Sunday, November 29, 2009

You Always Remember Your First One

I was going to do a Sundays in My City post today, but I'm feeling compelled to write about my first negative blog comment.

I guess it wasn't really a negative blogging comment as much as a comment that cut a little too close to the truth.

I was reading another person's blog, and posted a bonehead comment about a former vice presidential candidate.

Somebody else read this comment and checked out my profile. 

The individual then posted a comment, stating:

I'm wondering why as a Christian, you would say such a thing. I might not agree with a politician, their stand on the issues, their viewpoints, their philosophy, how they would run the country, their personality, persona and so on. But I would never try to "mock" them or encourage someone else to do the same. Differing with a politician and not liking them is one thing. To go out of your way to ridicule and mock them is another.

Unless I'm missing something here, then I must say that I'm disappointed in your statement.

I replied that the individual was right, and I wasn't very kind. It certainly wasn't my proudest moment.

I understand that if I'm going to write something, then I might as well print it up and wear it on a T-shirt. I own those words, and I need to be prepared to deal with any potential fallout or hurt feelings. Including my own. I'm not going to defend the words, except to say...I was trying to be funny?

But yet, I feel compelled to say this: I am very much a Christian. I know this because I know how very broken and selfish and petty I can be. I know that I say hurtful things because it makes me feel better about myself, and I know that I am competitive, prideful, and at times, very ugly. Christians know that they are broken, and they know that they need fixing.

And so, I dust myself off, accept God's forgiveness, forgive myself, and try to do better. And, I mean, really try.  I hope that this individual reads more of my posts, to see that I sometimes say impulsive, boneheaded things, but that I also pray for my children, and think about my mark on the world. I seek justice. I love mercy. And I try, through prayer and meditation, to walk humbly with my God.

I am more than just a dumb comment dashed off while reading blogs.

It would be petty and easy to write something snarky to make myself feel better. Yet, I'm not going to do that. Why?

Because I'm really trying to do better.


Corrie Howe said...

Nancy, I'm proud to call you a fellow sister in Christ. It takes a person confident in their position in Christ to be able to admit when they are wrong and to apologize for it. And I think it makes a strong witness to others to admit that we are still human and sinful.

Unknown Mami said...

Give yourself a break. We all make mistakes. It's great that you are willing to learn and grow, but I do not think you went out of your way to be hurtful to a politician. Trust me, they've heard it all. I'm not saying that you should go around bashing people, but that's the thing with comedy sometimes it falls flat. When things are written instead of spoken it's hard to understand that someone was using humor.

I would hate for you to second guess your humor because of it and you should certainly not second guess your religious convictions. We're all fallible and that's okay.

michelle said...

I had a very similar moment last week. Someone posted a pretty vicious comment on my blog. My first negative comment ever. Quite an eye-opener and it gave me the opportunity to examine myself, my reaction, and my actions.

So don't beat yourself up about it. We ARE human. We are NOT divine. We do the best we can. It's OK.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

I love this post, Nancy! You know what I love most of all? You're human. Like Unknown Mami said - don't go second guessing your humor. You can please some of the people all of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time. ;) ((HUGZ!!))

Paul said...

Because I *have* to be a total dork....

Go ahead and beat yourself up a little. It's clear that you already have. You've examined the person's words, and weighed them against Scripture to see how they stand, and you've found merit in them. It sounds as though you've grappled with what it means to be Christian and funny, as well as how those things don't always line up the way we would like them to. You've owned your words, recognized the tremendously public aspect of the Internet, and seen where there are things you could do differently.

Now that the beating up is over, accept the forgiveness. To grab at the forgiveness too quickly without really examining yourself to see where you fell short (or were perceived as falling short) would demonstrate immaturity. So would retreating into the non-digital world, or refusing to forgive yourself for what God the Father has already forgiven you for. You are a creature in process - as we all are. Sometimes that process is less enjoyable than others. Give thanks even for the barbed comments, if they help you to see yourself more clearly and seek the Holy Spirit's empowerment to become more Christ-like.

You're a very talented creature, with a gift for glib that is often hilarious. But what we get away with in casual conversation is not so easily glossed over in eternal digital ink. It's a reminder to myself, and hopefully every other Christian who feels compelled to put pen to paper (finger to keyboard? digital character to LCD screen?) that people are watching. And that's something to praise God for!

Thanks for handling this so beautifully, even if it wasn't pleasant.

erika said...

I don't know, I personally think it's kind of a low blow when people use the "as a Christian..." card. I mean, if you were mocking someone and your words were hurtful, than it would have been just as wrong or hurtful if you were a Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, an atheist or a sun worshiper. Maybe it irks me so much because bringing up someone's Christianity is used to make them feel ashamed and suggests that the behavior in question is acceptable from someone 'non-Christian'. Unless your comment suggested that you don't believe in the divine nature of Christ, I don't see why your religious conviction is relevant.

But I certainly don't want to spoil your good attitude, as your reaction is way more Christian than mine. Instead of expressing annoyance or finding fault in the comment, you response was humble and most definitely Christian.

Nancy Campbell said...

I love all of you for your many pitch-perfect responses to my day.

Corrie and Paul get that every encounter is an opportunity.

Unknown and Stacy give me the love I need.

Erika, you nailed it with that the "As a Christian..." comment. It's not as if Christians corner the market on nice. I just love the way you think.

And, Michelle, I'm so sorry you got a nasty comment. You're right; it shows you a lot about how you process things.


dek said...

I just picked up a fantastic little book from Augsburg called "Crazy Talk: A Not-So-Stuff Dictionary of Theological Terms." In the section on "Simultaneously Saint and Sinner", it mentions,

Now some people think that once you become a Christian, you are changed - like a caterpillar metamorphosized into a butterfly. Such people think that Christians are essentially different once they experience God's grace - like Spider-Man after the bite. But look in the mirror. Do you see any wings, either of a butterfly or an angel? Nope, we don't either.

Because things just sound cooler in Latin: simul justis et paccator.

P.S. the definition of "sin" in the same book is "1. Why people suck. 2. How people suck."

adrienzgirl said...

I think that it is in poor taste that someone sought you out to chastise you for a comment. Good grief people, everyone is human, at least last I checked. None of us are perfect, and therefore we often choose less than Christ like actions.

Plus, it isn't like you have a religious blog where you are preaching The Word. Geez! And really, I don't think the person would have felt compelled to comment, trying to make you feel bad about the comment, if not for the fact that they disagreed with your politics.

Just sayin'. Pot. Kettle. Black?

kys said...

Negative comments hurt our feelings whether we the commentor is right, wrong, your mom, a fellow blogger, or a psycho troll.

It doesn't sound like you did anything vicious or spiteful.

Sometimes it's hard for people to understand humor in the written form. And sometime people are just sticks-in-the-mud who don't find humor often enough.

mama-face said...

We need a sarcastic font. Your post made me think of all the off the cuff ridiculous comments I make. Blogging becomes a conversation to me and I just say what pops into my mind assuming everyone will understand. I have a button on my blog that says that while I might say what I mean it doesn't make me mean. I don't know that anyone ever notices the button but it is true. I rarely read other comments so I am somewhat surprised at the reaction you received. That in itself is an eye opener to me.

It's one thing to make a sarcastic comment about someone who chooses to be in the public eye and a more personal dig. Maybe I'm just too naive.

My heart goes out to you and hope you feel the love coming from your followers! :)

Nancy Campbell said...

In this guy's defense, he posted on a companion blog for a writing group I'm facilitating at my church, which explores faith through the creative process.

I've since decided to make that blog private because I don't want my church to deal with any nonsense due to my choices.

I so appreciate all of your kind words---I agree that I didn't do anything awful, but I'm also comfortable with seeing it as an opportunity to grow.

I love the saying, "I might say what I mean it doesn't make me mean." I may consider stealing that button...

Finally, KYS, you're so right. It doesn't matter who says it, it hurts to be called out. I'm trying to learn from the experience, and now, I'm moving on. :)

won said...

You already know and do hold your head high. Your integrity is yours...and you wear it quite well. That's key, to me.

Melani said...

I saw this comment on your other blog and couldn't understand where this person was coming from, call me lame, but I just didn't get it. I would like to follow your other blog, can you e-mail me and tell me how to do that? when I have time I like to read and that blog has wonderful words in it from the bible and I am trying to read more passages....thanks!

When Did I Become said...

Oh honey. None of us is perfect. Is what you said really so terrible? Did you intend to cause hurt by it? I'm guessing you really didn't.

I do think that the commenter could have been a little more gentle in expressing their thoughts, just as you maybe could have been nicer in yours if your comment really wasn't mean to be funny.

You know what though? I'm betting that God likes us to have a sense of humour and to not take ourselves too seriously. And I mean that from the perspective of the politician, the commenter and you.

You've shown a lot of humility and goodness of spirit by not responding in kind and responding to this from the heart like you have.