William Thornton says

            Jared, do you plan to get around to a response to my specific questions about your piece or will you conclude that declaring what I said to be based on an errant reading of you or on negative presuppositions to be sufficient?

            What did I read incorrectly?

            What are those negative presuppositions?

            I have not been uncivil or unkind, nor did I make the leap od introducing any extraneous issue like elder rule. You’re a PhD student. I have confidence in your ability to engage mild challenges without being dismissive.

  6. Tarheel says

    Wow, lots of assuming going on here.

    It seems to me that some people of the older generation see things differently than those of the younger generation…

    I actually have a name for it. “the creeping Curmudgeon syndrome”, with a major emphasis on the word curmudgeon.

    Lol. How does that make you feel?

    That’s a joke to make a point. Pejorative attacks do nothing to bring forth unity. It makes matters worse and creates/exacerbates hard feelings. Doesn’t it?

    Jared is basically saying that we, as Christians, relating to our duly chosen denominational leaders, shouldn’t incessantly complain and assume the worst of our leaders without good reason to do so.

    • Rick Patrick says

      Well, that seems to move the goalposts a bit. One hundred percent of reasonable people will agree that Christians should not criticize INCESSANTLY WITHOUT REASON. Jared’s post seems to argue more than that. It seems to discourage, for example, the kind of forthright critiques in which I myself engage–OCCASIONALLY AND WITH VERY GOOD REASON.

    • cb scott says

      “. . . shouldn’t incessantly complain and assume the worst of our leaders without good reason to do so.”

      Who among those of us who have entered this comment thread do you have any verifiable evidence have done that or are currently doing that?

      That is just a tad over-the-top there ain’t it, Slick? Now come on. ‘Fess up.

        • Tarheel says

          I will say I wish I had articulated my thoughts about what Jarred was saying as well as Todd and Dave Miller. They seem to have read the article and ascertained th the same basic tenor I did.

          • cb scott says

            Or, there is this possibility: They missed it. Or, maybe they are too trusting? Or, maybe they, like you tend to agree with Jared simply because it is Jared and you tend to disagree with some of us because we are who we are and believe as we believe and shall not budge even though you might tie us to wild horses and drag us from our beliefs, because we know we are right . . . and we know we are right because our understanding of the SBC is far greater than yours or Jared’s or Todd’s . . . and our understanding is simply because we have danced with her far longer than you . . . and are making no attack on your intelligence or commitment whatsoever. . . . we just know her dance steps better.

          • Tarheel says

            So let me get this straight….longevity makes perfect? So one has to now meet an age/length of time “dancing your way” standard to be “certified SBC”?

            Btw, I noticed you attacked me, Jarred, and Todd…but left Mr. Miller out of the equation. I find that interesting. Is it because of, as Mr. Miller likes to say of himself, his advanced age?

            Is this merely age discrimination? If so, how old mst one be and how long must one dance with the SBC, before we are worthy of being in the “club”?

            What kind of southern baptist are you anyway….talking about dancing and such on a public forum!? ;-)

          • cb scott says

            No. Longevity has nothing to do with being perfect. As a matter of fact, no one has mentioned being perfect here other than you. Don’t get into the spin here. You need to get another default mode other than to put a spin on what others state and then claim it to be correct. That is a poor and tiring tactic which should be abandoned at this point in your life.

            And, I said nothing of “dancing my way.” What I said was that we understand the SBC better. My statement had nothing to do with “my” dance steps. It had to do with knowing “hers.”

            Nor did I leave dave out. I covered him in the front end of a very long sentence. Read it again and leave the spin brush in your paint truck. What you need for this job is a magnifying glass and a dictionary to help you see and understand the big words.

          • Tarheel says

            Lol. You (as you normally do) implied (by you’re “we know we’re right statement) that you (yourself) know her (the SBC) dance steps better than those with whom you disagree. You equated (in this comment and others) that length of time and involvement in the SBC with being more bonafide than others.

            Those are poor and tiring tactics that you should have abandoned by this point in your life.

            As for Mr. Miller….You mentioned “they” at the beginning, later called Jarred, Todd by name, but never mentioned him.

            Let me be specific….I wonder do you consider yourself to know “her” steps better than Mr. Miller too?

            Is there anyone, in your mind, who understands “her” steps as good or (gasp) better than you?

          • cb scott says

            So, you forgot to bring you magnifying glass and dictionary to the job site again, didn’t ya? Are you ever going to learn, Luke?

          • Todd Benkert says

            For the record, I do not at all feel attacked by CB and his knowledge of the SBC is indeed far greater than mine. We have had many fruitful discussions in the past and I appreciate his insights and counsel. We ignore the concerns of him of others in the Convention at our peril. That doesn’t mean that I always agree, but this is not MY convention, it is OURS.

          • Todd Benkert says

            Further, let me say that at this point in my ministry, I have received from the Convention exceedingly far more than I have given. Dr. Scott has served the SBC well for decades as a pastor and in various capacities and has a lot more invested in our Convention than I and others like me. He deserves my respect and has it!

          • Dave Miller says

            The only thing CB knows better than me is how to be an obnoxious NCAA football fan. On that, he is truly an expert.

            Hey, guys, there is really no need for the kind of exchange that is going on here (unless insulting CB about football).

            Group hug and someone start up Kumbaya.

          • cb scott says

            “The only thing CB knows better than me is how to be an obnoxious NCAA football fan.”

            Dave Miller,

            The reason the above statement is true is because I have had the opportunity to “be” a FOOTBALL Fan. You, on the other hand, have not had such an opportunity living in Iowa where there are no true FOOTBALL NATIONS.

            However, judging your obnoxious fan nature when it comes to the Yankees of MLB, if Iowa were to ever get Big Boy FOOTBALL, you would be a far more obnoxious FOOTBALL Fan than am I.

  7. Jim Hedrick says

    I will call it in NT language. The Apollos Syndrome. Moderns might know it as the local/universal CEO pastor charisma leadership model.

  8. says

    I’m convinced that some people comment before they read the article. Here are some quotes from the original article:

    “You and I only represent the majority of Southern Baptists if we really represent the majority of Southern Baptists. Furthermore, entity heads and entity workers are not puppets but persons. I do not lead SBC entities through my website, blog, facebook page, twitter handle, or youtube account from a distance. I am not a puppeteer. I am one voice among many equal Southern Baptist voices. The vote of the convention reigns; I do not.”

    “A single person or church does not run the SBC; gathered churches run the SBC. All SBC churches run the SBC.”

    “I want pastors who levy criticisms from a distance to bring their criticisms to the annual Southern Baptist Convention. I also want to encourage pastors and other Southern Baptists to get more involved in the SBC so that you can help “right the ship.” This statement about “righting the ship” goes for all Southern Baptists who affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. We need more interaction at the convention level, not less. To those who are frustrated with slow-moving change, please reject your arbitrary time-table for reformation, and instead, if you’re a Southern Baptist, commit your life to reforming the SBC from within. We need more longsuffering at the convention level. The SBC needs constant reformation based on Scripture alone. Yet, we cannot have reformation without reformers who are willing to love, sweat, bleed, and give their lives for the sake of the gospel witness in the SBC.”

    How in the world does one get “elder rule” from that? I affirm congregationalism. I’m actually coming against “elder rule from a distance.” Some self-appoint as rulers of the SBC from a distance. The local churches, however, rule the SBC. It’s churches plural, not singular.

  9. Todd Benkert says

    The way I would put things is that my default position is to trust our leaders unless and until I have legitimate grounds not to do so. In 2010, we adopted the GCR which included affirming the following core value: “TRUST – We tell one another the truth in love and do what we say we will do. ”

    I think that (1) speaking the truth in love means that we do so without a critical spirit and (2) that I trust leaders when they do what they say they will do. I don’t walk around as a watchdog assuming our leaders are always wrong.

    This does not preempt my responsibility to speak truth or to hold leaders accountable, but it does mean that I do so out of a position of love and unity and not distrust, division and criticism.

  10. Tarheel says

    Todd.

    I agree that it is “not my convention it is ours”. It’s not CB’s either, though. He does not get to determine who is “in” and who is “out”. It’s ours.

    Rick.

    I am sorry that my attempt at humor offended you. that was not my intent. I said it was an off the cuff joke….there was no ill intent there. I hope you will accept my apology.

    As to the anonymity thing….do you know. I mean personally know, everyone who posts here under a name? Some post with only a first name, some with a last initial, others with initials….and still others with pseudonyms. I contend that if you do personally know every person who posts here then you everyone to an extent is anonymous.

    I used this before….here it is again….I could be posting all this time under the name R. Devenport and you would be OK with that, since it is a name….but it simply being a combination of Sheriff Roscoe and Cooter Davenport on the Dukes of Hazzard…you still do not know me.

    No one knows anyone here if the ONLY way they “know” them is online. Period.

    • Tarheel says

      Correction of the last sentence is paragraph two, to Rick.

      *I contend that if you do NOT personally know every person who posts here then to you everyone who posts here (that you do not PERSONALLY know) to an extent is anonymous and certainly not really “known”.

      • William Thornton says

        That nonsense. I’m OK with whatever policies DM has about anonymity (and recognize that some folks have an important need for the same) but one notices that almost everyone who regularly engages here is perfectly willing to use their names and be identified with their words.

    • Rick Patrick says

      Tarheel,

      To be clear, it was not your attempt at humor that offended me—I’m an enormous fan of humor. Rather, it was what I perceived you were actually trying to insinuate by the use of that humor. What was behind the “hit dog” comment? What were you trying to say? Only you can explain that to me.

      Once you explain it clearly, if your apology is for the implication, then I will be more than happy to forgive you. But you do not need to apologize simply for joking, as if the offense was making a joke, when in fact, the possible offense was insinuating that Jared’s article is about me—someone who OCCASIONALLY critiques leaders by sharing reasonable concerns, but does not INCESSANTLY criticize FOR NO REASON.

  11. Rick Patrick says

    Jared,

    All of this would have been much clearer if you would have simply told us exactly who you were talking about when you offered your criticisms of people who offer criticisms. I would know whether you considered me part of that group, as I believe Tarheel insinuated with his “dog” comment, or not.

    As you criticize the critics, at least consider that your ambiguity in criticizing contributes to a confusion that results as no one really knows the subject of your rebuke. In this case, naming names is not rude, but rather it is clear, forthright and honest, allowing others the opportunity to evaluate your claims and the remarks of the critics and judge for themselves if the critics were out of line to address matters in the way that they did, or if you are out of line in seeking to marginalize them and muzzle their voice.

    • Dave Miller says

      I hear that one a lot. But I think that writing a public post about a particular person is generally unproductive and destructive. If I want to confront a particular person, I would do it privately.

      However, there are times when the actions of a particular person get me thinking about general principles of criticism. So, I write a GENERAL post though my thinking may have been spurred by a particular situation.

      Speaking in general principles is best in my mind. You have to avoid the sort of passive aggressive post I’ve seen where you really are confronting one person but just not naming that person. I saw that 100 times during the BI wars.