The War Inside: If You’re Not Uncomfortable, You’re Probably Doing it Wrong

angry goat

(Image/trinitypropertysales.com)

I’m a little outraged by all the outrage.

One group of people is outraged because an NFL quarterback chose to remain seated during the U.S. national anthem before a game.

“It’s disrespectful!” “If he doesn’t like America, he should get the hell out!” “People died for that flag, man. Honor the troops!”

A separate group is outraged for the very reason San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has decided to protest the national anthem.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

49ers fans posted videos of them burning Kaepernick jerseys to let him know how they felt about his decision.

Some of my friends badmouthed him at my fantasy football draft yesterday.

I don’t know how many of the angry people can accurately explain Kaepernick’s reasoning. I think it’s fair to assume at least some of them jumped to conclusions, and that most if not all of them have never been targets of harassment, racial profiling, or discrimination in any fundamentally dehumanizing ways.

Similarly, I don’t know how many angry Black Lives Matter activists can accurately explain official police procedure for officer-involved shootings, or have ever been in the type of highly stressful, life-threatening situations most law enforcement officers volunteer for to protect innocent people and, by extension, our very way of life through the preservation of civil order.

I think maybe some people just like to scream about things.

‘What’s wrong with the world?’ This. All This Self-Righteous Certainty.

Men often say how exhausting it is for them to have “talks” with their wives or girlfriends. You know—the ones they didn’t initiate. The ones that force us to deal with things like criticism, or questions about certain behaviors, or listening to the women we love tell us how we make them sad and miserable.

We have all kinds of reactions:

Silence.

Walking away.

Defensiveness.

Retorting with complaints of our own.

Haughty moral superiority.

“I don’t want to talk about this right now.”

Fighting.

Sometimes we fight because we think it might end the conversation. We often regret that once the anger subsides. We apologize and try to make peace. But nothing gets resolved because we never actually listened to her with focus and intention in any kind of effort to instill personal changes that would solve the problem.

If she decides to bring it up again (which she often won’t simply to avoid the fight, even though it hurts her a lot to do so) sometimes we just get angry all over again. Maybe we accuse her of “always trying to pick a fight!”, or “always finding something new to complain about!”

It’s bullshit.

Having the conversation she wants to have is making us uncomfortable because it forces us to look inward for answers, and ask ourselves hard questions. It forces us to deal with our flaws, it exposes our weaknesses, and brings us face-to-face with our demons.

That’s when we squirm.

The hard truths make us squirm.

The prospect of needing to change makes us squirm.

This is why people are angry about Colin Kaepernick.

This is why people are angry about Black Lives Matter.

This is why people are angry about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton or Gary Johnson.

This is why people are angry about atheism.

This is why people are angry about God.

This is why people are angry about feminism.

This is why people are angry about Red Pill philosophy.

This is why people are angry about homosexuality.

This is why people are angry about abortion.

Talking about these things makes us uncomfortable. These are the things that make us squirm. It’s because we all have stories that we tell ourselves about each and every one of these things, and it hurts when these core (and sacred-feeling) beliefs are challenged.

EVERYONE has different points of view. And EVERYONE usually has some kernel of Truth—or at minimum, some real-world, first-person experience—at the core of whatever they believe.

We MUST Discuss Uncomfortable Things, Else Nothing Ever Changes

I love the American flag and the national anthem. Americans piss me off constantly. Our federal government is something of a dysfunctional, financially inefficient pool of incompetence. But I love my country, my flag, and our anthem. I have problems with many things in our country. But I will not protest the flag.

But I am WAY more outraged by the people who think Kaepernick exercising his Constitutional right to free expression warrants insulting him, harassing him, or suggesting he’s un-American and should leave the country.

That’s just my opinion. It might be unpopular. Let’s talk about it.

Let me ask you this, Outraged NFL Fan or Outraged American who thinks Kaepernick’s national anthem protest is disrespectful of the men and women who have died protecting the many freedoms we enjoy as American citizens.

Which is the greater crime against patriotism: Kaepernick’s sitting down during the national anthem (a PERSONAL decision he didn’t seek attention for—a media member approached him about it, not the other way around), or the NFL accepting millions in taxpayer dollars to promote “patriotic” displays before and during NFL games?

And here’s another: Which is the greater service to our brave military men and women—standing at attention for the national anthem, or actually getting off of our asses to donate time and money to the tragic problem of what happens to many of our veterans when they return home?

I’m raising my hand on this. I am one of you, and we are many. The people quick to criticize a man not doing the same thing we would do during the national anthem in the name of patriotism, only to turn and look the other way when we hear about the sad state of veterans affairs in the United States.

Why?

Because it makes us uncomfortable. It’s easy to scream at Kaepernick.

But it’s HARD to solve real problems.

I love the police. I assume the reason my house isn’t regularly broken into by gunmen who might hurt my son, or why my car isn’t stolen, or why there aren’t more high-speed fatalities in neighborhoods where kids play and people walk dogs is because of the police.

You know what else I love?

People NOT getting shot and killed (especially children) who do not present a deadly threat to police or other people.

Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t we strongly support the police AND respect and honor the feelings of those participating in Black Lives Matter?

White people in suburban neighborhoods around the country never experience or even think about what racial discrimination or oppression looks like. I get it. I’m a white person in a suburban neighborhood who almost never experiences those things either. But how are WE the Arbiters of Truth on issues affecting black communities? We couldn’t be more ignorant about it if we tried.

Millions of black Americans believe police officers have unjustly killed children or their friends or their neighbors or just someone with the same amount of melanin in their bodies.

Worse yet, many believe that the people doing the killing are unfairly enjoying paid leave instead of being scrutinized the same way they or other people they know have been scrutinized by police.

Maybe all of the officer-involved shootings were justified.

Maybe none of them were.

I’m not focused on that (even though they obviously merit our concern). I’m focused on what a shitty job everyone is doing at dealing with it.

Thought Exercise: The Goat-Sex Conundrum

I hope you’ll take this seriously.

Would you prefer to:

  1. Have sex with a goat, with assurances that no one will ever find out. Or,
  2. NOT have sex with a goat, but everyone will believe you did, no matter how much you protest or try to convince them otherwise?

Normally, this mental exercise is designed to help you figure out whether you place more value on what you think and feel about yourself, or on what others think and feel about you.

I intend it a slightly different way.

Maybe the Police are a bunch of racist murderers. Or maybe they’re not.

Maybe the Black Lives Matter movement is totally out of line and wrong in their beliefs.

And to either side, I’d say: Does the truth even matter if no one believes it?

Maybe Exchanging Stories and Ideas with People Who DON’T Share our Life Experiences Can Help

We avoid conversations and experiences that make us uncomfortable.

It’s just easier that way.

But I wonder what might happen if every police department in the United States invited community leaders, Black Lives Matter representatives, and everyday citizens to a friendly and public conversation about these issues.

What if law enforcement officials collectively spent more time investing in understanding the day-to-day lives of those who mistrust them? What if BLM officials invested more time in police ride-along programs to get a closer look at what our bravest first responders face?

People (mostly men, I think) scoff at the call for empathy.

They’d rather bitch and moan about whatever new controversy is on TV before getting back to the routine of not paying attention.

The most powerful and healing move we can make in ANY conflict—from international disputes and wars, down to our most personal relationships, is simply to pour energy into understanding what daily life or a specific situation looks like through the prism of another person with sometimes intensely different lenses and filters.

It’s easy to dismiss our relationship partners. They’re being crazy.

It’s easy to dismiss our political opponents. They’re obviously stupid morons.

It’s easy to dismiss people of different faiths. I just want what’s best for them!

It’s easy to dismiss people who make different lifestyle choices. Those people are freaks, and nothing like me!

It’s easy to dismiss people from different cultures. We’re already doing things the best way!

Because NOT dismissing them makes us squirm.

NOT dismissing them makes us explore questions we’d rather not have to answer.

NOT dismissing them forces us to have the uncomfortable conversations we’re all constantly avoiding.

But maybe those are the only ones that actually change things.

I’m With Kaep

It’s easy to criticize Kaepernick. My initial reaction was to do just that.

No matter what your beef is, you should honor the flag! But that’s my personal opinion.

But after hearing what the man had to say?

What do you want from him? To shut up and do things your way?

Is that what you want your wife, and people of different faiths and different lifestyles and different political opinions to do?

We have TWO choices:

  1. Have a group take over by force, overpowering or enslaving the opposition, and then imposing new laws which everyone must follow. That’s one option.
  2. The second option is freedom. The second option is acknowledging that everyone gets to be and do and think and feel whatever they want so long as doing so doesn’t restrict those same freedoms of others.

Please let people be themselves. It is the best way I know to be less of an asshole.

And please accept this truth about ANY disagreement discussed with kindness and empathy:

In the end, you’ve either proven how smart you are and helped another person understand your point of view, OR you’ve been properly convinced of a better idea and evolve into a smarter, higher-functioning human being.

It’s the Everybody Wins Strategy.

And it would save the world if we would just let it.

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205 thoughts on “The War Inside: If You’re Not Uncomfortable, You’re Probably Doing it Wrong

  1. completelyinthedark says:

    Kaepernick following in the tradition of another great American: Muhammad Ali. Courage, wisdom, truth. Great post, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hartmurmers says:

    BRAVO! Well said!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hartmurmers says:

    Sometimes speaking your mind or heart is the bravest stand we can take. Mike, in addition to Muhammad Ali and currently Kaep, there are Tommie Smith and John Carlos with the black power fist DURING the national anthem and on the other side of the argument there is Pat Tillman who took action in what was in his heart and his legacy is simply inspirational.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not exactly outraged by all the outrage. I’ve tended to scroll past it s successfully that I missed most of that stuff all together. I’m happy that I’m learning to scroll past! But I read some anyway because of the cute goat pic…till I knew I’d rather not no matter what people think…weird stuff today, Matt. lol

    Like

  5. Alice says:

    Matt. I think I have told you this before … I love you. I love this post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. It would be great to look at others with curiosity rather than judgement- something I’m not sure I do that often. This post will be another one I save and read often and definitely another one I will share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Thank you very much, Alice.

      This one means a lot to me because of how strongly I believe in this idea of having uncomfortable conversations with people with whom we disagree (with kindness and empathy, and NOT trying to “win,” but simply letting the best idea win) is at the root of every human conflict.

      Our relationships.

      Our political fights.

      Our family problems.

      Our work frustrations.

      Our social life mishaps in school.

      And the macro socieo-political conversations everyone is always having about, well, ever controversial topic any of us can think of.

      It matters so much that a critical mass of people stop ruining their marriages by cowardly running from the discomfort.

      It matters so much that our politicians become leaders and statesmen/women who exchange great ideas rather than childish insults.

      It matters so much that people who don’t look the same, or worship the same, or love the same can occupy the same workplaces, schools, social clubs, internet message boards, restaurants, neighborhoods, etc. and coexist without bad things happening.

      I know it’s all a bit pipe-dreamish. I’m not suggesting it will, or even CAN, happen.

      But every day we’re not trying?

      We earn more guilty verdicts.

      No one has behaved in “oh that’s somebody else’s problem!” ways more than I have through the years.

      I want redemption.

      But what I probably need is mercy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Travis B. says:

    I agree passionately with much of what you’ve written here, but I do find that I tend to get snagged in a bit of a moral quandary when it comes to political and certain religious leanings. As you say, “Acknowledge that everyone gets to be and do and think and feel whatever they want so long as doing so doesn’t restrict the those freedoms for others.” That has been the litmus test by which I measure every event and action throughout my life–does this directly affect me and curtail how I choose to conduct my life? So what do I do when I observe a political or religious stance that curtails the rights of others? Let’s say I’m a liberal and I see conservative voices calling out for what I see as policies restrictive and unequal to women and minorities? Is my greater moral impetus to concede without challenge those conservative voices’ right to believe what they want to believe because it doesn’t curtail my rights as a white male, or is it to fight those perceived injustices on behalf of others in need of the support of impassioned numbers on their side? Is it right to let someone be themselves if their actions and assertions contribute in any way to trampling on someone else’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Will understanding the path that their life took to arrive at their moral position change the fact that it cannot be allowed to stand without sometimes vigorous, impassioned dissent? Nothing would please me more (and, frankly, come naturally easier to me) than to have everyone simply tend to their own proverbial backyard, but then I start to think of that one famous, gutting quote:

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    That’s the crux of my struggle: how do I functionally integrate empathy for someone I don’t agree with if they represent a force in opposition to those with whom I feel sympathy?

    Like

    • Matt says:

      It’s a fair question.

      It’s why sometimes it feels like there’s no other choice but to kill the enemy (war, self-defense, etc.)

      Things get messy anytime extremism of any sort comes into play. It’s hard to reason with extremists.

      Here’s my general answer though, Travis, and I acknowledge I could be WAY off here:

      I would say, in most cases of strong political disagreement, that a fundamental lack of empathy for the other side’s first-person experiences which led them to those beliefs is responsible.

      I would defend the conservative (as I would the liberal) as I hunt for the root cause of their beliefs.

      The Five Whys? Usually by the time you ask why five times why someone believes something, or why something happened, you get to the root cause.

      Through the prism of their experience, it usually makes sense why they believe what they believe. Things are always easier to digest when they make sense, or are presented in the proper context.

      I’m a pretty moderate guy.

      If you want me to take a crack at providing what I perceive to be the sane argument for a conservative position, it would be my pleasure to do so.

      It’s my goal to understand both side’s argument on all disagreements, as I believe what I wrote: There is Truth in BOTH sides.

      How do you honor the Truth that lives in both sides, without shitting all over one of them?

      Empathy.

      And more importantly, actually caring about people.

      The Right claims compassion, but come off as intolerant tyrants.

      The Left claims compassion, but come off hypocritical when they lack it for anyone who disagrees with them.

      There appears to be inspiration and good intentions as well as human shittiness on all sides.

      I focus on the inspiration and good intentions as much as possible.

      The alternative, to me, is needlessly masochistic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Travis B. says:

        Matt said,

        “Usually by the time you ask why five times why someone believes something, or why something happened, you get to the root cause.

        Through the prism of their experience, it usually makes sense why they believe what they believe. Things are always easier to digest when they make sense, or are presented in the proper context.”

        And I totally perceive the wisdom in that, and honestly try to incorporate this type of empathetic practice in my everyday life. Where I still struggle is with the ultimate endgame, though. You see, I may be able, through an open mind and an empathetic heart, to understand why someone might want to build a wall to keep out Hispanics, or why they might underplay the horror of police killing innocent black citizens, or why they might champion the state having more rights over a woman’s body than she does, or why they might be convinced that it is morally sound for a person to be left to die of ailment or injury if they can’t afford thousands of dollars in treatment. I might honestly be able to comprehend why they arrived at those sorts of convictions, but where do I go with that understanding from there? If my own life’s journey has brought me to a place where every fiber of my being considers such stances morally reprehensible, regardless of the reasoning which informs them (especially when those stances do clearly truncate or outright eviscerate the rights of others, as in my political examples above and countless others), what is my next step? Again, I have accomplished empathy with my “enemy”, but not sympathy. He is still an agent of amoral action in the face of which I cannot remain passive or inactive. It’s like Obi Wan Kenobi against Anakin Skywalker–perhaps, through empathy, I can find something in you that I can call friend, something in you that I can love, something in you that I can hold dear. But I still can’t just stand by and allow you to f#@& up the world unchallenged. So that’s my moral quandry, the area where I’ve lost so much faith lately in my fellow man–not so much in being willing to have the uncomfortable conversation but in where we go from there. How we go from understanding to change.

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        • Matt says:

          Travis wrote: “You see, I may be able, through an open mind and an empathetic heart, to understand why someone might want to build a wall to keep out Hispanics, or why they might underplay the horror of police killing innocent black citizens, or why they might champion the state having more rights over a woman’s body than she does, or why they might be convinced that it is morally sound for a person to be left to die of ailment or injury if they can’t afford thousands of dollars in treatment.”

          With due respect (and I actually mean the “respect” thing unlike when most people say that before nicely calling someone a stupid jerkoff), I perceive the stories you’re telling about all of these political debates to be offering the most cynical view of the opposition.

          The stories we tell — the labels we use — really matter and affect how we see and experience everything.

          The cynical view is to say that racists want to build a wall because they hate Hispanics.

          Leaving the wall out of it for a moment, the argument for immigration reform is rooted in reasonable arguments (in my opinion, which I don’t believe anyone should share unless it makes sense to them.)

          1. Illegal drugs harm our citizenry.

          2. The black market drug trade brings a lot of violence and negative societal consequences with it.

          3. Unsecured borders can conceivably allow foreign enemies to infiltrate our communities (as the 9-11 hijackers did) before committing mass murder.

          4. Our government collects tax dollars annually to pay for various things. Like any business, when you spend more than you earn, a lot of bad things happen. The system starts to break down.

          So, in conclusion, the sane argument (from my perspective) for immigration reform is to eliminate all of the ridiculously bureacratic and needlessly complicated aspects of the immigration process (I don’t know specifically what that looks like), which would INCENTIVIZE people applying for immigration legally.

          I don’t have anything in common with Americans who want to stop inviting people to live in our country. But I’m not sure where the problem is with asking people to apply for citizenship for the purposes of record keeping, law enforcement, and contributing to the public pool of funds which benefit everyone living in the U.S.

          Why can’t we love the Hispanic community, help humans thrive, protect children, promote their education, but also have people living in the country have social security numbers and stuff?

          You’re not likely to ever see me debate abortion here.

          1. We have little reason to believe the laws will ever change radically on the topic.

          2. I’ve never witnessed two people discuss it and have the other person change their mind afterward (in large part, because people tend to get angry about it), so it seems unwise on a variety of levels.

          But if I may tread gingerly on it for a moment in the whole spirit of The Stories We Tell Ourselves, I would encourage people with strong feelings on any Either/Or debate like abortion, to not group everyone into the same silo.

          If someone believes abortion is murder, and then murders a doctor who performs the procedure, he or she obviously has some Hypocrisy Training to do.

          Any person who protests abortion clinics in the name of the Christian God of the Bible, but does so through using contemptuous, hateful, harassing, judgmental intimidation tactics as young, scared girls/women are walking into clinics, has a SEVERELY warped sense of the actual teachings of Jesus RE: how we are treat others.

          Anyone who believes abortion should be made illegal, or even just in special cases like rape, incest and maternal health; likely hasn’t considered the societal ramifications of asking pregnant women to stand before whatever legal medical entity would exist to either approve or reject her application.

          There are positive and beautiful reasons to promote the welfare of conceived, but unborn, human beings.

          And there are some VERY uncomfortable conversations to be had about why unborn children who are technically older than prematurely birthed children are categorically dispensable, by virtue of their biological environment they have no control of.

          Colin Kaepernick spoke eloquently about trying to give black Americans a voice who didn’t have one.

          I think language about the state controlling women’s bodies is a needlessly cynical way to address something that SHOULD be very pro-human, but isn’t because people love screaming at each other more than kindness.

          It’s possible (and frankly, encouraged) to want what’s best for everyone.

          It’s possible to love mothers AND their unborn children. It’s possible to collectively work toward protecting women’s health AND fighting for voiceless underdog children who don’t have a say in their fates.

          I think framing things — especially the beliefs of others — in a generous light, and then asking intellectually honest questions WITHOUT agenda other than learning how other people think, feel and experience life, is how we get to the place I think most of us want to get to.

          I remain hopeful.

          Rest assured, I admire your inclination to fight the good fight against people you believe are oppressing groups you care for.

          I’ll stand with you on that always.

          But I think sometimes we believe people are our enemy because we think they’re wearing the same team colors as other people who threaten us.

          Two people can stand for the same political cause, and one of them can have malicious intentions, while the other fervently supports prosperity for all.

          For example, Mr. Strand and I are both Catholic.

          But neither he nor I want other people making assumptions about our beliefs based on the words and behaviors of one another.

          People are people.

          And most of them are very good and beautiful underneath all the distraction.

          Like

      • Travis B. says:

        Your points are well taken, and I plan to give them proper reflection. I admittedly still struggle with a statement like, “The cynical view is to say that racists want to build a wall because they hate Hispanics.” It makes me want to retort, “The pollyannaish/”kid gloves” view is to say that racially-blind people want to build a literal wall because they have some valid concerns regarding immigration and justifiably feel that’s the best course of action to address them.” However, the greater message in your reply rings predominantly true to me, so I will let it marinate. Now’s the part where I stop my knee-jerk, “But what about this? And what about that?” and just let your point-of-view soak in for a while.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Travis B. says:

        Isn’t Time the cruelest, most amoral agent of them all? Imagine what liberty we’d all have at our disposal to let empathy play itself out appropriately if our lives didn’t offer us so precious little time.

        Like

    • Alice says:

      For me, I don’t want to challenge their right to believe what they want. I will and do challenge the idea that it should be made a law or turned into something that hurts others or curtails the rights of others.

      I think I am learning that the way I fight could improve. Pema Chodron has a book called Practicing Peace in Times of War and one of the things she says is, “If you could have a bird’s-eye perspective on the Earth and could look down at all the conflicts that are happening, all you’d see are two sides of a story where both sides think they’re right”.

      I can’t not fight. Much of what Matt talked about is my life, and a harsh sad reality for my children, family and friends. And what he says about marriage in this post (wow, all of his posts really) touches me just as deeply as all of the other issues I face and reminds me they are issues WE face and that is SO important.

      I just need to find solid ground between not being so open-minded my brains fall out and wishing the fleas of a thousand camels to the crotches of all the moronic inbred assholes that disagree with me 😳 I’m hoping to get to the place where I can say, “Wow, I totally disagree and would never support your position and hope that we can continue to talk so that we can continue to grow” and to my husband say, “I know this is uncomfortable and it might take us a while to get there but thank you for making room for the conversation” … That’s so much better than, “Fuck off you’re an idiot” and “How about I divorce your ass today..? Want to have a conversation about that instead?”.

      Seek first to understand and then to be understood… Is that empathy? If I can’t understand it can I just appreciate where they are coming from and is that just as good?

      I don’t know. I have been thinking on this post and trying to comment all day and don’t even know if now that I have that it makes any sense but I am certainly thinking and that’s why I love Matt and MBTTTR. I hope everyone is enjoying this post and the exchange in the comments as much as I am 😊

      Like

      • Anne says:

        Ooooohhhh noooo, Matt, you summoned that troll by saying his name. He can’t resist….he has nothing else to do with his life…..noooooo not again…….

        Like

    • Jeff Strand says:

      “That’s the crux of my struggle: how do I functionally integrate empathy for someone I don’t agree with if they represent a force in opposition to those with whom I feel sympathy?”

      We all have the right to freedom of association. You can choose to just associate with those of similar views. Or failing that, you can just choose to not talk about controversial issues.

      Like

      • Matt says:

        Surround yourself with people who only agree with you!

        A fine life strategy.

        If you play your cards right, Jeff, you might just go your whole life believing you have it all figured out and never having to make friends with different human beings at all.

        Like

      • Jeff Strand says:

        Matt, the suggestion was for Travis…he apparently “struggles to integrate empathy for someone he doesn’t agree with”. Which sounds pretty exhausting to me.

        Just figured he might be better off just avoiding all that “struggle”. But maybe not. Up to him.

        Me? I don’t “struggle” like that. Life’s too short.

        Like

  7. gottmanfan says:

    Matt,

    Regarding having sex with the goat.

    Does he clean bathrooms?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, Matt. This is my first time commenting but I wrote you an email about a month ago because of how much I love your words.
    As I was reading through this post, I found myself subconsciously nodding my head more vigorously with every sentence.
    These are words that could’ve come straight from my mouth—or from my fingertips. I applaud you for taking the time to write about things that cause a lot of us to stop and evaluate why we have the morals/beliefs/opinions that we do and also to evaluate why we have certain feelings toward others’ morals/beliefs/opinions.
    That is a very powerful thing and something we can all learn from.

    PS: If you could find me a partner who is pretty much you but lives by me, that’d be pretty great.
    Just kidding…kind of. Gosh, dating after divorce is stupid hard.

    Like

  9. Michelle Lankins says:

    Great article and oh so true, Matt. I read all the comments after reading the post and it makes me happy that there are people remaining who have morals out in this world.

    On Aug 29, 2016 11:34 AM, “Must Be This Tall To Ride” wrote:

    > Matt posted: ” I’m a little outraged by all the outrage. One group of > people is outraged because an NFL quarterback chose to remain seated during > the U.S. national anthem before a game. “It’s disrespectful!” “If he > doesn’t like America, he should get the hell ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ruralbethany says:

    It seems like such a simple thing… but is so difficult. I love this concept though, it’s very important to me.

    I personally think it is very very closely related to developing a a skill for empathy. Because once you are able to really, TRULY put yourself in someone else’s shoes, perhaps then you realize that different lives = different experiences = different reactions = different outcomes. Empathy isn’t just being able to feel that someone else is truly genuinely in pain – it’s the ability to take yourself, out of yourself, and understand that other people are truly people and their thoughts, feelings and actions are JUST as valid as your own, and your opinions aren’t more important than theirs even if you don’t necessarily feel that way yourself (at least that’s kind of where I take it.

    Politically, I am a Libertarian and I definitely, strongly am in favor of a “live and let live” philosophy. I also strongly suspect that in cases like this, the media spins things in a very polarizing way in order to get people arguing about it, but so angry that they aren’t actually hearing the opposite’s words (you know, just waiting for their turn to talk). I mean – stupid things like Harambe or Chick-Fil-A or Target’s bathrooms or Starbucks cups or whatever. Everyone’s outraged and at each other’s throats.

    Like

    • Donkey says:

      “Empathy isn’t just being able to feel that someone else is truly genuinely in pain – it’s the ability to take yourself, out of yourself, and understand that other people are truly people and their thoughts, feelings and actions are JUST as valid as your own, and your opinions aren’t more important than theirs even if you don’t necessarily feel that way yourself (at least that’s kind of where I take it.”

      Yes! It’s not just noticing someone’s mood or feelings (though that can be important too), but as you say, accepting that people can have different thoughts and actions and values that more often than not are just as valid as our own (or at least that the jury is out since no human can know for sure what the absolute truth in all cases is).

      Brent Atkinson talks about legitimate differences, I’ve been quite inspired by that.

      http://www.thecouplesclinic.com/pdf/F-Core_Differences_in_Ways_of_Maintaining_Emotional_Stability-Legimimately_Different_Ways_of_Navigating_Life.pdf

      Like

      • Travis B. says:

        Donkey, thanks so much for providing that link! How interesting it was! Admittedly, it’s darn near useless in terms of offering any useful advice for resolution (“you just gotta meet in the middle!”–gee, thanks!), but it really nails key differences in how peoples’ (e.g. my wife and me) nervous systems can be wired in dramatically different ways. The part that tripped me out most is how it reinforced what my wife, who has a super short fuse and a nuclear temper, always says about how releasing her anger actually feels good and healthy for her. I’ve always tried to take that at face value but it’s hard because anger makes me feel awful; I enjoy nothing about the sensation, so it’s so hard to wrap my head around how she perceives it. I guess it’s similar to the rush some people get from eating spicy foods when it’s nothing but pure misery for me.

        The part that freaks me out, though, is I really think this article highlights that, from a nervous system standpoint, my wife and I stand in diametric opposition to one another. I have her pegged as a:

        Independence-first
        Invest in the future-first
        Predictability-first (she’s capable of spontaneity, but her penchant for planning, whether work, home or even vacation, is so exhausting to me)
        Readily Upset (probably the hardest of these five characteristics for me to relate to or navigate)
        Problem-solving-first

        While I’m:

        Togetherness-first
        Live for the moment-first
        Spontaneity-first
        Slow to Upset
        Understanding-first

        How did she and I end up together? LOL! My, my, my, how complicated the next four-to-five decades are gonna be!!! But articles like this help me take more and more baby steps from a simple theoretical understanding that people, even ones you deeply love, come with deep/seated perceptual differences to a richer in-heart comprehension of it. It’s a scary/overwhelming thought, but yet the more I have these opportunities to truly absorb and internalize the concept, the more I can stay above marital fray.

        Like

      • Donkey says:

        You’re welcome!

        It was Gottmanfan who first brought Brent Atkinson to my attention. You can buy an online version of his book where they put in your wife’s name so that it really gets more into your head.

        As far as solutions, you can say to yourself “what are 5 possible compromises a reasonable person who understands and respects these legitimate differences could get behind?”. Or whatever phrase works for you. And then put that brain of yours to work and write it down! And your wife, obviously, could come up with her own suggestions to possible compromises. And in general, dealing with past triggers or other ways to calm your nervous system so that you both can tolerate more of the other person’s preferences without going bonkers.

        And, feel free to throw some of the clashing points/conflicts my way. I usually enjoy brainstorming solutions to other people’s problems. 8)

        Like

      • Donkey says:

        …one thing that is extremely hard for me to understand is how someone can be stressed out by organization. I can understand that someone can not care.

        But can someone really feel *stressed out* in a well organized and tidy space?
        If there’s someone here who recognizes themselves in this, then you’re more than welcome to share your personal feelings and thoughts about it. I’d like to understand. :)

        Like

      • Travis B. says:

        I can’t say that I’m stressed by an organized/uncluttered environment (other than maybe a sense that it doesn’t invite “making myself comfortable”), but the psychological and physical effort to create and maintain such an environment is what stresses me out. People who operate differently surely view this as laziness, and maybe that’s fair to a point, but I think it’s really just that the stress caused by the requirements of continued maintenance overpower the quality of relaxation I may derive from the finished result. More simply put, if I can be at ease in a less organized/more cluttered environment, where is my incentive to put myself in a state of reduced ease in order to change its condition?

        Like

      • Donkey says:

        And Travis, I’m sure there are many areas where you and your wife are pretty much aligned, or else the differences are small or don’t cause problems. Possibly: how to deal with raising your kids, where to live, how to deal with extended family, religious/political beliefs, you guys’… bedroom life…

        Like

      • Travis B. says:

        Mmm, bedroom life…

        (*hazy, starry-eyed expression*)

        (*eyes clear; shakes head vigorously*)

        …I’m sorry, what were you saying?

        Like

      • Donkey says:

        “More simply put, if I can be at ease in a less organized/more cluttered environment, where is my incentive to put myself in a state of reduced ease in order to change its condition?”

        You know, this I can understand. But Brent Atkinson states (possibly somewhere else than in the link I gave you) that some people actually feel stressed out by too much order. :S If it’s like a super duper clean house where you feel out of place if you don’t match the walls kind of, that I can understand would stress people out, you’re scared you’re going to put down the book you’re reading in the wrong way.. But I don’t understand how someone can be stressed out just by having a place where you put your mail or having a known place where you keep your cleaning supplies or having closets that aren’t overstuffed. :p

        Like

      • gottmanfan says:

        Donkey and Travis,

        We are working through the Atkinson ebook. I really think it is fabulous. He uses Gottnans research and adds his own like the list of key differences you listed.

        Since I know you like application Travis, the emphasis is on first intellectualizing that things that “feel wrong or offensive@ and more often than not really just style differences.

        Because they “feel wrong” there emphasis on mindfulness work to disassociate the neurological response from the style differences.

        For example, there are recordings you listen to when you feel that your spouse is wrong and you are right that repeat the idea that s/he is not wrong but just different. And you listen to general mindfulness/relaxation recordings.

        When you can calm your biological responses to differences the actual differences can be assessed and a compromise is much more easily found.

        My husband and I for example are usually quite good at arriving at reasonable decisions together when in our sane minds.

        Unfortunately we used to spend most of our time “flooded” and in fight or flight mode that makes your body respond to your spouse as an enemy. And that makes differences feel like
        threats and weapons to be used against you.

        As an interesting note, the independence vs togetherness (if more than minor) is the difference they said was the feels most neurologically “wrong” by the person who does not share the other style. And hardest for you to see as just a style difference as opposed to abandonment by an uncaring spouse or needy controlling attempts.

        And that’s our biggest challenge and the hardest for us to work through although we do have other differences.

        Like

      • Donkey says:

        Travis, you said:

        “Readily Upset (probably the hardest of these five characteristics for me to relate to or navigate)”

        I am a bit surprised by that (that it’s hard for you to relate to it), since in the whole how to be less of an asshole / ipod police discussion previously, you said something about you feeling that life is too short not to have strong opinions about things, To me, that does seem related somehow to being easily upset (but being ok with that)..

        Anyhow, maybe it can at least be something to ponder to help you wrap your mind around that legitimate difference between you and your wife a bit more.. :)

        Like

      • Travis B. says:

        Donkey said,

        “I am a bit surprised by that (that it’s hard for you to relate to it), since in the whole how to be less of an asshole / ipod police discussion previously, you said something about you feeling that life is too short not to have strong opinions about things, To me, that does seem related somehow to being easily upset (but being ok with that).”

        Ah, but there’s a world of difference between passion and rage. I have passionate convictions, opinions and tastes, and when challenged, I am prepared to vigorously them, but I am seldom enraged by challenges to them (well, when people say U2 suck, I do have to take a few deep breaths, but otherwise…LOL). But when my wife is frustrated (say, by rude people, being stuck in traffic, bratty kids, something particularly idiotic I’ve done, general bad days, etc.), her instantaneous response is an explosion of expressed rage–yelling, cussing, red faced, hitting the steering wheel, nuclear detonation-type stuff, which always paradoxically and inexplicably (to my way of thinking) evaporates and it’s back to even-keel within seconds.

        I, on the other hand, tend to not get outwardly fussed by much, let a great deal just roll off my shoulders (my motto is “will I remember this a year from now?”), laugh off most stressors (“Oh well! Whattaya gonna do?”) and exhibit loads more patience than she does. She’s explained to me that, biologically, she feels renewed and her sense of inner peace and equilibrium restored when she can purge her fury, whereas I feel sick to my stomach and like ants are crawling all over me when I allow anger to take hold of me. She embraces rage; I flee from it.

        Like

    • Lissy says:

      I think you’ve nailed it. The media exists to make a profit. Sensationalism sells. “Athlete disrespects Flag!” grabs your attention. “After Pondering Injustice, Man Quietly Remains Seated” isn’t going to get many clicks.

      Also, feeling outrage is satisfying and deludes us into thinking that somehow our outrage is a meaningful part of the solution when it’s just a loud form of inaction.

      And let’s not forget how easy it is to sit behind a screen and type all sorts of things a sane person would never dream of saying to someone’s face. Although I do think that typing these things eventually leads to becoming the type of person who actually does say these things to others-videos of what some people say at political rallies seems to bear this out…

      Like

  11. ruralbethany says:

    Something just popped into my head – my older sister. I make her uncomfortable. The choices I make with my life are different than hers and it makes her uncomfortable and she doesn’t like it. We have a history of getting into it with each other, to the point where I’ve written off having any relationship with her other than very shallow and noncommittal (although I’d never estrange from her, for the sake of our kids) and even my dad has gotten involved a few times to mediate between us.

    One of the hardest things for me has been that she could never seem to accept that I’m a different person and I have different wants, dreams, and desires in my life. She’s gotten a lot better in later years, especially since I’ve repeatedly re-iterated it to her so many times, but I can’t tell you how much tension is pretty much permanently between us due to her attempts to “correct” me to what she thinks is the proper path.

    And in truth, it IS a proper path – for HER. I would be miserable living her life and vice versa. Sometimes I look back at the last decade and wonder what it would have been like if she accepted and understood the “uncomfortableness” of me being me. I think she’s on her way for sure, but permanent damage was done and I’d never just be able to relax and say anything – I always have to measure my words.

    Which is another topic entirely… when you have to measure your words with someone vs. just being able to say ANYTHING and you know the person will get you. My younger sister is like that, and she is a blessing. Relationships are weird like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. linds01 says:

    I have recently heard somewhere (need to look it up) that in order to really grow we have to increase our emotional pain tolerance.
    That pain can be anger, remorse- whatever emotion that seems to high jack the emotional grid. Allowing yourself to experience it without responding; maybe using mindfulness meditation can help us feel the discomfort but not lose connection with our better senses.
    We have less synaptic gaps when we are dealing with emotional impulses, so it moves much quicker than our rational impulses. The trick is being aware of what is going on in your own body so that the rational thought processes can be the ones that lead.
    Emotions are great to inform us, but they of course shouldn’t be the decision makers.
    Lots of areas to grow in that for me.
    But I don’t think I will ever do it wrong with a goat.
    Ever. .. :)

    Like

  13. linds01 says:

    One last comment,
    When I was saved it was a very real experience for me. It was life changing.
    I didn’t become a Christian because of any particular doctrine or political beliefs. I became a Christian because it was something that became undeniable true to me.
    However, if the subject came up, ( and I admit I was eager to talk about it because it was something akin to falling in love,… or winning the lottery) I was met with a lot of assumptions from other people about who I was and what I believed in.
    For me, and I tried to express this at the time, my Christianity was not political, it was not a public thing, meant for political purposes, but it was a very personal thing.

    I think the biggest mistake we make in our current climate is very similar.
    It is easy to lump people into one category and stick a label on them. It assumes that peoples beliefs are strictly for the purposes of driving an agenda and that they are all driven by a need for power. When in fact, a lot of times, the only thing people want is peace.

    I think categorizing and labeling definitely restricts everyone in the exchange of ideas.

    More, and more and more I believe that any real discourse that is truly meaningful will not happen in one organized body claiming one ideology meeting with another organized body claiming another ideology- no matter how diplomatic; neither will it happen between a “red piller” and a “feminist”.
    We are people, and there is no way that I (as a person) can agree with everything lined out in a list of qualities given to a category.

    If someone does, if someone is the embodiment of some ideology, I would seriously worry about their individual personhood.

    Anyway, I am just saying that maybe the reason we are so uncomfortable with the other side is because we generally classify them as something as soo other/different than us.

    Just some thoughts…

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I think that’s exactly what it is, Linds.

      It looks and feels different, or foreign, or weird, or new in ways that make us uncomfortable.

      Wearing our hair in new styles makes us uncomfortable. Wearing clothes that are radically different than what we’re used to makes us uncomfortable. Learning new skills literally is physically and mentally uncomfortable and we adjust to new ways of doing things.

      Anything and everything that is outside of our typical experiences is uncomfortable.

      There’s grave danger when people believe that all those other people doing things differently are a threat, and that the threat should be silenced, imprisoned or eradicated.

      You can’t make people like each other.

      But I have to believe you can make people see the value in mutually beneficial coexistence.

      It always starts with asking the right questions.

      And which are those?

      The ones that make people uncomfortable?

      Liked by 1 person

      • linds01 says:

        I hope to comment more on Travis’ conversation tomorrow.

        Like

      • linds01 says:

        This is frustrating, because I know in some ways you are correct and every day/hour/min offers opportunities to grow. But let’s face it- I don’t want to change, it’s so much easier for them to be wrong! I am considering what you are saying even though my whole body says no.
        What if some crazy back woods SOB did win the Presidency? what if somehow the checks and balances didn’t work? What if we lived in a world exactly like the one that hits the disgust button every time Jeff speaks?
        Would we really think if it were wrong if we grew up on that kind if world? Part of me thinks we wouldn’t. We wouldn’t know a different way of life.
        But, truly- we don’t have to step back in time to see the consequences.
        We see harm, abuse and really a lack of civil rights in other countries that have less stable governments. Haiti, some African countries, some middle eastern countries. We can see the harm of it to the people not only in personal abuses, but also in the lack of progress and innovation -because only a few who have power are able to produce anything. There is more poverty, more stress, more death…
        I want to see the value in what I have said was something I admired in you- “to freely allow others to be themselves”,even in this situation.
        I still think there are limits, though. Truly building and growing tolerance can’t be forced.
        I am confronting the uncomfortable truth of my intolerance to some things I believe are truly BAD!
        I need go read over Travis’ convo better,later.
        I appreciate you challenging us with this.
        By the way- Gary who?? (Lol :)

        Like

        • Matt says:

          It’s letting people believe what they want and live free lives, and exercise free expression, only stopping them when those expressions infringe on others.

          Like

      • Travis B. says:

        Matt said,

        “It’s letting people believe what they want and live free lives, and exercise free expression, only stopping them when those expressions infringe on others.”

        And I guess that’s ultimately what I keep getting hung up on. It’s why I can let comments like, “I believe non-Christians will burn in Hell”, “I think it would be cool if more married people were swingers” and “I can’t imagine living in Greece because they have the most disgusting food” slide right off, because they do not infringe on my rights or any others. They are statements of belief, some of them are moral stances, even, but none of them require anything of me or anyone else. They are opinions in a vacuum, so to speak, so they are safe and even well-suited for debate purposes.

        I can also work with intra-relationship statements like, “When you leave dirty dishes by the sink, it makes me feel like you don’t love me” and “I wish you would handle your anger differently because it makes me feel unsafe” because, though they do represent a kind of character judgment, and are attempts to promote a change of behavior and/or belief, it’s between two people who, by marrying, have afforded each other that power in an effort to better work in tandem toward a common end goal. If two married people don’t even share common ground on basic moral convictions, then surely most of us would agree that’s a dyke with too many holes in it to effectively patch. So everything you wrote in your original post is something that I take no issue with and, in fact, champion.

        But very much like gottmanfan and Lindsey, where it continues to ring…well, certainly not false, but insufficient, for me is in terms of politics (and, to a degree, religion, insofar as the latter is allowed to inform the former).

        Because building a wall to keep a race of people out of your country, regardless of my ability to empathize with why someone might be convinced that’s a valid course of action, is not something my moral convictions can allow me to actively or passively validate.

        Because forcing (by physicality, guilt or influence) your wife to have sex with you because your interpretation of an interpretation of a 2,000 year-old collection of stories tells you that’s your right and privilege on demand, regardless of my ability to empathize with why someone might be convinced that’s a valid course of action, is not something my moral convictions can allow me to actively or passively validate.

        Because assigning a dollar amount to a person’s health, to the point that it is justifiable for them to incur an obscene amount of debt to stay healthy and alive, or perish, if they’re unable or unwilling to do so, regardless of my ability to empathize with why someone might be convinced that’s a valid course of action, is not something my moral convictions can allow me to actively or passively validate.

        Because giving white police officers who have shot and killed unarmed and innocent black citizens in precipitously high numbers a virtual slap on the wrist/”get out of jail free card” due to all of the good things police also accomplish, regardless of my ability to empathize with why someone might be convinced that’s a valid course of action, is not something my moral convictions can allow me to actively or passively validate.

        You’ll notice that all of these things, and so many more when it comes to political issues (and religious ones that have been allowed to become politicized), are exercises in free expression that DO infringe on others. They are not ideas in a vacuum. They are actionable. They can, and often are, made manifest.

        That’s why, like gottmanfan, I’m still not satisfied with empathy alone being the key to solving what ails our world, certainly not when it comes to our political travails (though I do strongly agree with you, Matt, that it does deserve a big seat at the head of the table). Again, I keep returning to the idea that our real problem, one with truly no solution, is that we are all slaves to time. And time affords us very little bandwidth for the sort of deep, peaceful and reciprocal interactions in empathy you’re championing. For instance, the U.S. election cycle technically began about a year-and-a-half ago. Basically eighteen months or so to try to secure a vision of the country with which you align, and prevent those who stand in opposition to it from accomplishing their end goal. How does that afford us the kind of time we need for measured reflection, for tempered speech, for breadth of open-minded exploration of what led each man to where he finds his mind and heart today? No, our dynamic is closer to watching a child step out into oncoming traffic–in the tiny window of time afforded to us, we have little recourse but to shout in the hope that we can change others’ behaviors in an instance.

        But I’ll give you this, Matt. I think, even when you use language that might run a bit hyperbolic (which I could never be accused of doing…*sarcasm*), what you’re ultimately saying is not “This is how everything gets fixed” but “This is how everything can at least get better”, and on that note, you’ll get no argument from me.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. ttravis says:

    Is anybody really angry about Gary Johnson? Really?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I just wanted to introduce his name to anyone reading who didn’t know it. :)

      That made me laugh!

      Like

      • ttravis says:

        I didn’t have much to add to your insightful remarks or the thoughtful comments that followed, but you really did need to be called out on that! And I agree that the goat is super cute.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know if anyone is angry about his existence, but probably. There are definitely people angry that I intend to vote for him.

        And yes while it’s important to be uncomfortable and to face discomfort well in life, there are still many questions of how to really make it work well. And I suspect that one reason is that some ideas are diametrically opposed. Many places where the rubber meats the road to create far more discomfort here than is seen in the last three weeks have been brought up under this post. I’d like to ask why 5 times over several controversies that have been brought up I still face the uncertainty of how to word the questions. Sometimes people do just think others are heinous and dismiss them or fear them or abhor them. I don’t abhor the guy you originally wrote about I just disagree with him. But now I know that Travis has equated me as morally reprensible in several different aspects of who I am on the deepest levels. But the questions still feel elusive because there is a socio-political history of polarizing and corrupt and destructive conversation across our society already behind us in our lives.

        Like

      • Travis B. says:

        fromscratchmomblog, I hope that I haven’t caused great offense. I bring up examples of things that I, yes, find to be morally reprehensible, not to wage war on those who disagree with me, but to learn and keep myself open to insights and recommendations on how I can work/thrive with people who believe in those stances as strongly as I disavow them. How does one actively demonstrate love and acceptance to someone who stands in opposition to everything one holds dear? Because we don’t simply believe what we believe; our life’s labor involves making our beliefs manifest in the world. So if you believe in some of the things I stated I find amoral, then I hope you’ll extend me the courtesy of believing that it is more important to me to find ways to co-exist with you than it is to vilify you. That desire alone is what fuels my latest inquiries.

        Like

      • I appreciate your reply, Travis. I didn’t mean to leave it hanging for hours. There was a real life reason why I did not see it till just now.

        A certain person emailed the preacher of the church where I worship to make a bunch of allegations against me. I’m thankful to be able to report that the preacher was extremely kind, and diplomatic in trying to speak to address concerns/possible concerns but also to exercise caution, wisdom, and restraint. He’s not a gossip or a jumping to conclusions or jumping on the bandwagon type of person. But of course the whole thing was fairly stressful in and of itself.

        I’ll continue to follow here when I have the time and energy. Although I obviously have a lot to face here logistically, legally, maybe now with church a bit more than before (maybe not, there’s no telling what further stuff a certain person who seems to be losing his grip on reality might do) with coming to grips with addiction issues that I’ve lived in questioning and/or denial about for a long while and gotten twisted up about. Maybe I need to join al anon and learn more about functional alcoholism. Maybe not. Maybe I need to not because of how desperately I need more time to rest and meditate.

        Among the things I’m considering under the broad category of possible-future-life-plans is working more with rape victims to offer real empathy, counseling, other services and options in ways that I consider to be truly loving and helpful which as I’m guessing you’ve seen or surmised is not what I think about helping them to end an innocent human life. Because I’ve actively offered empathy to rape victims before but not actually within a formal structure it’s a big concept to consider. (Desperately need more rest and meditation time!)

        But again, I thank-you for your answer!

        Like

  15. LOL! Do you have outrage fatigue? Offense weariness? Isn’t 2016 the year people became offended by absolutely everything?!

    I too am a bit baffled by all this. It’s like some kind of affluencia disorder, like we’re all enjoying too much peace and prosperity so we must look around and find something to get mad about. I don’t want to start a ruckus, but you often see this behavior in populations devoid of leadership. It’s like a no confidence vote in our rulers, repressed and suppressed anger over things we cannot control. I’ve watched it go down in businesses that have poor management, this pecking order aggression where people are just looking for a target for all their frustrations. Somebody around here must be thinking wrong, looking wrong….

    Like

  16. Jeff Strand says:

    “Maybe the Police are a bunch of racist murderers.”

    Really, Matt? Seriously? Pretty disappointed in you.

    Btw, while Kaepernick goes on about those horrible racist cops who dare to shoot people who aim guns at them (even if those aiming the gun happen to be black)…it just came out that Britannee Drexell, the 17 year old white cheerleader form South Carolina who went missing in 2009, was kidnapped, gang raped, tortured, shot dead, and fed to alligators by blacks. Several blacks came and went at the gang “stash house” where she was being raped for days, and they saw and heard her and knew what was happening to her. No one helped her or called the cops after leaving the place…she’s just a white girl.

    This is racial hatred on an almost unbelievable, inhuman, satanic level. Even the idea of white males doing such a thing to a black female is just plain laughable. It just doesn’t happen. But you can bet this story will be out of the news cycle in a day or two. Nothing to see here. (Compare to the outrage over the Brock Turner story all summer)

    Will you do a post on this poor girl, Matt? Will we see whites riot and start shooting blacks at random as a result, as blacks did to white cops in NYC, Dallas. Baton Rouge, etc? Will we see a White Lives Matter movement?

    Color me disgusted. With Kaepernick and with all this political correctness. I agree with Clint Eastwood – something has happened to this country, and it ain’t good.

    Enough with this White Guilt bullshit.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      The next time you call people “blacks,” we’re going to be SUPER-done.

      Sexist, and a little bit racist, Jeff.

      That’s really disappointing.

      Like

      • Jeff Strand says:

        It’s wrong to say “blacks”?

        Honestly news to me. I would have no problem with being called white. It’s just short-hand to say “blacks” instead of “black people” or “people of African descent”. There no insult or put-down involved.

        What should I have said? I can’t keep up with the latest PC terminology.

        Like

        • Matt says:

          It’s wrong to be you, Jeff.

          Like

        • linds01 says:

          Matt,
          Please just get rid of him. He does not help the group, he hurts it.
          There are tons of people here that bring diverse thoughts, view points ect. And they are know when it’s appropriate to express their views.
          If I were Travis I would be pissed he commented on my thread at all.
          I know I don’t want him commenting on mine.
          I’m not interested I’m anything he has to say.
          I get you have principles Matt, and I appreciate that, but maybe principles have a time and place,too.
          He’s making comments on others threads just to push his agenda. It doesn’t have any relevance to the conversation except to be diametrically opposed to any social advancement we’ve made in the last 100 years.
          Please, for the love of all that’s sane – please block him.

          Like

      • Jeff Strand says:

        “It’s wrong to be you, Jeff”

        LOL. Well, ok then, that clears it up. All along, the problem was little old me, lol.

        Well, I think I’ll take a break from the inter webs, getting late. Sorry for the rant on this post earlier Matt, sometimes it just helps to vent through. But probably best if I just excuse myself from the rest of this thread.

        Have a great night.

        Like

        • Matt says:

          It’s not wrong to say “blacks,” Jeff.

          It’s just a word. It’s just whatever.

          It’s wrong, in the context of your PROFOUNDLY intolerant views on people “who aren’t like you,” to dehumanize people.

          It is fundamentally unkind to treat people like Things.

          People are not things.

          And even though a shit-ton of people have been in an uproar over the way you present your ideas, and the way you demean people with whom you disagree, I have tried very hard to not treat you like a thing.

          If you and I talk, we’ll agree on the vast majority of things. I think almost any two people on Earth will.

          But you like to focus on differences and call attention to them.

          In and of itself, using the term “blacks” is only as offensive as members of the black community deem it to be.

          Allow me to illustrate my point.

          If someone from Japan visits the United States, and wears their shoes in our restaurants or houses, or they take a bunch of indoor flash photography inside if a historic cathedral, approximately zero people will be offended or feel as if that person did something wrong.

          Cool.

          But if an American goes to Japan and wears his outside shoes inside of someone’s home or in a restaurant, or takes indoor photos inside of a house of worship, he’s committed a MAJOR violation of the accepted code of conduct.

          I know not having universal guidelines kind of sucks. But it’s all part of that whole Everyone Gets to be Who They Are thing.

          I am so tired of people using skin color (and gender) as the measuring stick for valuing other people.

          I have totally had it with that in the comments.

          Please treat everyone with the same dignity and humility that Christ demonstrated, and called us to follow, Jeff.

          Please pray my favorite prayer (the Prayer of St. Francis) over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

          Because if you want to know who we are called to be, you’ll find it in those words.

          And if you don’t, I guess you’ll keep surrounding yourself with people who believe exactly what you do, and never ever answer any hard questions.

          That’s certainly your prerogative.

          Like

      • linds01 says:

        Jeff,
        I’m not trying to be rude or hateful, but I think it would really help you to go talk to a Counselor.

        Like

  17. gottmanfan says:

    Matt,

    And there it is.

    We’ve moved from misogyny to racism. Next up antisemitism perhaps?

    Awaiting your reply with the greatest interest and empathy.

    Like

  18. Jeff Strand says:

    Gott,

    It’s not racism. It’s honest outrage over the way people are being lied to. They want to make it sound like cops are racist killers who just salivate over the chance to shoot poor innocent minorities. And that’s garbage.

    Did you know that whites constitute about 35 to 40% of the population on NYC, yet commit only 2% of the shootings in the city? That’s so extreme, you could conclude that if the city were entirely white, there would be hardly any shootings. Is it racist to point this out?

    Is it racist to point out that typically about 20,000 to 30,000 white women are raped by black males every year in the U.S.? And the number of black females raped by white men? Statistically zero, meaning somewhere less than 10. These numbers are from the FBI’s “The Color of Crime Report”.

    So yeah, I get outraged when I see domestic terrorist groups like BLM acting like its blacks who are being victimized by whites. It’s the doctrine of the Big Lie.

    Rant over.

    P.S. Also, I see I’m a misogynist (according to you). LMAO! That would be news to my wife, my daughters, my mom, my female cousins, etc. But I guess you know me better than they do. Yeah, sure.

    Like

  19. Roni says:

    Your comments once again resonate. I think our society has become so tightly wound, that the common knee jerk is outrage and hysteria. It is time we all took a deep breath and realize how fortunate we are to have the freedoms we do. That being said, I wish common sense was a core curriculum that could be taught.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Matt, a few years back I got so frustrated with people, so I literally set out on the internet to visit the white supremists, the misogynists, the MRA’s, the alt right, the red pills, and see if I really could empathize with people I disagreed with. I managed to do it, I pulled it off, I but it darn near broke my heart in the process because there are some lost and broken people in the world. In the end I didn’t hate any of them at all, but I sure did grieve for some of them.

    It was really a good experience however, because I I discovered that people can only make me mad if there is something unresolved within me and that is the button they are pushing. Our entire culture right now hinges on pushing people’s buttons. That’s what goes on in advertising, politics, the media, it’s all about pushing people’s buttons. When it comes to boundaries, creating safety for yourself, one of the best things we can do is identify our own buttons and get rid of them.

    Like

    • linds01 says:

      IB
      I agree in theory- getting rid of our buttons I think is def a good cause to work for. But, I am not there yet.
      It’s great to go venture out and put yourself in the company of people that you usually don’t keep company with. Honestly- that is a beautiful idea that I will likely try. However- the difference is you are going out to them and you can leave it when it gets to be too much. We don’t have that choice here, unless we leave the blog and that isn’t something I want to do.
      I do think it would be a good exercise for me and maybe others to go to these sites, or just spend time in real life with people who you probably don’t agree with.
      I think it is scary as hell that a man like Trump exists, and that there is such a large backing for him, but they DO exist.
      So maybe understanding them and communicating with them (in small doses) can help conversation.
      I don’t know if it will change anything, but like you said, IB- maybe it can at at least help us better to deal with it, by not pushing our buttons.

      Like

    • Donkey says:

      This will not be relevant to the disucssion about what should be allowed on this blog or not.

      I just wanted to say, I love getting rid of my buttons. Well actually no, but I enjoy the end result. :p That’s one of the reasons one of my main interest is depth psychology of various kinds, because that’s what has helped me the most in getting rid of buttons/overcoming trauma.

      How do you go about it IB?

      If there’s something that triggers me, I sometimes write about it, why does this trigger me, what does this mean to me, why would that be so bad etc. Sometimes, when I’m lucky, I end up crying, which helps release a button, or part of it anyway.

      Like

      • Donkey, crying is awesome. We always want to stop, to shove it away from ourselves, to toughen up and be OK without it. But God created it; he gave it to us for a reason. It’s like medicine. There’s a Jewish proverb, “What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.”

        In the last year I’ve learned to catch myself in that first moment of crying and intentionally embrace it rather than suppress it. It’s been a very healthy change in my life!

        So here’s some more:

        http://www.quotegarden.com/crying.html

        Like

      • Oh and I meant to say I got rid of a lot of my buttons by going through EMDR therapy. It was hard work but it was so worth it. You can google it. (I’d end up going on at length if I elaborated on what it is and I have to get off of here now!) ;)

        Like

      • Donkey says:

        “I’ve learned to catch myself in that first moment of crying and intentionally embrace it rather than suppress it. It’s been a very healthy change in my life!”

        For sure! That’s why I love shadow work. Going into the root of the “negative” emotions usually works much much better for me in creating lasting change than just looking at the bright side. The positive’s important too obviously, but for the last few years, dealing with the shadow has been more important for me.

        But as David Burns say “tools not schools”, so everyone should do what works for them!

        I do know of EMDR, but I haven’t tried it. Are you familiar with Somatic Experiencing? I did quite a lot of that, and it was somewhat helpful in releasing some trauma/buttons, but honestly not that much from what I can tell (though I really liked the therapist, and did gain some valuable experiences). So I’m in no rush to try EMDR, because I know from experience that what works great for someone else will not necessarily work for me, and I just don’t feel the inclination to try it at this point. I’ll stick to crying for now (boy, have I cried a lot these last few years!) ;)

        But thank you for the tip!

        Like

      • “How do you go about it IB?”

        Well, in faith I simply confess it and set to down at the foot of the cross and let God heal it. Something I learned, triggers are related to that shame/pride dichotomy, so where there is no shame, there can be no triggers. We can’t be offended by things we don’t pick up offense over. Once you have God’s favor, people’s approval or disapproval no longer has much power over you.

        Like

      • Donkey says:

        Thanks IB. Would you care to briefly explain what you mean by the shame/pride dichotomy?

        Like

      • I neglected to get back to this mini-thread to say I’ll have to look up the somatic experience. Thank-you for the suggestion. *smiles*

        Like

  21. gottmanfan says:

    I think empathy is necessary but not sufficient.

    “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Martin Luther King Jr

    Like

    • gottmanfan says:

      And for one if my 5 whys of why I believe that here’s another favorite quote.

      “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”Martin Luther King, Jr.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Here’s something to ponder. The concept of “refusing to tolerate evil” is often used as justification for silencing people. So, just from reading the comments from so many of you I can now discern what this particular tribe perceives as the “evil” they feel entitled to rid the world of. Pretty much anything to do with religion, submission, Donald Trump, feminism, politics, race. People are actually declaring they feel abused by the fact that other people have views they disagree with.

        That is not actually abuse.

        Like

        • linds01 says:

          No one is calling expressing his thoughts abuse. The content of his message when played out towards people is abuse.
          His comments are just inappropriate to the conversation and do not benefit the overall purpose for the conversation.
          His comments draw attention away from any real work or processing we are doing because they are so intentionally controversial, but they do not add anything of value to the purpose of “meeting” here.
          In therapy groups, he would be asked to leave because he is disrupting progress.
          I get freedom of speech- everyone has the right to their thoughts and should
          Be able to express them- and he has, repeatedly.
          Matt is not the law and this blog is not America. There are plenty if other places for him to express himself. But it is currently not benefiting the people who come here to get better.
          Forcing the issue- whether it’s sexism, racism , or the intolerance of them doesn’t help. Everyone needs space to work out their shit. This used to be a good space for that.

          Like

        • Matt says:

          Just to be clear, the only thing I care about relative to this conversation, is not being shitty in comments.

          Like

      • gottmanfan says:

        IB,

        My comment was meant mostly generally for the post. I tend to agree with Travis’s reservations that he and Matt were discussing in a thread above. But it can also be applied to understand why I keep protesting Jeffs’s comments.

        I don’t know if you are including me in the tribe that “defines evil as religion, submission, Donald Trump, feminism, politics, and race”.

        I define evil as misogyny, racism, antisemitism, anti religious views, covering up pedophiles, murder, rape, and a lot of other stuff that I’m too tired to list.

        I like debating, I like to understand what makes people tick. I think it is very important to be empathetic even though I fail miserably despite my best efforts sometimes. I also think it’s important to use whatever power one might have to strongly disagree and or block those I think are hurting others. Even if it’s just words and ideas. Even if it doesn’t bother me.

        Like you, I’ve sought out those that have views I find reprehensible. I try to understand and even empathize why they came to believe these things. But I also believe it’s important to not allow ideas and speech to be unchallenged if it promotes evil, if it’s toxic. If the person will not change I set boundaries. If I have the power to remove them from the situation I do that, if not I try and remove myself. And I certainly try and protect those that might be vulnerable to be adversely effected.

        Because words have power, ideas have power. Allowing toxic and evil ideas to stand is participating with evil in my view.

        I’ve had to do this with racist family members. I’ve had to do this with sexist jokes in a business setting. I’ve had to do this in churches, schools, and other environments.

        I consider it my duty to the metaphorically to raise my hand and say this is wrong. This is toxic. This is evil. This is hurting others. That’s why the quote is very meaningful to me.

        You mention that others felt abused. I can’t speak to that as it is not my personal experience but I don’t want to discount what others feel.

        I want to empathize with them, as Matt dishes stories tell us, that just because something doesn’t feel abusive to you or me it is wrong to dismiss their emotions as wrong.

        Of course, reasonable people can disagree on many, many things. Do I want to silence people? It depends on the situation. Like Matt, I’m a big believer in freedoms if speech. But that applies to government protest.

        I’m a big believer in diversity of opinion. In understand both sides of a debate. I should able to articulate why someone is pro-life and someone is pro-choice in a way that both sides would say yes you are understanding my view as an example.

        But I’m also a believer in context. While freedom of speech says that the Klan has every right to hold a rally, I don’t believe I need to invite them to my school or my home or a restaurant for a discussion of their racist views.

        And if they show up at a restaurant I am dining at and loudly say racist things, I believe I should ask them nicely to stop, if they don’t then go to the manager and ask them to make sure that toxic evil shit is not allowed to prevail.

        So those are just a few thoughts.

        Like

      • linds01 says:

        Matt,
        Fair enough.
        I do want to clarify when I said “Matt is not the law and this blog isnt America”, I wasn’t trying to challenge your authority- this IS Your blog!
        I was just trying to get away from the metaphor of such regarding free speech, you could use the metaphor of this being a restaurant or other establishment, and you get to have say on what goes on and doesnt go on.

        Let me correct myself before you have to

        #1- This IS public space. (Am I right?)

        #2- This ISNT a support group (at least not to the extent that I framed it above)

        #3 There are just as many reasons to justifiably refuse interacting with me.
        I sometimes dont have time to write out well thought out statements and I look like I am rambling because I am writing as I am going (which equates to rambling…) , I am person/relationship centered (And a little self centered) so sometimes I dont contribute to the content as much as I get out of the content, and I like crunchy peanut butter on my apples. (I am sorry, that is something I will not change… )

        So, we have to drop it. Indigestion or not, we have to accept it.

        I can think of a thousand reasons why I am right in the ideology department over the other controversial views. But, I agree you are right that the person is allowed to have those controversial.
        Great- this will be soooo character building (damn it!)

        Peace. Hope you still care about us, though. Just a little?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lissy says:

        Unpleasant people are found everywhere, and we all have to deal with them in various life situations-work, extended family, community groups, etc. We don’t have a say in it.

        But we do have a say in who we allow to live in our homes. Our homes are usually our sanctuary. Because of the subject matter of this blog-human relationships-sometimes commentors are living with people they are not at peace with. And some of them have shared that when they have separated from their spouse, peace returns, because their spouse was unwilling to change in ways that would produce any relational improvement.

        I’ve realized that I saw the comment section as a home. People come and go , but there is a core group who are living life together, helping each other to grow, bouncing ideas off each other, exploring new concepts, etc. Sometimes, visitors stop by for tea, have pleasant conversation and then leave. Others might drive by and shoot unpleasant comments at Matt, mostly because he dares to examine himself and doesn’t point the finger at his ex-wife. But none of these have taken up residence here until recently.

        The problem is not thoughts or opinions, although some of these thoughts and opinions are certainly triggering to some of us. Misogyny. Racism. Religious judgement. I think the problem is a combination of pride, judgement, name calling, and an unwillingness to accept differences and show kindness to each other.

        But the biggest problem might be that this is going on in our home!! This is where some of us have been free to share some very personal things, because we sensed it was a safe environment. It’s a place where a lot of healing has happened. At times, people have disagreed here, and maybe even offended others. When that happens, both parties are usually quick to try to restore relationship, like Travis quickly clarifying that he did not intend to offend Scratchmom)

        So how do we view the comment section of this blog? if we view it as just a forum for discussing ideas, then we can choose to ignore people we don’t want to interact with. We can choose to read the posts but not the comments, or we can choose to not read the blog at all.

        If, however, we view this as our tribe’s home, then of course we want an intruder to be hauled out and prevented from coming in again.

        How do all of you see it? Forum or home?

        Like

      • Travis B. says:

        gottmanfan, Lindsey and Lissy rule. That is all.

        Like

  22. Donkey says:

    IB, this is mainly for you, but also others who are interested in the discussion.

    “Here’s something to ponder. The concept of “refusing to tolerate evil” is often used as justification for silencing people. So, just from reading the comments from so many of you I can now discern what this particular tribe perceives as the “evil” they feel entitled to rid the world of. Pretty much anything to do with religion, submission, Donald Trump, feminism, politics, race. People are actually declaring they feel abused by the fact that other people have views they disagree with.

    That is not actually abuse.”

    I have tried to ponder this a bit. Like Gottmanfan said, I don’t know whether or not you include me in the tribe you’re talking about.

    I did appreciate and agree with almost all of Travis’ comment the other day. I did later clarify and state that I’ll certainly rather read Jeff Strand’s comments (and others like this that deeply offends me) than be assaulted.

    And I’ll concede that declaring myself as entitled to ultimately decide what’s evil and feel entitled to rid the world (or this blog-world) of it would be hybristic of me.

    And yet, I do allow myself to define some things as evil (acknowledging that we all have good and bad in us, including myself). I’ll quote Gottmanfan again: “I define evil as misogyny, racism, antisemitism, anti religious views, covering up pedophiles, murder, rape, and a lot of other stuff that I’m too tired to list.”

    Whether or not someone is libertarian or not, conservative or liberal, against the right to abortion or not, I don’t consider any of those evil even though I’ll disagree with some people on these points.

    And so, I don’t think many of the comments are just a different opinion. When someone seriously believes, and states it loudly and proudly and extremely, that one group of humanity should have less rights than another, based on gender, race, religion etc, that isn’t merely a different opinion in my opinion.

    Especially when it’s about groups who have a long history of being marginalized, abused and with fewer rights in society (women, jews, people of colour), it does feel quite harmful to be exposed to those kinds of opinions, especially when they’re very extreme and the logic behind it isn’t really logic at all, but severly hypocritical. Like when Jeff Strand doesn’t believe in limiting his own freedom to protect others from unwanted consequences, but he believes in limiting women’s freedom to protect him form a potentially unwanted consequence. Or using some parts of the Bible to jusstify his pretty extreme view about what a godly woman should do and be, but blatantly overlooking other parts which show something very different. Or denying that he’s a misogynist when he’s against women’s voting right, when he talks about submission as almost an absolute, think that men should be able to decide whether or not their wives should risk their lives during pregnancy….

    Perhaps the hypocrisy is what bothers me most of all, I’m not quite sure.

    Try this on for size:

    – Women shouldn’t be allowed to vote because they’re irrational —->

    – Jews shouldn’t be allowed to vote because they’re irrational —->

    – People of color shouldn’t be allowed to vote because they’re irrational —->

    Would you consider the two latter ones merely different opinions or more in the direction of hate speech? Are those somehow different than the first, in your opinion, and why if that is the case?

    I have said it before, I do not wish for female submission in marriage to be the norm in society, I do not wish for it for myself, but again, people are free to do what they like in this regard, and I do believe very much in that right. I am however deeply triggered by people, you included IB, wanting a patriarchal society as a general principle.

    I DO NOT like lumping you together with Jeff Strand, because I find you infinitely more polite, coherent and much more respecting of women’s humanity. But since we’re being frank here, I’d like you to explain something to me, if you’re willing. And this is honestly not meant to inflame or offend or label you (though I do wish to get my point across), I ask this with as much reverence for the full respect living concept as I’m able to at this point.

    I’m wondering about the following IB:

    You say you disagree with white supremacists, and I believe you!
    But honestly, in your opinion, what is really the difference in terms of ethics/respect for people’s worth as human beings between:

    – We should have a patriarchal society because it’s the best way of harnessing men’s initiative.

    and:

    – We should have a white supremacy society because it’s the best way of harnessing white people’s initiative.

    I really don’t see the difference. Though in my admittedly non scientific experience, there is much more tolerance for labelling the first one as an opinion and the latter one as hate speech/ deeply racist. But in both cases, one group of humanity gets placed in a much more powerless position, they get denied as much rights as another group of humanity because of something inherent to them (gender, race)

    We could even add:

    – we should have an atheist supremacy society because it’s the best way of harnessing atheists’ initiative.

    If you interpret the Bible as to advocate a patriarchal society, I can see why you’d believe in that. But if the Bible recommended a white supremacy society, would you then endorse that concept too? If yes, then I do feel it makes sense and is not hypocritical, though I don’t agree with those views at all. If you would not endorse the concept of white supremacy even if it was recommended in the Bible, then yes, I think wanting a patriarchal society is deeply misogynistic, and without any “good” coherent reason for it.

    (And just for the record, someone wanting a matriarchal society would be equally offensive to me, but admittedly less triggering since I’m not a man and since men in the vast majority of cases have not been oppressed by women in the sense of them being denied voting rights, access to education, the right to own property etc.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donkey says:

      (As much as I’ve been bothered by the direction the comment section has taken after Jeff Strand appeared, I’ve never actually fully decided on whether or not I think he should be banned. As people have recommended to me, but I have not followed up on, perhaps the best course of action would be to just ignore him. But it’s very hard to allow some (not all) of his (often extreme and hypocritical) statements stand without comment. I’ll admit I’m at this point deeply relieved that *he*’ll probably no longer be allowed to comment on wifely submission on active posts. Perhaps I’ll feel differently some time from now.)

      Like

      • Matt says:

        I want to make something abundantly clear to anyone who cares about this ongoing discussion.

        I, PERSONALLY, am more against silencing people with whom we disagree than I am about whatever thing we’re disagreeing about.

        One of the worst things you can do as a person is deny one’s right to be who they are and defend their beliefs.

        In some bizarre twist of ironic poetry, in THIS instance, the offensive behavior being discussed falls into the same category — taking away individual liberties for selfish reasons.

        I am NOT for banning Jeff. I don’t hate Jeff. I don’t think Jeff should agree with me. I don’t think Jeff should have to live, be and think like everyone else.

        But, very specifically here in the comments of this blog, given the conversations, and given what I feel has been clearly communicated standards, I am STRONGLY opposed to unkindness.

        People should feel free to belittle my opinions, call me a hack writer, and hurl insults in my direction.

        But I’ll simply no longer stand for people being assholes to one another in the comments here.

        In the United States, people are allowed to own guns.

        In some states, people are allowed to carry concealed weapons.

        But mayors of towns and cities have the power to outlaw concealed carrying in their towns and cities (I think), and certainly individual businesses and homeowners are allowed to restrict concealed (or visible!) weapons on their property.

        That’s what this is.

        Free speech reigns. I am a major, major advocate. And I’m going to defend Jeff when I agree with him (I did agree with something he said two days ago about how people evaluate potential mates, whether we like labeling it certain ways or not), and I’m going to defend Jeff’s right to say what he thinks and answer questions people ask him.

        I draw the line at banning Jeff because he’s “unpopular.” That’s never happening.

        Progress will never and can never happen unless we listen to people who disagree with us and challenge our beliefs and conventions.

        It just so happens, I get to play business owner here, and I’m not going to let people come into the business and mess with other visitors.

        I’m not going to let people come into my home and mess with my friends and family.

        THAT gets people banned.

        Being “mean” doesn’t get you banned. And certainly saying unpopular things doesn’t get you banned.

        Being needlessly unkind after repeated pleas for civility will.

        Like

      • gottmanfan says:

        Matt,

        I’m not as good as Donkey at asking questions and like Anita said last post I’m not trying to be an asshole in asking thus question.

        You say you are not against silencing people, but isn’t it just a matter of what you believe deserves silencing?

        You are not in favor of silencing people for misogyny or racism (if I understand your comments) but you are for silencing people for unkindess or messing with your friends.

        Am I understanding your criteria for silencing correctly?

        Like

        • Matt says:

          Misogyny and racism IS unkind.

          We don’t try to silence people with whom we disagree. We deny participation in our conversations with people who can’t treat people with dignity.

          It’s not complicated.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Donkey says:

        “Being “mean” doesn’t get you banned. And certainly saying unpopular things doesn’t get you banned.

        Being needlessly unkind after repeated pleas for civility will.”Yes, banning was probably a bad choice of words.”

        Banned was probably a bad choice of words on my part, I’m sorry. Maybe a time out could be an option though. :p

        I guess for me it is hard to separate between unkindness and repeated stating of extreme opinions which, if actualized, would deny one group of humanity equal rights. Statements which could arguably be categorized as hate speech (women shouldn’t be allowed to vote —> jews shouldn’t be allowed to vote). And of course, there has been the name calling, refusals to allows for other people have different experiences etc.

        I’m not saying those opinions should never be allowed. And obviously, this is not my blog. But I think that if you want to discuss opinions which would render one part of humanity with much less rights and influence (as in wanting a patriarchal society or a white supremacist society, denying people the right to vote based on gender, race etc), I think it’s only reasonable that you should take care to do it in a very polite and honest way. No name calling, no sarcasm, no unwillingness to acknowledge that other people have different experiences etc. The combination of the two (opinions which would render parts of humanity with much less right based on inherent qualities and bad/dishonest manner of expressing your views) comes across as destructive to me.

        I actually agree with Jeff Strand about some things too. We certainly shouldn’t be categorized as inherently racist/sexist/hateful for bringing up unsavory facts, such as instances of black people being violent against white people, or the fact (if I remember it correctly) Gottmanfan first brought up, that women instigate domestic violende more often than men. But of course, the manner in which these things are discussed matter greatly. I think it’s wrong if they’re brought up to somehow diminish the racism in society against people of colour or the sexism in society against women, which in my opinion (supported by the historical fact that women and people of colour have had less rights than men and white people respectively) is a bigger problem than racism against white or sexism against men.

        I will also acknowledge that in my last few exchanges with Jeff Strand he has been pretty polite, and I appreciate that. Although he does overlook most of my questions (about the possible inconsistensies of his arguments etc). I have not replied to his last comment, but only because I’m waiting for the words to gather in my brain.

        In honor of the full respect living concept I aspire to, I want to rephrase something I said:

        “I DO NOT like lumping you together with Jeff Strand, because I find you infinitely more polite, coherent and much more respecting of women’s humanity.”

        This to me does not read as being fully respectful of Jeff Strand’s humanity, and so I apologize. I’d rather say something like:

        “I do not like lumping your opinions together with the vast majority of the opinions Jeff Strand has expressed here, because I find your opinions vastly more polite, coherent and much more respecting of women’s humanity”

        Like

        • Matt says:

          Let’s use Jeff as an example.

          Here is how I mentally approach what Jeff brings to conversations…

          1. Jeff has every right as a human being to be whatever he is. I am not inclined to label him, even though I hurriedly came close to doing so in comments yesterday.

          My perception of Jeff is that he is well-educated, ultra-“traditional” and resistant to change and new ideas, and, in his core, views women (and now it look like people with darker skin tones as well) as people with less value than People Like Jeff (white men in philosophical alignment with his beliefs).

          I might be wrong. That’s my perception.

          I won’t call Jeff a misogynist. I’ll say I perceive his beliefs to be misogynistic/sexist in nature.

          I won’t call Jeff a racist. I’ll say I perceived his language in one conversation to be racist in nature.

          But even if Jeff IS actually a misogynist and racist, he is allowed to be those things in a free society, whether we like it or not.

          Diving in further…

          2. Jeff is allowed to raise his hand and say “I am a misogynist. Men are better than women.”

          Or, “I am a racist. People with dark skin are worth less than people with light skin.”

          Or, “I am a hypocrite. I believe people who sin in ways different than the ways I sin are disgusting freaks who should burn in hell.”

          In my opinion, he should be able to say those things in comments. And it rest on others to choose how to interact with that, and how they feel about Jeff for identifying himself that way.

          HOWEVER…

          3. Jeff may NOT actually apply misogynistic behavior, racist behavior, bigoted and hypocritical behavior toward others in ways that are cruel, mean-spirited, designed to incite anger/demean/insult, or are otherwise inconsistent with:

          BEING KIND TO OTHERS.

          Liked by 1 person

          • linds01 says:

            Matt, I have 2 min and I just saw this. What you wrote is absolutely true, but the other side is in reality the way people deal with continued annoyance is to leave it. So Jeff can go on being Jeff, but everyone else will leave.
            Jeff has a right to be Jeff, and everyone else has a right not to interact.
            So that puts a double layer of responsibility on you- to uphold your convictions for an ideal vs. Convictions of having a working/ collaborative group. (If that is a conviction??)

            Like

            • Matt says:

              I totally agree, Linds.

              Which is why this conversation is happening in the first place.

              We must collectively as a tribe decide what we will and will not tolerate. That’s the ongoing conversation.

              An individual must decide whether she or he wants to be part of the tribe once the boundaries have been set.

              They’re clearly a little in flux right now.

              People have asked me to ban a user because they don’t like what he has to say.

              I ALSO don’t like what he has to say.

              But I’m not for banning things or people for that reason.

              I’m for banning people who intentionally violate totally established and well-communicated standards.

              I don’t think we have an answer yet on how Jeff intends to proceed.

              But I’m trying my damndest to pay attention.

              Like

      • gottmanfan says:

        Matt,

        You said:

        “Misogyny and racism IS unkind.

        We don’t try to silence people with whom we disagree. We deny participation in our conversations with people who can’t treat people with dignity.

        It’s not complicated.”

        Well I must be simple minded because I sincerely do not understand what you saying.

        You must then not find Jeffs’s comments misogynistic or racist. Since that would be unkind and you would then silence him.

        I am not questioning you right apply whatever criteria seems right to you. Of course, but it is exceedingly confusing to me based on your comments.

        But I understand you have no intentions of blocking Jeff. Thank you for making that clear. That will help others decide what their boundaries must be.

        Like

        • Matt says:

          Copied and pasted from a comment I just wrote in response to Donkey, followed by something else I wrote to Linds:

          Here is how I mentally approach what Jeff brings to conversations…

          1. Jeff has every right as a human being to be whatever he is. I am not inclined to label him, even though I hurriedly came close to doing so in comments yesterday.

          My perception of Jeff is that he is well-educated, ultra-“traditional” and resistant to change and new ideas, and, in his core, views women (and now it look like people with darker skin tones as well) as people with less value than People Like Jeff (white men in philosophical alignment with his beliefs).

          I might be wrong. That’s my perception.

          I won’t call Jeff a misogynist. I’ll say I perceive his beliefs to be misogynistic/sexist in nature.

          I won’t call Jeff a racist. I’ll say I perceived his language in one conversation to be racist in nature.

          But even if Jeff IS actually a misogynist and racist, he is allowed to be those things in a free society, whether we like it or not.

          Diving in further…

          2. Jeff is allowed to raise his hand and say “I am a misogynist. Men are better than women.”

          Or, “I am a racist. People with dark skin are worth less than people with light skin.”

          Or, “I am a hypocrite. I believe people who sin in ways different than the ways I sin are disgusting freaks who should burn in hell.”

          In my opinion, he should be able to say those things in comments. And it rest on others to choose how to interact with that, and how they feel about Jeff for identifying himself that way.

          HOWEVER…

          3. Jeff may NOT actually apply misogynistic behavior, racist behavior, bigoted and hypocritical behavior toward others in ways that are cruel, mean-spirited, designed to incite anger/demean/insult, or are otherwise inconsistent with:

          BEING KIND TO OTHERS.

          ### (End of comment to Donkey)

          Beginning of comment to Linds:

          We must collectively as a tribe decide what we will and will not tolerate. That’s the ongoing conversation.

          An individual must decide whether she or he wants to be part of the tribe once the boundaries have been set.

          They’re clearly a little in flux right now.

          People have asked me to ban a user because they don’t like what he has to say.

          I ALSO don’t like what he has to say.

          But I’m not for banning things or people for that reason.

          I’m for banning people who intentionally violate totally established and well-communicated standards.

          I don’t think we have an answer yet on how Jeff intends to proceed.

          But I’m trying my damndest to pay attention.

          ###

          Like

        • Matt says:

          One more reply on this.

          Once upon a time, a DIFFERENT group of people with DIFFERENT beliefs were trying to protect their children.

          So they rallied together to form a coalition of people dedicated to banning literature deemed offensive in their kids’ schools.

          Among those books were:

          To Kill a Mockingbird
          The Catcher in the Rye
          Animal Farm
          Slaughterhouse Five
          Lord of the Flies
          Of Mice and Men

          When we ban people because we don’t like what they have to say, how can we then stand up with any semblance of justice and integrity, and defend these literary classics against those who wish to burn them?

          Like

      • gottmanfan says:

        Matt,

        You said:

        “One more reply on this.

        Once upon a time, a DIFFERENT group of people with DIFFERENT beliefs were trying to protect their children.

        So they rallied together to form a coalition of people dedicated to banning literature deemed offensive in their kids’ schools.

        Among those books were:

        To Kill a Mockingbird
        The Catcher in the Rye
        Animal Farm
        Slaughterhouse Five
        Lord of the Flies
        Of Mice and Men

        When we ban people because we don’t like what they have to say, how can we then stand up with any semblance of justice and integrity, and defend these literary classics against those who wish to burn them?”

        As I said in another comment. I believe in free speech, I believe in diversity of opinion. But I also believe in applying limitations on speech depending on context and mission.

        For example teaching religion in public school is banned, silenced, blocked etc. You are free to believe whatever you want as a teacher and student. You are not free as a teacher to use the Bible or the Koran in Science class or pray with your children in class.

        Why? Because the mission of public schools is to teach children of all religions. It is not to teach religion.

        Private schools may choose to teach religious texts if that is in keeping with thier mission. Context matters.

        Pornogrophy is also protected speech. You are free to view this as an adult. You are not free to display pornography in all public spaces like publicly owned tv airwaves.

        You are not free to threaten the Presidents life. You are not free to say you have a bomb in an airport.

        And of course the classic example from the Supreme Court. You are not free to yell Fire! In a crowded theater.

        We limit free speech all the time depending on the context.

        So in my view it all depends on mission and context for free speech on this blog. If your mission is to develop discussions on understanding and improving relationships then limitations of mysogynistic and racist speech seem quite appropriate.

        If your mission is to have a general discussion group where ALL forms of speech and any topic matter in great detail may be discussed then limiting speech seems less appropriate.

        Reddit has many such places.

        The thing I really liked about your comment section is that until recently it was a place to really focus on how to improve marriages and other relationships. With very intelligent conversation among the diverse commenters.

        I have found that to be much more rare than a place for general debates that include misogyny and racism. So that is why I am advocating for more free speech restriction to keep with the mission of improving marriages.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Matt says:

          I don’t believe I have done anything that suggests I don’t agree with this, but regardless, this is a very well-stated case for why something should or should not be.

          I think it represents the type of compelling responses and thoughtful answers that promote growth and change.

          I appreciate it.

          Please hang with me just a bit longer on this.

          I wish you knew what my real life schedule looked like so you could see how I have to try to balance all this among everything going on.

          I’m not looking for sympathy. It’s all my doing. But I would ask for perspective to be maintained. This is, like, #7 on my priority list right now, and it’s NOT because I don’t think it matters.

          It matters. And you matter. And the discussions that help people figure out their relationship stuff matters.

          And I am committed to doing what I can to ensure this place is still useful for that.

          Like

      • gottmanfan says:

        Matt,

        Thanks for cutting and pasting your answers to Lindsey and Donkey to answer my question. The comments were coming in fast and furious and I missed them before I wrote my question asking for clarification.

        Like

        • Matt says:

          The commenting system is balls.

          It’s not your fault.

          Changing the system is not as simple as you might think.

          I dream of a future where this place looks and functions with infinitely more grace and usefulness. :)

          Like

    • Matt says:

      1. You’re definitely in the tribe, Donkey. Goodness.

      2. Didn’t you say English is your second language? You’re remarkably, like to the point of making me feel almost feel bad about myself, in control of it.

      3. You ask really good questions.

      I really appreciate it, too.

      Like

      • Donkey says:

        Yes Matt, English is my second language. 8) Thank you for the compliments, I appreciate them!

        No reason to feel bad about yourself, I’m pretty dysfuntional/lacking in other ways. And I so admire the skills and stamina and courage that must be necessary for you to start your own business. I can’t imagine being able to do that until I’m 70 or something :p

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lissy says:

      Instead of white supremacy, try slavery for this exercise. The Bible is full of instructions as to how slavery should work, how hard you can beat your slave, when it’s appropriate to have sex with a female slave, how it works if you sell your daughter as a slave, and that slaves are to be treated like property and are part of your inheritance.

      Like

      • gottmanfan says:

        Lissy,

        I find it highly interesting that Jeff interprets Biblical passages about slavery in a cultural context and in light of the global messages of the New Testament and does not use that same interpretation method for gender.

        “Fourth, the Christian principles of charity (“love your neighbor as yourself) and the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you”) espoused by the New Testament writers are ultimately incompatible with chattel slavery, even if, because of its deeply established role as a social institution, this point was not clearly understood by all at the time.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lissy says:

        I didn’t really intend to start a discussion on slavery. Donkey was using white supremacy as an example, and the Bible never mentions it. But it does mention slavery, so it seemed a valid thing to contrast patriarchy and slavery -lots of biblical instructions on both, but only one is still upheld by some today.

        Like

      • gottmanfan says:

        Lissy,

        You said: “lots of biblical instructions on both, but only one is still upheld by some today.”

        Yes I understand that all too well.

        Like

      • Donkey says:

        Gottmanfan said:

        “I find it highly interesting that Jeff interprets Biblical passages about slavery in a cultural context and in light of the global messages of the New Testament and does not use that same interpretation method for gender.

        “Fourth, the Christian principles of charity (“love your neighbor as yourself) and the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you”) espoused by the New Testament writers are ultimately incompatible with chattel slavery, even if, because of its deeply established role as a social institution, this point was not clearly understood by all at the time.””

        Agreed. This is the kind of hypocrisy in opinions I’m talking about. I would really wish for Jeff Strand (and others who have a similar, in my mind hypocritical, mixture of opinions) to respond head on to this point made by Gottmanfan.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Matt says:

          These are the hard questions I’m encouraging people to be able to answer.

          If you can’t explain your beliefs, nor have the stamina to respond to criticisms of them (especially if they’re so important that all people should believe them), then there isn’t a shred of justification for spouting them to people offended by nearly every aspect of those beliefs.

          Like

  23. Jeff Strand says:

    I was going to lay off this thread, but feel justice compels me to respond to Lissy’s comment that blames the Bible (and I assume, the Church) for slavery. The truth is somewhat different, as you may have guessed. Here’s how slavery was dealt with by the early Church (Roman times):

    First, while Paul told slaves to obey their masters, he made no general defense of slavery, anymore than he made a general defense of the pagan government of Rome, which Christians were also instructed to obey despite its injustices (Rom. 13:1-7). He seems simply to have regarded slavery as an intractable part of the social order, an order that he may well have thought would pass away shortly (1 Cor. 7:29-31).

    Second, Paul told masters to treat their slaves justly and kindly (Eph 6:9; Col 4:1), implying that slaves are not mere property for masters to do with as they please.

    Third, Paul implied that the brotherhood shared by Christians is ultimately incompatible with chattel slavery. In the case of the runaway slave Onesimus, Paul wrote to Philemon, the slave’s master, instructing him to receive Onesimus back “no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother” (Philem. 6). With respect to salvation in Christ, Paul insisted that “there is neither slave nor free . . . you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:27-28).

    Fourth, the Christian principles of charity (“love your neighbor as yourself) and the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you”) espoused by the New Testament writers are ultimately incompatible with chattel slavery, even if, because of its deeply established role as a social institution, this point was not clearly understood by all at the time.

    Fifth, while the Christian Empire didn’t immediately outlaw slavery, some Church fathers (such as St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. John Chrysostom) strongly denounced it. But then, the state has often failed to enact a just social order in accordance with Church teachings.

    Sixth, some early Christians liberated their slaves, while some churches redeemed slaves using the congregation’s common means. Other Christians even sacrificially sold themselves into slavery to emancipate others.

    Seventh, even where slavery was not altogether repudiated, slaves and free men had equal access to the sacraments, and many clerics were from slave backgrounds, including two popes (Pius I and Callistus). This implies a fundamental equality incompatible with slavery.

    Eighth, the Church ameliorated the harsher aspects of slavery in the Empire, even trying to protect slaves by law, until slavery all but disappeared in the West. It was, of course, to re-emerge during the Renaissance, as Europeans encountered Muslim slave traders and the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

    Like

    • Donkey says:

      Once again, Gottmanfan said:

      “I find it highly interesting that Jeff interprets Biblical passages about slavery in a cultural context and in light of the global messages of the New Testament and does not use that same interpretation method for gender.

      “Fourth, the Christian principles of charity (“love your neighbor as yourself) and the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you”) espoused by the New Testament writers are ultimately incompatible with chattel slavery, even if, because of its deeply established role as a social institution, this point was not clearly understood by all at the time.” ”

      Your thoughts on this, if you will, Jeff Strand?

      Like

      • Jeff Strand says:

        In what sense do you mean an interpretation for gender?

        If you mean to say that a wife submitting to her husband is the same as chattel slavery, I would say that’s a nonsense comparison. For many reasons, but to name just a couple:

        The spouses freely choose each other, and even the Church says that spouses can separate for good reason without it being a sin. Some “good reasons” would be physical abuse, severe substance abuse, etc.

        If submitting means you’re a slave, than everyone who has a job is a slave to their boss. We are all slaves to civil authorities, like senators, governors, judges, etc, Students are slaves to their teachers. How far do you want to take this?

        Like

      • gottmanfan says:

        Donkey,

        As expected Jeff did not answer the question of why he interprets the Biblical passages on slavery with a less literal exegesis than the passages about female submission.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Donkey says:

        Hello Jeff, these are some of my thoughts in response to your reply:

        1. You would have women submit purely because of gender. When you deny one part of humanity significant influence in their lives based on something inherent to them (race, gender, religion) there’s obviously no way for them to get out of that one down position, other than being single (even if you allow for divorce in some cases, were she to get married again, she would then have to submit to her new husband).

        2. Yes, we all submit as employees to bosses, as students to teachers etc, but that is more of an equal opportunity thing, because it’s not based on something inherent to our humanity. Because in theory at least, people can choose to take the necessary education to become a judge, to become a boss. they can choose to run for office etc. You’d have women submit to judges, bosses etc like everyone else, and (nearly) always to the husbands for the rest of their married life (possibly also to men in the church, if that is one of your beliefs). Adding all of this together means that women overall get a whole lot less influence in their lives and in society than men.

        3. Yes, spouses freely choose eachother, but in your scenario one spouse gets to keep on choosing what they wish for their lives, while the other ones does not (the vast majority of the time). While not exactly slavery, I consider it perhaps akin to not having civil rights. And if in your ideal society women don’t have the right to vote, they are less free in choosing a spouse than a man, because it will probably be much harder for them to survive and thrive in a society in which they have little say. And in a way it’s really not that far from slavery as the woman then has to keep on doing what her husband commands with very few possible outs. This is not my main argument at all, but I could also argue that you’re free to choose the boss you submit to. Not judges sure, but then again my earlier point about equal opportunities and overall influence or lack thereof still stands.

        4. You have expressed that you made the desicion to risk your wife’s life in getting pregnant. This to me a form of slavery as she no longer has the right to decide over her own body.

        5. You have expressed sympathy to the idea that women should not get to vote. Again. while still not exactly slavery, it’s severly lacking in civil rights. Again, at least not very far from a slavery in a larger societal sense because women usually have to perform some kind of labour to survive, but they wouldn’t then have the freedom to influence society in the same way that men do.

        6. I have asked you this before, and I’m actually not sure if you have answered it, so please forgive me if you have. Would you have the same relaxed attitude to hierarchies if catholics were the ones who someone thought should submit to their non catholic spouse and not have the same civil rights as non catholics? If the catholic spouse were to always be submissive to their non catholic spouse, if the non catholic spouse had the right to choose whether or not the catholic spouse should risk their life, if the catholic spouse were encouraged to be as meek and submissive as possible, if catholics did not have the right to vote? Would you then accept the argument that catholics are free to choose their spouse and everyone must submit to bosses, judges, so what’s the problem with cahtolics having to be submissive in marriage, while non catholics do not?

        Like

      • Donkey says:

        Gottmanfan said: “Jeff did not answer the question of why he interprets the Biblical passages on slavery with a less literal exegesis than the passages about female submission.”

        Yes, good point. If being godly is your main priority and you’re using it to justify your opinions (and especially when they seek to limit the freedom of others), then it’s not coherent/intellectually honest/religiously honest to be so extremely literal in the interpretation of one thing, but not in others. And yes, I do believe that even though blatant slavery is worse than women having to submit in marriage. But in extreme forms of female submission, it’s probably not very different at all.

        I want to be very clear: I believe people should be free to choose submission (male or female) in marriage for whatever reason, and certainly free to wish that others would think the same way as them. I do not want it to be the norm or a rule, because it would limit people’s civic (civil?) rights based on an inherent part of their humanity. I consider “women should submit to men in marriage” to be ethically the same as “people of colour should submit to their white spouses”. I consider patriarchy to be ethically similar to white supremacy or indeed a matriarchy. Again, I want to be very clear: Women who in an otherwise non sexist and free society choose to submit to their husbands is a very very very different matter in my mind. A black person who chooses not to vote is very different from black people not having the right to vote.

        If however someone considers it a religious command that women should submit in marriage, and so they really do feel that women should submit, then I can understand the reasoning, and I’ll as respectfully as I can disagree. If you’d also be willing and eager to endorse “people of colour should submit to their white spouses”, I would *not* consider that person’s view on this hypocritical. Though again, I would not agree with the views.

        But again, and forgive me for repeating myself, when you’re willing to overlook the implied or explicitly stated religious endorsment of other kinds of unequal rights for people (or would be willing to should they exist) but still insist on the religious endorsement that women *should* submit simply because they’re women (and again, this is very different from women in an otherwise non sexist society being free to submit to their husband should they wish it!), then yes, I find that very hypocritical. You’re interpreting your religion literally to justify one thing, but you’re not interpreting it literally when it says something you don’t feel like endorsing.

        And yes, I do think there’s a large difference between extreme forms of submission (male or female) and more moderate kinds.

        Like

      • Jeff Strand says:

        Gott said:

        “As expected Jeff did not answer the question of why he interprets the Biblical passages on slavery with a less literal exegesis than the passages about female submission.”

        Since I’m not a Protestant, I don’t have either the right or the responsibility to interpret Biblical passages. Instead, I am merely to submit (there’s that word again!) to the teaching of Holy Mother Church, who has the assistance of the Holy Spirit – “who will guide you into all truth” – when it comes to teaching men what they must believe (doctrine and dogma) and do (morals) in order to please God and get to Heaven.

        The official teaching of the Church in these areas is infallible and is to be considered as if given by God Himself. We have the word of Our Blessd Lord Himself for this – when He founded the Church upon St. Peter as the rock, He said to Peter: “To you do I give the keys to the Kingdom Of Heaven. What you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven, what you loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven.” This is why the symbol of the Vatican is the keys…this represents this great power of binding and loosing that Our Lord have to St. Peter, who was the first Bishop of Rome (aka, pope) and which has been handed down to his successors for many centuries.

        It was the Protestant heresy, condemned by Holy Mother Church, that taught that believers have the right to interpret the Bible for themselves. Such a heresy makes no sense even from just the point of view of logic – the Bible is not a book, but a library of books. The various authors, even of just the New Testament, never got together and compared notes to make sure they were covering all the important dogmas of the Faith. In other words, the Bible was never intended to be a complete catechism of the Catholic Faith established by Our Lord and His Apostles.

        Hope this answered your question. The only complication is that it appears that the Church was infiltrated by her enemies at the time of Vatican II, and therefore it is in doubt if the post-conciliar popes up through Benedict XVI can be trusted. With Francis there is no doubt at all – his clear teachings remove all doubt that he is openly a heretic, if not an outright apostate. Therefore he is not the pope of the Holy Catholic Church, period. For the very good reason that by canon law, a heretic (to say nothing of an apostate) is not even a Catholic…just as a Baptist or Lutheran or Presbyterian is not a Catholic. And it is absurd to consider that the pope of the Catholic Church could be a non-Catholic. Therefore, for any Catholic to give credence to Francis as the valid pope in spite of this fact, is a very serious sin indeed. A sin against the First Commandment.

        Didn’t mean to get into such a long discussion of religion, but I think people are so influenced by the Protestant heresy that they think it’s normal that each person would have their own interpretation of the Bible. Not true in the case of the ancient churches (meaning not only the Catholic Church, but also the various Eastern Orthodox churches)

        Like

        • Matt says:

          Your answers are intellectually dishonest, Jeff.

          You avoid good questions, which if you answered, would either reaffirm your faith and help others understand the truth as you see it, OR would force you to seek more information if you don’t know how to answer it.

          I will say it at the bottom of every comment you write, if I must.

          The TRUTH always holds up to scrutiny.

          So let people scrutinize it.

          You spouting dogma (EVEN IF TRUE) is the least-effective way of explaining anything EVER.

          It’s the equivalent of “Because I said so.”

          And just as a side note?

          This is about your 10th diatribe on how your Alt-Version of Catholicism is all holy and pure and virtuous, and the rest of us are a bunch of idiot sinners worshipping golden calves.

          Please stop doing that.

          You’re pretty smart, so I’ll give you a little homework assignment if you’re interested.

          Figure out what the mathematically accurate statistical probability is of you having figured out the mysteries of the universe, while any living human who disagrees with you does not.

          That would be awesome.

          Like

      • Jeff Strand says:

        So as I said, I am bound by the Church’s teaching, not my own interpretation of Scripture. What is the Church’s teaching?

        On slavery, i already showed in a prior comment how the Church issued papal bull after papal bull from the 1400’s through the 1800’s condemning slavery and describing it as a mortal sin. I won’t repeat that here.

        The very same Church said the following about marriage (from the papal encyclical on marriage by Leo XIII:

        “The man is the ruler of the family, and the head of the woman; but because she is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, let her be subject and obedient to the man, not as a servant but as a companion, so that nothing be lacking of honor or of dignity in the obedience which she pays. Let divine charity be the constant guide of their mutual relations, both in him who rules and in her who obeys, since each bears the image, the one of Christ, the other of the Church.”

        P.S. Matt, I hope you won’t hold it against me I mentioned my position on wifely submission again. I trust you can see I only did so to answer a direct question from Donkey and Gott that compared slavery to wifely submission.

        Like

      • Jeff Strand says:

        Matt said:

        “I will say it at the bottom of every comment you write, if I must.

        The TRUTH always holds up to scrutiny.

        So let people scrutinize it.

        You spouting dogma (EVEN IF TRUE) is the least-effective way of explaining anything EVER.

        It’s the equivalent of “Because I said so.”

        And just as a side note?

        This is about your 10th diatribe on how your Alt-Version of Catholicism is all holy and pure and virtuous, and the rest of us are a bunch of idiot sinners worshipping golden calves.”

        Matt, I wasn’t criticizing your beliefs nor Donkey’s lack of beliefs. We all have to follow our own conscience. And I am always willing to learn from others. For example, while many of Francis’ statements are clearly heretical based on the plain reading of the words he’s saying…if someone can show me that the actual meaning is somehow different and NOT heretical, then I am happy to hear them out with an open mind. More than that, I cannot do.

        I wasn’t trying to proselytize anyone to come around to my point of view. Just answering a question. I was asked how I interpret various Bible passages and perhaps took a long-winded way of explaining that Catholics don’t personally interpret Bible passages, they submit to the Church’s official teaching on their meaning.

        So the reference to dogma was just an insight into my thinking process. Not intending to claim that other people must believe as I do “because I said so”. That was not my intention at all.

        Sorry if I gave the impression otherwise.

        Like

      • Jeff Strand says:

        This reply is to Donkey’s 6 pointed question to me.

        1 to 3. All these have to do with wifely submission. We will probably not agree on this topic because I approach it from a mostly religious standpoint, while you are not a believer. So I’m not sure an extended discussion between us would do much good – we don’t have the necessary common frame of reference. I would spend a lot of time talking about the spiritual reasons I believe in my position, but you would just reject that out of hand.

        Although, a secondary reason I have mentioned for wifely submission is that every ship needs a captain. And no religious faith is needed to see that all forms of human endeavor have a heirarchy. To which, you could reply that maybe marriage could be an exception to this rule. But perhaps even more interestingly, you could answer that maybe there DOES NEED to be captain, but why not the wife? If you reject the spiritual reasons for why the man specifically is the head of the household, then why could not the wife be the leader?

        And you know what, I think that’s a great question. Although I would never be in a wife-led marriage myself, I would love to hear from those who have tried it and hear how it has worked out from them. As I said before there is a whole mirror image of the “surrendered wife” movement called the “taken in hand” movement, where the husband openly and explicitly submits to his wife’s headship in the marriage. I am really curious how that is working for those folks.

        4. This question has to do with my wife’s health concerns while pregnant. Honestly, this is a very private issue, and maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned it in the first place. So I’m not going to say much about it. Let me just put it this way – my wife trusts me with her life, and she has proven that to me not just in the Hallmark card way, but LITERALLY. She is willing to put her life on the line for our family, as am I. And this is one of the many reasons why I love her so much.

        5. This question relates to women and voting. First of all, I don’t waste my time advocating the repeal of women’s suffrage, as I think the odds of that happening are about the same as brining back Prohibition. What I said was that I have considerable admiration for Ann Coulter’s willingness and courage to say something so politically incorrect as that women’s suffrage has been a disaster and should be repealed. And I think a case CAN be made that women voting leads to a nanny state, and this is something many people find distasteful. It is even possible such a nanny state could morph into a police state. Which is bad.

        But again, why waste a lot of time talking about something that won’t happen anyway? And if the topic is just to be discussed in a theoretical manner, there are probably better forums than this blog…which is, after all, more about relationship and marriage advice and help than sociological theories.

        6. Regarding Catholic spouses being forced to submit to non-Catholic spouses. Well, in the first place Catholics are generally forbidden to marry outside their faith. So this would be a non-issue. But if it were to come up, I think of the example of St. Augustine’s mother – St. Monica. Although she was a Catholic, she was married to a pagan and had to submit to him as her husband. How she handled this situation is something I posted in detail on a prior blog post. Basically, the short version is that she won him over with her patience and love and submission to him. This tamed his infamous temper and anger, and soon reached the point where he did not physically hit her at all anymore. At that point St. Monica continued her Christ-like behavior, exhibiting heroic amounts of charity and humility. And so in the end, near his death, her husband consented to be baptized…so St. Monica was able to witness the entry of her husband into the True Faith, just as she would later witness the conversion of her wayward son, Augustine.

        Whew, that was lot of typing. Hope this helps!

        Like

      • Donkey says:

        Thank you Matt, for pointing out that Jeff Strand evades honest questions here.

        If Jeff Strand thinks the he’s not as a christian obligated to follow the Bible’s teachings but only the official catholic stance, and that stance endorses women submitting but not slavery or racial inequities, that would be more coherent, yes. If he also sincerly endorses every other official catholic teaching (I’ll even allow for excluding the popes he finds heretic), and if he’d be willing to endorse slavery if that was coherent with the official catholic stance.

        I’m not intimately familiar with the differences between the Bible and official catholic teachings (excluding the popes Jeff Strand believes are false). And I would ask Jeff Strand to then everywhere he mentions something from the Bible or in christian religion add what the official catholic stance is on that particular point and where it can be looked up, or be willing to if asked about it, so I that I can judge for myself if he’s being intellectually honest in his reasonings.

        I would like Jeff Strand in the name of honest and respectful discourse, to give his thoughts respectfully, fully and honestly on every one of the 6 points in on of my previous replies. They are numbered 1 to 6. Even if his religious reasoning is coherent, there are still relevant questions about women and submission etc that he has not commented on.

        (It’s hard for me to really say if his religious reasoning is coherent or not, and in any case I definitely do not think it’s respectful or wise of him or anyone else to express themselves as if they know without a doubt the absolute truth about God, the universe etc, even to the point of implying that the millions of other christians who believe something different must be wrong, even if they are just as sincere in their devotion to christianity and maybe even have read the same material.)

        Like

      • Donkey says:

        I apologize Jeff, you posted your reply to my points while I was still writing my post so I didn’t see it. I appreciate you taking the time

        1-3: You said:
        “1 to 3. All these have to do with wifely submission. We will probably not agree on this topic because I approach it from a mostly religious standpoint, while you are not a believer. So I’m not sure an extended discussion between us would do much good – we don’t have the necessary common frame of reference. I would spend a lot of time talking about the spiritual reasons I believe in my position, but you would just reject that out of hand.”

        My comment:
        Yes, we do disagree in our approach. I’m fine with not agreeing on what “should” be the norm. But will you agree that women submitting in marriage is not the same as people in general submitting to bosses, teachers, etc, because the submission women then must do is based on an inherent quality, and it’s not the equal (at least in theory) opportunity submission everyone else must do in society, regardless of gender, race etc? And that the total sum of submission women would have to do when we combine society and marriage would be greater than the submission required of men when we combine society and marriage?

        “But perhaps even more interestingly, you could answer that maybe there DOES NEED to be captain, but why not the wife? If you reject the spiritual reasons for why the man specifically is the head of the household, then why could not the wife be the leader?

        And you know what, I think that’s a great question. Although I would never be in a wife-led marriage myself, I would love to hear from those who have tried it and hear how it has worked out from them.”

        My comment:
        I appreciate that you’re open to that question. Though I want to be clear again, I’m no more in favour of any ideology that says men “should” submit to women in marriage, than I am in favour of the ideologies that says women “should” submit to men in marriage. But I do feel people should be free to choose this arrangement too, if they wish and if it’s freely done.

        4.
        You said:
        “This question has to do with my wife’s health concerns while pregnant. Honestly, this is a very private issue, and maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned it in the first place. So I’m not going to say much about it.”

        My comment:
        Seems fair to me.

        5. I agree, I do not the forum to discuss whether or not women should have the right to vote. But to satisfy my curiosity, do you have a clear stance that says women should not be allowed to vote?

        6. Ok, so you’re basically saying that if the situation were to come up, catholic spouses should submit to their non cahtolic spouses and perhaps win them over (for lack of a better phrase) by their patience and virtue?

        How would you feel if there were vocal groups in society advocating for catholics not having the right to vote?

        Like

  24. Jeff Strand says:

    And here’s how the Roman Catholic Church addressed chattel slavery, from the 1400’s to the end of the 1800’s. (As far as Protestant churches, all educated people know what a huge force these churches were in the abolitionist movement of the North, prior to the Civil War).

    Sixty years before Columbus “discovered” the New World, Pope Eugene IV condemned the enslavement of peoples in the newly colonized Canary Islands. His bull Sicut Dudum (1435) rebuked European enslavers and commanded that “all and each of the faithful of each sex, within the space of fifteen days of the publication of these letters in the place where they live, that they restore to their earlier liberty all and each person of either sex who were once residents of [the] Canary Islands . . . who have been made subject to slavery. These people are to be totally and perpetually free and are to be let go without the exaction or reception of any money.”

    A century later, Pope Paul III applied the same principle to the newly encountered inhabitants of the West and South Indies in the bull Sublimis Deus (1537). Therein he described the enslavers as allies of the devil and declared attempts to justify such slavery “null and void.” Accompanying the bull was another document, Pastorale Officium, which attached a latae sententiae excommunication remittable only by the pope himself for those who attempted to enslave the Indians or steal their goods.

    When Europeans began enslaving Africans as a cheap source of labor, the Holy Office of the Inquisition was asked about the morality of enslaving innocent blacks (Response of the Congregation of the Holy Office, 230, March 20, 1686). The practice was rejected, as was trading such slaves. Slaveholders, the Holy Office declared, were obliged to emancipate and even compensate blacks unjustly enslaved.

    Papal condemnation of slavery persisted throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Pope Gregory XVI’s 1839 bull, In Supremo, for instance, reiterated papal opposition to enslaving “Indians, blacks, or other such people” and forbade “any ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this trade in blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse.” In 1888 and again in 1890, Pope Leo XIII forcefully condemned slavery and sought its elimination where it persisted in parts of South America and Africa.

    Like

  25. linds01 says:

    I’m responding down here.
    First:
    I had to ask for help with how to use a bathroom sink at the airport.
    #middleagedhermit#needtogetoutmore#o-crapshe’sontheloose#whendideverythinggetsocomplicated??
    Second:
    Lissy, I see this as my home, or at least my treehouse, where I hang out with my friends. That still may not answer the question about Jeff.
    Third:
    Donkey, I am sorry I am so neglectful of giving out compliments to you! I knew they made you “swoon”, but sometimes I just don’t even think about it.
    Let me give one to you right now- I am amazed and a little jealous of your skill in reasoning and in communicating it.
    I think maybe I am going to try to exercise some of those skills myself more often and more thoroughly.
    There are a lot of times that I have thought of similar points that are brought up here, and I will even start to write, but I stop.
    Sometimes its lack of will to enter into the conversation it will bring up- maybe I don’t like debate as much as I used to. (So I need to add bravery to your list of Wow- Skills!).
    Most of the time it is that, and sometimes I just want to hold back and check myself. But anyway- I think it is amazing, and something I want to become more efficient and confident in.

    Matt,
    If I’m intellectually honest, I can agree with you.

    If I’m honest about my emotions, I have a hard time interacting with Jeff (my problem),

    If I am realistic about the situation I can see that we may lose people who really make this place what it is, and I personally would feel a great loss if she left here.

    Here are a few different scenario’s I have come up with for solutions.
    I would love any other solutions, and/or any feedback regarding what I included.

    1.) Blocking Jeff. But, I don’t think that will really solve the problem long term. I don’t want to state explicitly why that wont solve the problem, because I don’t want to give away any ideas.But, blocking isn’t a guarantee that the problem will be fixed. But it doesn’t not guarantee it either.
    2.) Continually policing the site for out of line exchanges and deleting those with a warning.
    3.) Ignoring Jeff’s comments altogether (but that hasn’t really worked so far.)
    4.) Creating a closed forum that people have to be approved to join.

    What else??

    Like

    • linds01 says:

      Matt,
      I wrote this at the bottom of another post, but I get that you may never see it that way.

      If I’m intellectually honest, I can agree with you.

      If I’m honest about my emotions, I have a hard time interacting with Jeff (my problem),

      If I am realistic about the situation I can see that we may lose people who really make this place what it is, and I personally would feel a great loss if she (or anyone) left here.

      Here are a few different scenario’s I have come up with for solutions.
      I would love any other solutions, and/or any feedback regarding what I included.

      1.) Blocking Jeff. But, I don’t think that will really solve the problem long term. I don’t want to state explicitly why that wont solve the problem, because I don’t want to give away any ideas.But, blocking isn’t a guarantee that the problem will be fixed. But it doesn’t not guarantee it either.
      2.) Continually policing the site for out of line exchanges and deleting those with a warning.
      3.) Ignoring Jeff’s comments altogether (but that hasn’t really worked so far.)
      4.) Creating a closed forum that people have to be approved to join.

      If it’s creating boundaries to communicate in- and I think that is what you mentioned before .
      Then I would like to ask for his comments to be relevant to the topic at hand. At least when replying to anything I write. I don’t welcome picking out some part of the message to disagree with. It has to be germain to the topic.

      Like

    • Donkey says:

      Lindsey, thank you for the compliments! :) I do feel that my participation on this blog has increased my courage, as I’ve taken small and large steps out of my comfort zone with disagreeing with people, while still trying to practice full respect living (but not always succeeding).

      But I think I’ve been pretty verbal for a long while. I’ve said it before, if I didn’t get bummed out by conflict, I’d kick butt in court. :p

      You have absolutely nothing to apologize for! I remember we having a conversation about love languages, but I have forgotten what your top ones were. For this *I* apologize. But I remember you said you’d enjoy being called Hephzibah (hope the spelling google came up with is correct) so: Hephzibah. :)

      Like

  26. *deep sigh within my soul* I have benefitted from this community (and enjoyed your company too!)

    The last day or two or so have been very uncomfortable and extremely tiring. I care about this community, therefore I desire to work towards finding ways to continue to converse within it.

    I may have to start writing separate blog posts on certain topic just to work through expressing myself as correctly and wisely as possible without concern for inappropriately muddying the waters here with a tangent or something that may be received with great angst by people who otherwise seem to operate in far higher ideals. (I guess we’ll see if I get that done!)

    1) a topic under a different thread talked about how men assign value to women. I consider that a critical issue for marriages and healthy relationships in this world so I hope there are ways to address it further. I’ve seen many men speak to this topic in ways I grieve over including Matt himself in his archives although I don’t mean to all him out over what he wrote in the past during his blogging journey. I read it, grieved a little, recognized something meaningful to myself in the date of the article and his experiences and circumstances and moved on.

    But as it touches on the body image issues and women’s self esteem issues that have sometimes been discussed here I hope I may say that in my opinion as long as any significant number of men speak publicly about their view of women’s beauty and/or hotness being important to them, a defining characteristic of attraction, a primary way they assign value to women, then women by and large will struggle with knowing their physical imperfections and their assigned lack of value based on the flaws they perceive in themselves. Men are the driving force behind this tragedy, from marital problems where she feels ugly some days and it effects their sex life but seemingly as if it’s her fault to impede their mutual pleasure to anorexia and bulimia. If feminism ever had a cause I’d get behind it would be to speak up about the damaging nature of this way that many men operate.

    No matter who you are there exists much research on this topic. And for those claiming any respect whatsoever for the God of the Bible plenty is written their to encourage men to refocus their priorities, focus, manners, and speech in this area…to tell them it is a necessity of both love and wisdom. And in the spirit of this blogs mission, if you all learn to make your wives feel desired, beautiful; learn her insecurities and triggers and use that knowledge to soften the blow society deals her and to build her up or at least avoid triggering her; learn how to distract her and be patient with her when you find her baffling in this area because you DO desire her and how could she not know that you WILL strengthen your marriage.

    2) slavery has been brought up today and mostly I want to not address that here much but I’d encourage any who wonder what Christians think or who already believe that Christians, the Bible, and/or God are proven evil seen through the lens of this controversy to read the book of Philemon for yourself and ask yourself some Donkey style questions about how you might view it a little this way or a little that way as you read. I have no doubt that anyone can read and walk away proving its evil if that’s the way they approach it. But I think there are far wiser ways to approach it that just might help you see some of who God really is. And in fact rereading it today made me think of the thing that almost Matt’s mom’s head explode. No, I don’t mean I think he is that person! I just mean in the shining light we have all benefitted from of speaking to empathy as nauseum and even some of his comments today there’s a reflection of the amazingness of Paul saying I *could* command you but I’d rather convince you, of Paul’s firm and bold but gentle and freeing entreating, guiding with well chosen words, etc.

    3) there’s been a lot of people asking to ban someone they don’t like. That’s been just as hard to read as reading the words I don’t like from that person and in the last 48 hours from many others…wowzers, some complex topics and controversies have been trampled all over with much leading, assuming, and not well-chosen words in a few places. Today was the hardest it’s ever been to read the intolerance and the justifications for intolerance, because it’s been from several in this community that I feel a connection to…a meaningfulness to what I realize is *just* an Internet community but a community that holds meaning for me. The level of complexity of partially agreeing and partially disagreeing with comments, attitudes, implications, assumptions upon assumptions and then another implication or two has been beyond me to and beyond the scope of blog comments to address.

    4) politics! Yikes! I hope I may request that those of you who believe in the power of prayer will join me in praying for all the upcoming elections from the most local all the way up to the top. And I hope you all will consider working to investigate, recognize, and oppose corruption no matter what highly polarized group you’ve identified with in the past or what platform issues they still claim to represent that you agree with. I realize it may be too much to ask but lastly I’ll suggest that we all give up the election-cycle-paradigm. Pay attention with all the intellect and wisdom you can muster around the calendar always. It’s hard. But the hard work that few do to get informed matters. And there are people here who have the intellect to actually remember later all the stuff when the election cycle lies start rolling off the political tongues.

    I have to run. I hope everyone is experiencing some joy in this day!

    Like

    • Travis B. says:

      fromscratchmomblog said, “3) there’s been a lot of people asking to ban someone they don’t like. That’s been just as hard to read as reading the words I don’t like from that person and in the last 48 hours from many others…”

      In the interest of fairness and accuracy, though, is it that a ban is being requested (and, personally speaking, I would prefer if this comments area could have an “Ignore” option instituted so each reader could determine their own tolerance level for others’ commentary, rather than an out-and-out ban) simply because someone isn’t “liked” or because they’ve demonstrated an unwavering and extended inclination to verbal insults, and unwillingness to adapt to/be shaped by dissenting feedback (or at least respectful toward it, if change is asking too much), and a general methodology of discourse seemingly at complete odds with the mission objective of this forum? Whether it pains you or not (and it’s been an ugly business all around in many ways, so it’s entirely fair for you to feel demoralized and repelled by the entire course of discussion around it), isn’t the call for the ban rooted in legitimate concerns for the well-being of this site and what it stands for, rather than just the collective conversational “tastes” of Matt’s readership?

      Like

      • linds01 says:

        I picture all of us playing jacks up in Matt’s treehouse.
        Jeff has a tendency to fart, and belch in our ears on occasion. Sometimes he is really rude, sometimes he steals jacks when it’s not his turn. He laughs, and returns them, but then always denies he did it.
        I’m not sure if he has pushed anyone- has he? Maybe he has talked about it, maybe he has even bragged about it, but I don’t think he has pushed anyone yet.
        We’re all a little leery of him, though, and have little trust in him.
        Matt insists he hasn’t hit anyone, so we need to learn how to get along.
        We all love Matt, and hanging out together so we want to keep being able to meet. What do we do?
        What do we do as adults?

        Like

      • I wish I could give you a black and white answer that just totally agreed or disagreed. But it’s both “yes” and “no” the same time. As I mentioned the hyper-complexity of the overall dynamic and conversation, I hope you’ll be generous toward me and try to get the spirit of it while allowing me to be ramble a bit, when I say that I’ve been, at various moments, both unwilling and afraid to voice agreement and/or dissent with certain comments that have been made. It’s as if I can read some of the reaction and reaction to reaction before any of it happens. I’m not clairvoyant. I’ve just been practicing for a long time at this stuff, people watching, trying to connect, learning what makes people tick, studying communication, sociology, politicking. I’m not special; I’m sure others have had this experience here lately too.

        People make a lot of predictable assumptions. Certain things set off an immediate alarm. Oh dear, Cretin A said X but I know watchmen B heard X+Y and Defensive Player C heard just Y. Then wiseman C said Q which really helped more than half the alphabet people step back and take a breath but I realize M and N are really struggling in thus and such way now. And every single one of these things was quite likely an unintended consequence. Well except for the first 18 things said by cretin A and then every other prime numbered thing said on a Thursday with one foot in the air or on a Friday with his computer screen angled funny, which were all either super yucky or at least represented some huge blinds spots that cretin A could use a bunch of work on.

        But people can also be totally unpredictable either because they broke out of a mold they’d appeared to be stuck in or because my own assumption were giant fails.

        Ok…thank-you for the ramble…

        And now back to the regularly scheduled attempt at a fair and honest answer: there have been real and important things said in favor of a ban. They are the honest views of certain people here. They are the exact same things people used to say about other topics that the people now saying them would elicit vehement disagreement with from the people saying them now.

        Totally Valid Concept 1: ideas matter. Words matter. Ideas and words can be dangerous and can become actionable.

        Yes they can. They could result in some things that I consider morally reprehensible being legalized and innocent lives are intentionally snuffed out as a result. It has happened in many different ways in history. It is happening in the world today. It will happen again in the future. Ideas and words matter very much.

        However I think that Matt’s fight to keep as many dissenting views present here as possible no matter how uncomfortable they are is the wiser course in moving forward to discuss ideas as reasonably, as intelligently as possible.

        Valid concept: to not oppose evil is to allow evil to flourish

        It’s a good concept, but please refer back to my conclusion following the first valid concept. And the please continue to oppose evil. Use your words. Better, more productive discussion that is free and open perhaps has the better chance at actually having a good influence on someone in some way.

        Let’s be frank, this has become a campaign to convince Matt to bring down the ban hammer. There have been threats of people leaving in order to induce it. In all fairness, some of them were most likely just honest expressions and not meant as threats, exactly. I can totally sympathize, but they do nevertheless play as threats, and they’ve elicited sympathy as well as sociological movement towards the homogeneity that Matt has been trying to prevent. In just the space of a couple of days all of this campaigning has escalated to some inflammatory and divisive language, behaviors, and attacks on a whole religion from at least one commenter as well as more communications marred by underlying assumptions at war with the underlying assumptions of other commenters than I’ve seen in all the rest of the nine or so months I’ve been following this blog put together.

        However many days or weeks ago I first saw a particular commenter show up, I simply chose not to engage and I cringed when others chose the opposite. I can’t say with 100% confidence if it’s a troll/troublemaker situation as I first assumed or a “true believer” however flawed (and NOT totally simpatico with my own belief system) as I later thought. But I can say that IF it’s the former he has thoroughly succeeding in ripping this community wide open to prove the intolerance and foibles that lurk under the surface of most of us imperfect human souls.

        I was originally neither for nor against a single ban or arelatively rare but occasional ban. I do respect Matt’s decision. I am struggling with the several of the ideas or wordings in comments calling for a ban. There does seem to be evidence that in future people here will feel free to mount the same campaign another time they feel they can label anything as mysoginist, racist or any number of other things that they have expressed that they think of Cretin A AND of religions or religious beliefs in general or of certain religious beliefs that should be excised from religions in their opinion.

        And yes, I acknowledge there were reasons to be upset, although not all the same in each different commenters experience and thoughts. I acknowledge a general trend towards methods or flaws that seem to impede the functioning and feel of the community. I acknowledge that great effort has been made at diplomacy towards the person that several others were upset with as well as toward others who they might have lumped in with him. But the dirty little secret of the rules of sociology is that the diplomacy quite often becomes fairly meaningless once the mob is formed and the taste of the blood of success and control is tasted.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Donkey says:

      “Today was the hardest it’s ever been to read the intolerance and the justifications for intolerance, because it’s been from several in this community that I feel a connection to…”

      Fromscratchmom, I just wanted to say that if at a later point, if/when you feel like it, there’s something specific you wish to discuss with me / wish to explain how you see it / wish me to clarify something / call me out on something / something else, you’re more than welcome to initiate that conversation with me. I value my connection with you here, and I too want the community here to thrive. :)

      Like

  27. anitvan says:

    Matt, Jeff, et al,

    Until now, I’ve deliberately stayed out of this discussion, but I’ve been reading and I’ve been watching and it’s been both interesting and saddening to me.

    Since we’re being uncomfortably honest, I’m gonna share some of my thoughts and observations.

    First and foremost, I am vehemently opposed to the “silencing” of ideas, no matter how personally repugnant I may find them. If we, (as the tribe) do this to Jeff, than how can I have any assurance that it might not one day happen to me? Will I get kicked out of the tribe if I express a controversial opinion? Is it even safe for me to voice an opinion without the fear of being attacked for it?

    I have no problem with setting limits on the type of speech that may be used to express ideas. We set boundaries on *behaviours* not ideas. We can and should have standards of acceptable behaviour and enforce them when necessary.

    But. If we are going to do that, then we must vigorously enforce our standards across ALL members of the community. I will be honest – uncomfortably honest! – some of the comment that have been made about/directed towards Jeff have embarrassed me. Frankly, I expected better from this group.

    Jeff is completely justified in objecting to being called a “misogynist” or a “racist”. To do so is to label him and reduce him to that label and all that it implies. It robs him of his inherent worth as a person – worth that he retains *regardless* of his ideas – and reduces him to nothing more than a collection of racist and sexist attitudes. And that’s really no different than what we accuse him of – reducing women to their “SMV” or whatever.

    I’m gonna go Christian on y’all now, to provide a bit of context for the remarks I made above. I doubt anyone will find it offensive.

    A belief that I hold dear, is that, as a Christian, I am called to “be Christ” to others – that is to bring the love of Christ in all its shapes and forms to my neighbour. It’s not just an “evangelism” thing, it’s a “life” thing. In any given moment, how can I best show the love of Christ to those around me? Sometimes that’s easy to discern and other times, not so much.

    Some forms of love are just a given. Treat the person with the highest dignity and respect. Affirm their worth as a person even if we can not affirm their ideas. And yes, we can and should admonish others when their behaviour is unbecoming. It is not loving to allow a neighbour to continue sinning against another. Because that “other” is my neighbour too, whom I am also called to show love towards.

    So, if it seems like I am bending over backwards to accommodate Jeff here, it’s because *I AM*. But understand, I would do the same for any one of you.

    Look, I get it. It’s HARD to show love to the unlovely. But isn’t that kind of a running theme with this whole blog? Learning to love others *even when it’s hard*? How are we all doing with that?

    My heart’s desire is that we, as a tribe, would rise above this. We are better than that. We have had an unspoken code of conduct here that mostly everybody understood, but, out of love for neighbour, the time has come to codify our collective standards and enforce them. Not so that we have a mechanism to run someone off, but for the protection of all. We make the rules clear and we enforce them in love.

    I say all these things in love for you, my tribe. And yes, Jeff, I include you.

    Just so long as everyone understands that the price of admission is showing exemplary grace to others at all times, we’re cool.

    There are questions for all of us here and were going to have to work through those. But there are lessons for us as well.

    One final thought.

    By working through our questions collectively, we are making a powerful statement FOR the efficacy of the very relationship concepts we espouse here. We get a chance to practice and model for each other those concepts in action. Or we can use our collective power to run him out of here, which will only serve to confirm his worldview.

    Liked by 1 person

    • linds01 says:

      Anita
      “Just so long as everyone understands that the price of admission is showing exemplary grace to others at all times, we’re cool.”

      That is Good :)

      Like

    • gottmanfan says:

      Anita,

      If you are thinking of my comments I don’t believe I ever called Jeff a misogynist or racist. I said his comments were racist or held misogyny.

      Since you want him to be held to his behaviors and not his ideas. That seems consistent to me. He was quoting from The Color of Race Report that I had links to show is produced by a white separatist group.

      The language he sometimes uses is racist and mysogynistic in my view. I have no idea if he is actually a racist or a misogynist. That is why I did not call him that. I can only judge by the behaviors he exhibits here by typing certain words and choosing certain sources that we all read and interpret.

      Of course others may interpret his words and sources differently. I can only speak for myself.

      Like

    • gottmanfan says:

      And since we are all being so honest here I understand others positions to not exclude others. I am not even calling for that. I am calling to exclude racist and misogynistic and other ism language not to mention personal insults.

      If the decision is made that that cannot happen I totally understand that.

      But I will have to leave so I will be in effect “banned”.

      I cannot continue to read abnd comment here if in the name of free speech racist and misogynistic and whatever else comes up tomorrow is allowed.

      But I’m not a special snowflake. The blog and comment section will go on and provide support for everyone here without my special snowflake Gottman quotes.

      We all have to determine what our values are and how to prioritize them. For some free speech is at the top of the list. For me, in this context, not breathing in toxic shit and allowing it to stand as just part of discussion is at the top of my list.

      Like

      • anitvan says:

        Good morning Lisa, apologies for not responding sooner…my husband and I had a rare evening off without grandchildren and we took full advantage of it to spend some quality time together. ❤

        My heart goes out to you you, dear one. I know that your own heart is tender and easily bruised by injustice. I have no argument with anything you’ve raised – none. They are entirely consistent with the person I know you to be.

        Perhaps I wasn’t entirely clear, I share your aversion for language that is demeaning and I am suggesting that we place reasonable limits on the types of language that are permitted, for all. And if this is a tribe, then we all get to participate in that discussion – that includes you. Your feedback and opinions are valued and appreciated and I would no more attempt to silence you than I would Jeff.

        Balancing the rights of all is tricky business, but I firmly believe that if any random group of people can accomplish it, it’s this group right here.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Strand says:

      Anita, I have to say that was beautiful.

      I too appreciate Matt allowing me to state my opinion. In return, I do my best to be polite and civil and non-threatening to the other commenters. And I feel like l’ve gotten better at this with time. I’m ashamed to admit that my first post on here back in the Spring was an attack on Matt that involved name calling. I certainly take that back now. I know Matt enough now to know that he has my respect, if not always my agreement.

      One thing you can count on – I am not a troll looking for attention. My opinions are all sincerely held, and my life and marriage is as I describe it. I think it’s a positive to have different viewpoints respectfully expressed.

      Further, while I know plenty of people on here will disagree with me…I hope they may at least find some of my points interesting. For example, in the other post I brought up Lori Gottleib’s book “Marry Him” several times. I would love for Matt to read it at some point and devote a blog post to his review of the book. It may be controversial, but it’s a sincere work by a woman who investigated her own life history in the dating market, interviewed expert dating coaches and matchmakers, tried various dating experiments in real time (like speed dating), etc. I know when I had my wife read it, she couldn’t put it down till she finished it. So that’s just one example of what I mean – you might not agree with everything Gottlieb says, but it at least makes an interesting discussion and there’s a good chance it might help some people on their journey in romantic relationships (which is why she wrote it)

      Anyway, I’ll keep this short. God Bless, Anita. It’s clear you take your religious convictions sincerely, I admire that.

      Like

      • anitvan says:

        Lol, Jeff! As it turns out, I’m one of those heretic Lutherans, you know, the ones who took Wisdom out of the Bible. 😝 (Sorry, just couldn’t resist having a little fun with you and Matt!)

        I believe when you say you are sincere. That comes through. I will admit that I disagree with some of the tenets that you have set forth but I totally respect that your conscience requires that you submit to the Church’s teaching on them.

        We all have different backgrounds here – and our worldviews vary accordingly. But for the most part, we hold in common a high view of marriage, and a desire to support and encourage each other as we heal our marriage wounds, both those that have been perpetrated against us, and those we have inflicted. I have learned much from being a part of this group (and I’ve been married for 28 years!) and I’ve contributed here and there as well.

        My hope is that the discussion here continues to be profitable for all who participate.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Donkey says:

      I’m probably using too much air here:

      1. Anitvan said:
      “First and foremost, I am vehemently opposed to the “silencing” of ideas, no matter how personally repugnant I may find them. If we, (as the tribe) do this to Jeff, than how can I have any assurance that it might not one day happen to me? Will I get kicked out of the tribe if I express a controversial opinion? Is it even safe for me to voice an opinion without the fear of being attacked for it?”

      My comment:
      Compelling points,I find myself agreeing with you. But I also find myself agreeing with Gottmanfan’s point, that context matters. It does feel different to me when someone repeatedly and loudly and rudely expresses opinions which if actualized would limit a group of people their human rights. I’ll ask you the same thing, and I do it honestly wondering about your question, would you feel the same way if he said “jews should not be allowed to vote?”

      So, I’m undecided. It could be that someone for instance believes it’s a human right for children to not have divorced parents, and so if I said that I believe divorce should be legal they would feel that I would deny children their human rights and therefore feel justified in having me banned/silenced/kicked out. Of course I’d think that would be unfair. Though again I don’t think that example is fully comparable, since children eventually grow up, but (most) women don’t ever stop being women. But I’m trying. Maybe the abortion controversy is a more appropriate analogy. And I certainly wouldn’t feel it was fair to be banned because I’m usually pro choice (not pro abortion though!), though I can understand how someone else would feel that this is me endorsing the murder of unborn babies and so would find my opinions inhumane.

      2. Anitvan said:
      “I have no problem with setting limits on the type of speech that may be used to express ideas. We set boundaries on *behaviours* not ideas. We can and should have standards of acceptable behaviour and enforce them when necessary.”

      My comment:
      Yes, maybe this is where “we” should have been even more clear and firm. No name calling, no sarcasm, no putting words into people’s mouths, no evading people’s questions, I’d like to add especially if they’re about opinions that would limit a group of humanity their rights. Maybe repeated behaviour of this kind could warrant a ime out or something, if there isn’t a sincere effort to correct it..

      3. Anitvan said:
      “But. If we are going to do that, then we must vigorously enforce our standards across ALL members of the community. I will be honest – uncomfortably honest! – some of the comment that have been made about/directed towards Jeff have embarrassed me. Frankly, I expected better from this group.

      Jeff is completely justified in objecting to being called a “misogynist” or a “racist”. To do so is to label him and reduce him to that label and all that it implies. It robs him of his inherent worth as a person – worth that he retains *regardless* of his ideas – and reduces him to nothing more than a collection of racist and sexist attitudes. And that’s really no different than what we accuse him of – reducing women to their “SMV” or whatever.””

      My comment:
      I’m not sure if I agree. And by that I don’t mean that I disagree, I mean that I’m really not sure. If someone expresses conservative political views, is it wrong to call them a conservative in that context? When Jeff Strand expresses opinions which if actualized would limit women’s civil rights, is it wrong to call him a misogynist, however loaded the term? (and I agree it’s much more loaded than conservative or liberal) Isn’t it an accurate description of his beliefs? If someone feels that jews shouldn’t be allowed to vote, is it wrong to call them antisemitic? I certainly allow for Jeff Strand being more than a misogynist, similarly (but I acknowledge it’s not fully comparable) as I allow for conservatives or liberals to be more than conservatives or liberals.

      But if I end up agreeing with you, and I’m open to that possibility, then I’m certainly guilty as charged, and I thank you and respect you for being brave enough to call me out on it, even if you didn’t mention me specifically.

      And in case I do end up agreeing with you on this, I’ll ask you ALL in advance to please allow me to give my full and open apology to Jeff Strand and to this community for the dehumanizing behaviour and reductionsic language that I’ve been guilty of. I will ask you to please let me retract every place where I said he was misogonyst, or something similar, and replace is with “he has misogynistic views in my opinion” or something like that.

      I would sincerely welcome feedback if even the latter phrase does not come across as respectful of Jeff Strand’s humanity (or anyone else’s) humanity. Please keep in mind that an acceptable phrase would need to be respectful both of the other person’s humanity, and to the reality of stated opinions which would diminsh people’s human rights or be diminishing of their worth in some other way. Just as I must not express myself in a way that diminshes someone esles humanity, in honor of full respect living I cannot in good faith express myself as if wanting one group of humanity based on inherent or religious qualities to have less rights than others without that inherent or religious quality, is the same as preferring tea over coffe, or voting liberal vs conservative.

      4. Anitavan said:
      “By working through our questions collectively, we are making a powerful statement FOR the efficacy of the very relationship concepts we espouse here. We get a chance to practice and model for each other those concepts in action.”

      My comment:
      Excellent point. I was hesitant as to whether or not I should post this comment since my opinions aren’t fully formed. But this point you made helped me justify posting it for exactly this reason. This comment is an honest glimps of me trying to honestly work through these questions, and that happens to mean that I don’t quite know where I stand in some cases.

      I know that my apology will also probably not come across as complete or genuine or good enough, but it’s the best I can do for now, offering it now with a sincere heart should I end up agreeing with your interpretation Anitvan.

      Like

      • anitvan says:

        Hey Donkey,

        I appreciate your thoughts. I’m still thinking all this through as well.

        One thing that I think we can agree on: we can certainly make and express value judgments about the merits (or lack thereof) of ideas that are different from our own, but we must refrain from making value judgements about those who express them.

        The optimist in me hopes that people would self-police their comments, but the realist in me realizes that there are gonna be times that boundaries will need to be enforced.

        We are all works-in-progress and I’m ok with that. There is value in the process.

        Peace ☺

        Like

    • Awesome comment, Anita.

      Like

    • Thank-you, Anitvan, sincerely

      (And to anyone and everyone extending me grace for my own poor wordings, typos, and more!)

      Like

  28. Anne says:

    So every year in my town we have a festival to raise money for nonprofit organizations. We started getting a small group of people who would yell and hand out pamphlets to announce that their very conservative religious opinions were the right ones and everyone who differed from them were wrong and headed to hell (and also, have a nice day, because they never failed to be polite). Many people who came to our festival complained because this religious group was bothering quite a few of us.

    What could we do? No one wanted to ban them because we all believed in free speech. But these people were really antagonizing our festival visitors, and driving them away. So we created a “free speech” area and had them stay in that area if they chose to air their world views in a loud voice. We made sure there would always be someone to listen to them–we put them right by the cemetery.

    And the people who came to our festival enjoyed themselves because the loud religious people could be ignored. Which would kind of solve things here. “Jeff” can post whatever he wants. No one has to reply. His free speech rights are preserved. And we can go on and enjoy our day. I get that folks here enjoy a good debate, but “Jeff” does not debate–he lectures, and he does not listen. Nothing silences bullies like inattention.

    Don’t tell me you’re fertilizing my lawn when you shit in my yard.

    Like

  29. “Don’t tell me you’re fertilizing my lawn when you shit in my yard.”

    Okay, as gently as I possible can here, these kind of comments combined with those equating submission with chattel and slavery, and the accusations of misogyny, racism, sexism etc, are actually really disrespectful towards those of us who happen to have religious beliefs. To than turn around and play the victim card as if one now needs protection from all the “bad people,” whom you have actually been saying mean things about, just seems so emotionally immature to me.

    Like

    • gottmanfan says:

      IB,

      Just for the record I am a Christian. Over and out.

      Like

    • Travis B. says:

      insanitybytes22 said,

      “Okay, as gently as I possible can here, these kind of comments combined with those equating submission with chattel and slavery, and the accusations of misogyny, racism, sexism etc, are actually really disrespectful towards those of us who happen to have religious beliefs.”

      Again, in the interest of accuracy, I would say they are disrespectful (your word)/confronting (my word) toward a certain INTERPRETATION of religious beliefs. And yes, that may be hard for you and those who believe the way you do, but as Matt has stated, these are both the uncomfortable kinds of conversations we all need to be brave enough to involve ourselves in and, as he’s also stated, if your beliefs carry inherent validity, there’s no reason to fear them being challenged. The truth will out. But, yes, some of us, while being respectful of peoples’ rights to their religious beliefs, do take issue with certain worldly actions taken rooted in those beliefs. I think that’s a fair line of inquiry as long as personal insults aren’t weapons used in the challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I assure you, I’m not the least bit concerned about the truth willing out or the validity of my beliefs. I spend a great deal of time on my own blog challenging certain interpretations of faith.

        That wasn’t my point at all. My point was hypocrisy and double standards. While calling for respect, you yourself admit, “they are disrespectful,” and than proceed to simply say, “that may be hard for you…the uncomfortable kinds of conversations we all need to be brave enough to involve ourselves in.”

        So basically your message is “suck it up buttercup, people are entitled to be disrespectful towards your beliefs, but you must be respectful and kind at all times.”

        I don’t necessarily disagree with you there, I just note the double standard and the way you try to claim this is “a fair line of inquiry .”

        I have a thick skin so if you want to equate submission with my being chattel, allege the bible promotes slavery, and toss out words like misogyny, racism, and haters, that’s all fine, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to pretend this is some kind of “fair line of inquiry” that doesn’t employ a rather blatant double standard.

        Like

      • Travis B. says:

        Well, to that I would say there’s no real double standard. If one is criticizing ideas (e.g. “The Christian religion is inherently anti-women.”) or observed behaviors (e.g. “You are being rude and demonstrating an unwillingness to admit your way isn’t the only way.”), then I would say everything is fair game, but if we begin criticizing people (e.g. “You’re fat and ugly and stupid.”), then we’ve crossed the line. Your religious beliefs can and should be held to scrutiny; that is no disrespect to you. It may hurt because you hold your beliefs dear, and they are a very positive thing to you, whereas they may be very negative to others, but it’s not disrespect of YOU.

        Like

        • Matt says:

          I referenced this very thing in the post which attempted to establish the culture here in a very intentional way.

          A human being is NOT their ideas.

          They are two different things.

          A person will always be the person he or she is.

          Ideas change with new information and experiences every day of our lives.

          Separate, separate, separate.

          I am Catholic (as previously established, not a great one in the context of Catholic best practices as defined by the church).

          Many people Christian and otherwise sometimes don’t like Catholics for a million different reasons.

          But I am not my ideas.

          And I trust that I can get along with and coexist with and be friends with people even if they don’t like Catholics.

          Well, everyone except the lady who ruined my birthday gathering. GOD. ;)

          Like

      • fromscratchmom says:

        “And yes, that may be hard for you and those who believe the way you do, but as Matt has stated, these are both the uncomfortable kinds of conversations we all need to be brave enough to involve ourselves in and, as he’s also stated, if your beliefs carry inherent validity, there’s no reason to fear them being challenged…”

        And there in lies the crux of the problem with the ongoing further and further demanding and demeaning you need to ban this person and I will never give up insisting in harsher and harsher terms that I am right and that everyone must be convinced that I am right about the ban I am calling for. There comes a point where that is just as much a disruption or just as much a way of stopping all productive discourse as any of the things being called out as totally unacceptable from other people. I am fine with every person on the planet calling my beliefs out in their interpretation that it makes me a slave but then when they turn around as say see this is destructive if you call someone a slave or you make them a slave then they have set up an impossible standard of conversation. You will submit and obey what they want you to think or they will up the ante to try to cow you into it.

        What harm does it do to me if someone on the internet disagrees with my convictions?

        VS

        What harm does their loud, deliberate, insistent and increasingly belligerent stance do to the tenor of conversation and the possibility of further healthy discussion?

        which all leads to the equally fair and valid question:

        What harm does it do to the campaigners that not everyone turned around and at some point in the increasing tries to ask for a ban and said they had changed their minds and would now demand the ban?
        (or in Matt’s case say “Oh now you have convinced me. Now its done. Now there is a ban.)

        There was a certain amount of disruption or feel of disruption to the normal tenor of conversation at times in recent weeks. It did me no harm and never prevented me from feeling I could pursue any line of comments and questions I felt I wanted to participate in, except on a very personal non-important level of just not feeling like it in a few mini-threads.

        But with the ban campaign nearly all healthy productive conversation came to a screeching halt while everyone either bowed out altogether or participated in that line of discussion. During that massively powerful tangent, the arguments became increasingly about explaining how a particular belief was in and of itself harming others and harming conversation. I saw what it was for the effect it had.

        So I think it is fair and valid to say that what was legitimately hard for some people to take to a point of being worth pointing out to them that maybe this was “just hard on them” but not evil and in need of the force of law (in the sense that Matt could act as the authority and control it), was others not agreeing that a ban must be forced as a result of our collective cries.

        None of which leaves any human here marginalized or belittled as far as I see them. It just speaks to what is and what isn’t productive conversation as well as to what is and is not to varying degrees impeding the purpose of this blog and this community.

        Liked by 1 person

        • linds01 says:

          Guys,
          First- I am only catching sporadic glimpses of where the conversation has gone. I don’t know where yall are at.
          Will you fill me in?
          Also, I want to say this, and I hope it doesn’t offend anyone-
          But simply put ideology has to meet reality. If it doesn’t fit in reality we have to shift our ideology.
          Matt’s ideology is that Free Speech must is of utmost importance.
          The reality that I see occurring is that the inflammatory comments are going to disband the community that was here previously.
          It already has.
          I can accept that, even though it makes me sad.
          In this case, The ideology of freedom of speech (in any setting/ at any costs) overrides the cohesiveness of the community.
          I’m not going to say it is right or wrong for Matt to uphold his convictions. It’s pretty damn honorable in someways.

          But it needs to be understood that those convictions win out over this community. (Again not saying good or bad- just saying what I am seeing.)

          Like

      • Travis B. says:

        Let me give a little personal example of where I was recently belittled and marginalized. The individual who many are attempting to ban (and it is very important to me that it be noted that, though I would be rapturously delighted personally if he left never to return, I have not been part of the voices who have called for a ban, only the ones stating that simply trying to skip over/ignore his posts isn’t altogether realistic, and inquiring if there’s a different way to configure this site so that readers can choose not to see his writing on an individual-by-individual basis) has referred to me recently in the following ways:

        “As you’re not a theist, I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in your opinions anyway. The Lord calls [folks like you] fools who have set their hearts on the things of this world, but will suffer eternally in Hell in the world to come. That’s the choice you make – you decide the lousy few decades you have before you are thrown into a grave are worth more than the eternity of Heaven that God offers you. And to make that kind of choice, you must be borderline insane. So why would I or anyone lose take advice from you?”

        “You can play that special snowflake game about how I hurt your feelings all you want. I’ll just tell you to grow up. But I suppose if you had ever grown up, you wouldn’t need a wife to play the mommy role in your marriage. I actually feel sorry for you.”

        “[You’re] over-wrought and hysterical…”

        Allegedly quoting from his wife: “[You] sound like an emotional teenage girl, a pathetic loser mangina [who] is taking pathetic white-knighting to a new low. That’s not what I would call a man”.

        “[You have] disclosed [that you are] too afraid and timid to approach women and ask them out, and hence your wife had to pursue you and practically hit you over the head to get you to ask her out.” (which is not at all accurate–I have stated that I was not willing to pursue my wife initially because a) she was a trainee in a corporate class I was teaching, which would constituted an ethical breach; therefore, I waited until she was in a position over which I had no supervisory power or authority to become involved with her, and b) there is a marked age difference between us so, as the elder between us, I did not feel comfortable attempting to “seduce” her. These confessions had been made in an environment that had always offered a kind of welcoming safety; this was the first time anyone here had taken my personal story and twisted it to be used as a insult and character judgment against me.)

        Some of his comments toward commentator Lindsey made the ones made to me look like pleasant words of encouragement in comparison. So that remains the key issue for me. Attack my ideas all day long, but don’t attack me as an individual and, most importantly, do not attack my sense of safety. Because that’s ultimately what all of this anger and discontent boils down to. If this is a place where people come to dialog about, and get help with, the spots of friction and the challenges to equilibrium in their marriages–which begets sometimes very naked disclosures, very raw openings of our hearts and minds–IT. MUST. BE. SAFE. In the present moment, because of a single individual, it hasn’t been. That individual has been admonished multiple times, and while his ideas still make my skin crawl, his more offensive personal attacks and twists of confession have lessened considerably over the last couple of days, which leaves me optimistic that maybe things are started to limp back to a condition which makes the mission objective of this forum feasible (what leaves me pessimistic is the loss of gottmanfan–guys, I don’t know if you’ve really processed the momentous, aching hole of lost insight, clarity, and perceptual depth she will leave at MBTTTR in her wake, if she’s honest about her exit–and I have no reason to doubt her resolve–but it’s going to be colossal). Just please don’t marginalize, intentionally or otherwise, the distress from your fellow commentators and their cries for strong action by saying it’s all about incompatible ideologies. There’s been a surplus of minimization and belittlement to fuel the fire of that discontent.

        Like

      • fromscratchmom says:

        I too am UNhappy that she is either leaving or threatening to leave. That is not something anyone will be glad of. It is a loss one way or another. However that does not mean that every single thing said and done in the effort to bring down the ban hammer was all justified.

        You may have noticed that I absolutely deplored some of the behaviors that were going on previously and eventually abandoned my preferred response of refusing to engage with someone who behaved that way in order to speak out against that behavior. I felt that was the best option at the time between multiple not-so-great options I considered, partially because I do believe strongly in the Bible and saw that behavior as totally counter to Biblical teaching. So whether I could ever change his mind about anything or not, which didn’t seem likely, I could make an effort.

        I have been VERY reluctant to say anything in the defense of that commenter because of seeing some bad behavior, knowing some of the assumptions, conclusions, inferences, and associations being drawn about him and or “people like him”. He had, in my opinion, in a sense brought it on himself to face people showing disagreement and a type of lack of respect for him.

        But that situation does not create a new philosophy of life for me where everyone else can do anything they like now because they have been offended and feel understandably upset.

        I don’t know what the thinking was with people who read those early attacks, such as you quoted, in the first place and thought ‘here’s a guy I need to engage with over the internet and fix him, long distance style’. We are all individuals and we all are responsible for our choices. So just as I had the right to choose not to engage at first, everyone else had the right to converse with him. After those choices we each had to live with the results whether we were happy with them or not. Just as I later changed my mind and entered the fray, everyone else had the right to change their minds and begin to regret having originally engaged, to just wish he would go away or whatever of a million manifestations their frustration they decided to go with. In a sense each person has made their own their decisions and now must live with the results, discomforts and all. Some modes of operation prove more beneficial than others. All results can be learned from.

        Where all of us have always had the right to not answer a question in the past, whether by mistake or intentionally, now his “bad behaviors” coupled with his pattern of not answering questions several different times has somehow turned into a green light for people to continuously demand that he give details on his and his wife’s medical decisions and to make assumptions and uninformed judgments against those decisions in the absence of the demanded answers. I get it that people were outraged by what he had alluded to in that area. I knew when he first mentioned it that it would go badly in a way he was apparently not predicting. But do I think that makes it reasonable and right to attack him, hit him over the head with their interpretation of how that sounded to them? No. It lowers the people doing it to making unjust assumptions and treating him with less than the respect that we should all try to treat each other with. Employing a bit of mirroring of another person’s style is a tool that might be helpful but also can lead to trouble. Using their bad behavior as an excuse to mistreat them is all together different and just plain wrong. Being uncomfortable with his behavior OR his ideas will never be an excuse for that.

        On the one hand, being who I am, I might just tell every little detail of some part of my life that y’all might end up learning from or being sorry I’d shared. But on the other hand if I were not a commenter here and had read or heard about all the stuff said in reference to that topic, I wouldn’t want it told and discussed here with the people who had been thus far commenting about it. I respect his wife’s right to privacy. And while I have some issues with Jeff I do not want to infringe on his wife. It is HER business why she agreed with him when he asked her to go against doctors orders no matter how outraged or uncomfortable any other person might be with the word ‘submit’. It is an idea that you are allowed to disagree with. It is not an idea that gives you a green light to change your standards of how much you will consider Jeff and his wife to both be human beings with a certain level of inherent worth…that level of worth that causes you to object to his behaviors towards yourself and linds.

        What are you willing to risk in order to facilitate better discussion and better ideals? Matt was willing for himself to be verbally attacked but no one else. If this somehow left the internet and effected my real life, I’d drop y’all like a hot potato. I wouldn’t risk my family for the sake of internet discussion. But that isn’t what is happening here. So it isn’t the relevant answer. I am willing to be attacked. I am willing to speak out for helping others to not be attacked or infringed on in hurtful ways (ie Jeff’s wife’s right to privacy about her medical history). I am willing to still be here. I am willing even after my own failures to still keep trying to use my words. I am willing to still keep trying to develop some semblance of wisdom, kindness, and love.

        Like

      • Travis B. says:

        insanitybytes22,

        I’m very much pressed on time so I can only say that there’s a good deal that you’ve written in this latest post with which I agree, especially this:

        “However that does not mean that every single thing said and done in the effort to bring down the ban hammer was all justified.”

        However, I fervently disagree with this statement, primarily because I don’t feel it’s being framed accurately:

        “Where all of us have always had the right to not answer a question in the past, whether by mistake or intentionally, now his ‘bad behaviors’ coupled with his pattern of not answering questions several different times has somehow turned into a green light for people to continuously demand that he give details on his and his wife’s medical decisions and to make assumptions and uninformed judgments against those decisions in the absence of the demanded answers. I get it that people were outraged by what he had alluded to in that area. I knew when he first mentioned it that it would go badly in a way he was apparently not predicting. But do I think that makes it reasonable and right to attack him, hit him over the head with their interpretation of how that sounded to them? No. It lowers the people doing it to making unjust assumptions and treating him with less than the respect that we should all try to treat each other with. Employing a bit of mirroring of another person’s style is a tool that might be helpful but also can lead to trouble. Using their bad behavior as an excuse to mistreat them is all together different and just plain wrong. Being uncomfortable with his behavior OR his ideas will never be an excuse for that.”

        Jeff disclosed said issues about his wife before anyone inquired about them; therefore, he opened them up as a fair point of inquiry, and dismay and disgust with the ACTIONS he took based on his ideas/beliefs is a totally fair response in my book. At any point, he could have said, “I shouldn’t have brought that personal issue up, and I’d prefer that any discussion of it going forward cease and desist”, but until that line in the sand is drawn, I think it’s totally fair to hold him to the carpet on it, because it’s not just a harmless, ephemeral idea trapped in his head–it’s something he made manifest that directly impacted another individual and, yes, it was alleged that it was that individual’s choice to support his beliefs…BUT HE’S HERE ESPOUSING THAT PHILOSOPHY TO OTHERS AS A RECOMMENDED, LEGITIMATE, ETHICALLY SOUND WAY OF LIFE*. As such, his ephemeral ideology has the potential to spread to other male minds, which carries the very real danger that it could then in turn manifest as actual action taken against other women. It’s fair to fight that. It’s fair to draw a line in the sand and say no, this will not be an environment that champions the subjugation of other peoples’ lives and safety. It’s fair to take issue with Jeff the man because he didn’t just think a morally reprehensible thought–he made it real.

        * (not yelling, just can’t for the life of me figure out how to do bold or italicized font for emphasis)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Framing things right matters. And yet it is often a point of difficulty in conversation here because we can each only frame things in ways that make sense to ourselves. So when our basic paradigm differs widely and the framing is at issue we have choices. Most often my choices look something like (A) Frame this in the way that I believe is the most intellectually honest (B) Bring this back to a different concept so that it can be reframed and we can find the ne essay commonality to agree on something that gives us a frame of reference in which to discuss some more.
        However we aren’t always fully conscious of these dilemmas in our minds and sometimes we react out of our own level of feeling our way along a frustrating communication issue.

        We’ve seen these things play out over and over over here here in this community. Generally speaking many commenters here have shown talent and or growth with the communication skills involved, but also a lot of grace and generosity.

        You may experience discomfort with it but what I wrote was intellectually honest. Members of this community have as a group participated in the effort I described. You moved from a voice of dissent to a voice of moderation within the sociology of that campaign. It’s not fully clear if your original dissent and ongoing disclaimers were as I read them, but I give you the benefit of the doubt and choose to see them in the most generous light possible. There is no realistic light possible where you didn’t move along towards a ban within the sociological construct that was being built.

        On the other topic,
        Jeff brought up a subject that was personal to his life, which generally could be seen as a generosity within the types of conversations we usually have here, an effort to illuminate his position, to show personal commitment to beliefs, to ask others to generously see this shared insight in a way that they will allow it to help others reconsider their framing/paradigm. That was unsuccessful with several people because their paradigm was already built around hostility toward his concept to a level of rendering them unable to see any good possibilities in this new piece of information, only negatives. The history of our culture includes many people becoming convinced that all submission is the result of oppression and that it is always wrong. And several of you have bought into that fallacious framing and projected it on this situation. I wish Jeff has chosen to answer but demanding he answer would not be consistent with my own code of conduct. The demands made by others here have not been even consistent with the wordings and other modes of conduct I’ve witnessed over the last nine months here from the commenters involved. And to make matters worse the worsening ways of conducting themselves was emerging as Jeff’s behavior was improving. The more restraint he enforced on himself and the better skill and talent he showed at communicating on a higher level the angrier other people appeared. One totally possible way of framing this: They became more determined to cast him in the light of his previous mode of operating and be rid of him and his pesky growth and improvement that they did not want to see associated with the ideas he holds that they disagree with.

        Ideally, I wish Jeff’s wife would write something addressing this. But in the absence of that I’ll offer the views I immediately saw possible in that shared tidbit of their lives.

        (A) yes, based on some of Jeff’s behavior in the past and my initial impressions of him it would have been totally possible that he just fave her no choice. Let’s get that out of the way first!

        (B) Jeff had particularly relevant knowledge (and/or did the research) that his wife knew of and therefore trusted him to make a reasoned decision disagreeing with doctors. This would be similar possibly to my knowing that if I ever receive a cancer diagnosis I will not seek conventional treatment in the US. I’d probably go to Germany for treatment, but might choose Mexico or even DIY stuff depending on the type of cancer. It might also be similar to my 25 years ago disagreeing with a doctor claiming my emergency c-section was necessary and that all future births would have to be planned c-sections. It was not easy in the medical culture we had 25 years ago in this country but I determined to find a different path. And I did. My second child was born by v-bac with the help of both a mid-wife and a very uncomfortable on-gyn. My third child was born in the same hospital as my second totally naturally and so quickly that the neither my doctor nor my midwife got there. She was “caught” by an extraordinarily young looking medical student or resident, 55 minutes after I woke up in labor.

        (C) Jeff may have been relying on a miracle or “the hand of providence.” His wife may have shared his faith.

        (D) Jeff may have decided and communicated with her with none of the above having anything to do with it and his wife may have simply trusted him because of her implicit trust in him.

        There are probably other possibilities. There are definitely infinite variations and combinations. It is not wrong for a wife to have a strong trust, admiration, respect for her husband. It is not wrong for her to look at an issue with such a feeling of safety and/or confidence in him that she chooses to go with his reasoning and decisions.

        There is truly very little likelihood in this society that she lives in an enforced micro-culture that leaves her with no brain power, no freewill, and no hope of escape. And there were few women living like that when sociological movements were beginning a few decades ago to convince our whole culture to reframe submission in that light. Sometimes people reframe things foolishly and should be willing to choose to see the other options. And if they weren’t so busy misunderstanding and maligning the concept they could be busy with protecting people who truly need protecting like true abuse cases. There is evil in the world. It’s a shame to see people blinded by an agenda that demonizes respect and submission conflating them with being abused. Refusing to see a woman’s freewill and personhood in choosing submission is no more respectful of her than an abuser taking her choices away violently. And it doesn’t make any more sense than doing the same thing to any employee choosing to submit to a boss…or any other obvious authority structure scenario we can come up with. I just like the employee one because people generally chose their jobs but also sometimes feel stuck in them. Experiencing negative feelings or a moment of putting up with someone else’s human flaws is not slavery and it doesn’t remove your worth as a human or your brain or my respect for you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Matt says:

          A few additional cents:

          1. This is a very nicely written, well-thought out, well-intentioned, well-constructed way to disagree with people and prevailing notions. I appreciate it very much. It demonstrates infinitely more restraint than I’ve shown at times being the impulsive teenager I can sometimes be.

          2. To that end, I think I’m guilty of being a part of what you’ve described here, AND I think that you’re perhaps being overly generous to Jeff.

          His opinions are valid. His personal experiences are valid. His faith is valid.

          His mistreatment of others at times (of which everyone, including me, is sometimes guilty) has had something of a big flashing Look At Me light attached to it. Meaning, it crossed a line (in my opinion) in ways others hadn’t, ESPECIALLY in the context with which they were shared. There are also a few comments most people didn’t see because I removed them. Had they stayed visible, this would have been worse.

          3. RE: relationship styles and submission

          THAT is why Jeff’s voice is important, minus all of the Red Pill bullshit.

          There is an opportunity for people talking about, reading about, and thinking about relationships, to explore other ideas and ways that have worked for others.

          I think Jeff’s framing and delivery is pretty awful sometimes (as a means of effective communication), but if we’re going to discuss relationships here, then people should be open to discussing various ways of constructing their relationships to give them the best chance for success.

          I don’t think it’s reasonable to categorically dismiss a dom-sub relationship of any kind if it has been demonstrated to work for other people.

          Just because it doesn’t work for us, is totally irrelevant.

          I had a totally 50-50 relationship where I compromised on a million things (and obviously didn’t on others I didn’t recognize to be as important as they actually were.)

          And that didn’t work out very well.

          I’m not inclined to look for someone who wants to do whatever I want. I’m damn sure not inclined to look for someone who expects me to follow a bunch of orders.

          But I think the idea is simply to identify the values we hold dear, and then wait for Life to deliver us someone on the other side of the dinner table whose values are clearly in true alignment and lockstep with ours.

          When everyone is headed in the same direction, the only thing left to do is match the pace.

          And to love hard. Even when it’s inconvenient.

          As we must do here.

          Like

      • And here’s another thing Travis to counter your position that submission as a paradigm is an evil/reprehensible idea to espouse.

        We’ve often discussed and explored the idea here that marriages have two sides and sometimes we’re all jerks. We all need to own our own stuff.

        You have ascribed evil to an ideal as inherently leading to abuse/mistreatment. You have not explored the ways in which abuse can grow out of situations exactly because of the I-hate-and-reject submission position you espouse. But if I were free to do so I could tell you 19 years worth of stories of a man who mainly agreed with you but was an abuser anyway even as he believed himself to be an egalitarian. His abuse played out little differently than that of men who ascribe to other models of marriage.

        Generally speaking, People who abuse to do it because of their own hurts and injuries, their twisted up reactions where they’ve gone off track and never resolved things in a healthy way. People who are abused quite often frame things in a way that avoids acknowledging that, a way that ascribes guilt all over the place in illogical ways from its because of the dog, its because of the president, it was facilitated by the bank manager, it was instigated by his boss, it’s because of the potted plant, all the way to its because of God.

        If you want to oppose abuse you should actually oppose abuse rather than the framing and emotions and beliefs of abusers and the abused.

        You should talk to me and women from all walks of life and from all religious and philosophical backgrounds and get a clue about how it really happens and how it really can be made to happen less, which is pretty nearly all from the healing of hurt people.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Travis B. says:

        insanitybytes22, it’s probably best that I use this as my opportunity to exit this particular discussion, firstly, because it began as a discussion about disrespecting religion and quickly morphed into discussions about Jeff, as well as submission being equated with abuse, so its getting a bit too amorphous to stay focused on the elements which sparked my original reply, and secondly, because I feel I’ve gone as far as I can reasonably go in clarifying my perspective (and you’ve been kind and accomplished in doing the same in return) and the simple, frank result is that I fundamentally disagree with you. To continue further would be to fight the issue for the sake of fighting, and that never interests me. Sometimes, it seems somewhat glib and flippant to use this phrase, but I guess we really will have to agree to disagree. Perhaps this ultimately comes down to the fact that the Christian faith (and your interpretation of its tenets) comprises your core moral foundation. Though I also subscribe to a positive, constructive and inclusive personal philosophy, it is not rooted in the same theist soil, so we really see some of these issues in profoundly, dramatically different ways. I hope no feelings of camaraderie or respect have been lost between either of us just because we remain on other sides of these ‘challenging religious beliefs/how to handle Jeff Strand/submission as virtue or abuse’ issues.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lissy says:

        I think a lot of positive has come out of this situation. Up until this point, the regular commentors have bonded and been polite and encouraging, even though they do have different views on things. It truly has become a family, a tribe. And we’ve just had some growing pains…

        I usually try to take some time to ruminate on what’s going on before commenting, and I try to see the broader picture. We had a problem. Someone new began commenting. His views were very different, but the main problem was how he tried to make every thread about wifely submission and attacked others personally when they did not agree.

        It forced the rest of us to evaluate our own responses. If forced Matt to come up with a policy that not only defined how the conversations here should go, but also kept in mind his strong belief in free speech. Growth for him, growth for us.

        I do think it had to unfold for us to get where we landed. Now we have a community standard, all written in bringing-a-smile-to my-face Matt style: “Don’t be a dick! If someone knowingly poisons the well, I’m going to stick my digital iron fist directly up their ass and ask them to leave!” Now Matt just quietly deletes inappropriate things, and we move forward. That’s a good thing.

        I do think there has been a negative consequence, though. Like Travis said, he used to view this as a safe place, a place to share personal things. I used to view it that way, too. But maybe that was naive of us. As much as we would like to think of this as a small, intimate circle, it’s really a public blog open to anyone who chooses to comment. And as long as they uphold the community standards, they can participate.

        So I think we have landed at an honest, healthy place.

        Like

      • Lissy says:

        The only thing I really don’t like is what happened to Gottman.

        I’ve been frustrated with the conflict here between her and other commentors. It’s like Matt’s continued issue with the dishes. The AHA! moment came when he realized that it wasn’t about the dishes!

        I’ve been trying to apply that concept to figure out what was going on. I really don’t think it’s about free speech. I think for Gottman it was something else, and the more she tried to explain, the more she was attacked for trying to ban someone because she just didn’t agree with their opinion. It was like everyone was saying-leaving the dishes is not a big deal! Just ignore them if you don’t like dishes by the sink! And Gottman was trying to say-it’s not just the dishes, it’s the disrespect they symbolize!

        I remember one of her comments (tried to find the comment but couldn’t). From what I recall, she said she has had to deal with racist family members, sexist jokes in the workplace, and other things that get get throw your way when you are female.
        Here are some of her prior comments:

        “I was and still am baffled and frustrated by all the things I am expected to do by society, friends, family, doctors, schools, jobs, etc. simply because I am female.”

        “I have been actively pushing back against this since childhood but it NEVER ends. But there’s a price to push back at these expectations and unwritten rules. Sometimes people think you are not a team player, or not a good mother or wife and will tell you so. Sometimes your husband thinks he got a raw deal compared to other husbands and why can’t he just do what they do. Sometimes I get so, so tired by it all as I’m sure many men do at pushing against man card expectations.”

        Gottman has also shared how she has been harmed by therapists who tried to apply the religious gender expectations to her marriage, and found it to be superficial, unhelpful, and an inaccurate diagnosis of what really ails their marriage.

        Now add to all of this that she and others, myself included, have thought of this as our tribe, a safe place, a family, if you will, where we can be vulnerable and share our thoughts and experiences and receive care and help.

        I almost hesitate to say this-I really don’t want to point fingers or accuse anyone. But it did seem to me that people did to her what they accused her of doing to JS. He got people coming to his defense and trying to see the person behind his public discourse. He got the benefit of the doubt. But she was just branded an intolerant person who wanted to ban anyone who held different ideas, without anyone seeing the person behind her public comments and the past hurts that made her respond the way she did. It was almost like, “The new person gets lots of grace and acceptance, but you get none”. It almost seemed like a dichotomy-him or her.

        I’m probably reading my own personal biases into this. But I am truly saddened that she is gone, as her research, insights, and willingness to share those things in an honest and vulnerable way helped me immensely.

        Like

      • Travis B. says:

        Couldn’t agree more, Lissy. You really nailed it. Frankly, I know some people feel like we’re in a “better place” now after going through this trial, but honestly, I haven’t arrived at that same conclusion. I can’t imagine a greater loss to our community than gottmanfan (well, save Matt, of course, since this is his house) and how her concerns were spun into negative and accusatory character judgments against her sits poorly with me. I still value this place, but we’ve lost both gottmanfan and a sense of collective safety (which, yes, may have exposed some naivety in some of us, but really, how is this place supposed to accomplish its goals if we can’t feel safe to fully expose the truth of our relationship experiences?), so I’m a long way from feeling like we’re somehow a stronger community because of this trial we’ve gone through. Maybe it’ll prove to be like a sine wave over time, though, and we just find ourselves in a temporary valley at the moment. I sure hope so.

        Like

      • fromscratchmom says:

        Thank-you very much Matt. I really appreciate your in-put and will definitely reflect on what you have said. I’m too pressed by life right now to say much more. I must get back to work and actually work while I am here at the office!

        Like

  30. gottmanfan says:

    I’m putting this comment down here since I am incapable of following the threads above.

    Fromscratchmom, First of all I hope you are doing ok considering your recent comment about your pastor being called. I hope you have some peaceful resolution soon.

    Ok, I am a direct person and indirectness just confused me. Lol. I think you might have been referring to me in parts of your comment? At least your valid points seem to look like my words and ideas matter and my Martin Luther King quote.

    So I can’t figure out which parts were based on my comments but I’ll just say that I am not threatening to leave.

    I am leaving. Not because of any bad will but because I have different priorities. I’ve tried to explain my thoughts and reasoning as clearly and directly as I can but it seems it’s coming across like I’m out for blood or something.

    I’m just trying to fix my marriage and recover from almost dying. That’s my agenda.

    And I used to come to this blog and get good information and friendly debate about ideas to improve my marriage. And I commented with some nice people about their lives.

    That is not going to be possible for me in the future based on the current rules and dialogue. It’s a combination of my different priorities and values and my complete inability to just ignore comments that I find deeply troubling that I just can’t pull it off. I wish I could.

    I wish you all nothing but the best. Thank you to those who have been so kind to me in the past year.

    If anyone wants to stay in touch you can find me on Facebook as Lisa Gottman. Maybe we can continue to swap ideas about fixing marriages.

    ,

    Like

  31. gottmanfan says:

    I’m putting this comment down here since I am incapable of following the threads above.

    Fromscratchmom, First of all I hope you are doing ok considering your recent comment about your pastor being called. I hope you have some peaceful resolution soon.

    Ok, I am a direct person and indirectness just confused me. Lol. I think you might have been referring to me in parts of your comment? At least your valid points seem to look like my words and ideas matter and my Martin Luther King quote.

    So I can’t figure out which parts were based on my comments but I’ll just say that I am not threatening to leave.

    I am leaving. Not because of any bad will but because I have different priorities. I’ve tried to explain my thoughts and reasoning as clearly and directly as I can but it seems it’s coming across like I’m out for blood or something.

    I’m just trying to fix my marriage and recover from almost dying. That’s my agenda.

    And I used to come to this blog and get good information and friendly debate about ideas to improve my marriage. And I commented with some nice people about their lives.

    That is not going to be possible for me in the future based on the current rules and dialogue. It’s a combination of my different priorities and values and my complete inability to just ignore comments that I find deeply troubling that I just can’t pull it off. I wish I could.

    I wish you all nothing but the best. Thank you to those who have been so kind to me in the past year.

    If anyone wants to stay in touch you can find me on Facebook as Lisa Gottman. Maybe we can continue to swap ideas about fixing marriages.

    ,

    Like

    • I deeply care about your future success in your goals, Lisa Gottman. And I thank you sincerely for the dialogue. I think there will quite possibly be some way for future connection. *hugs*

      Like

    • I apologize for the confusion. I was indirect on purpose because I was struggling with how to allow for some direct inference but over all keep a tone of generalities. And I realize looking back that I did a very poor job. We all play our parts. And recently we’ve all shifted around and played several different roles. Quite a few of us have sometimes or in some ways played the part of being the cretin. …or we could substitute one of the words Matt has used in his blogging although he tends toward a different vocabulary than I do. ;)
      He’s blogged about it before about how we’re all jerks. And in recent drama I’d say there’s been plenty of good and bad stuff to say about a lot of different ones of us.

      I did use your words or close to it, Gottmanfan, because you had already succinctly referred to the two concepts, although they’d already been on my mind and (maybe on the minds of others too.)

      I understand your priorities are good and appropriate to you. And I wish you great success and peace and happiness. I do NOT wish to stress you out. I do have some issues with some of what’s happened here in some of your comments. But I most definitely would not want you to think that it was all a weirdly indirect attempt to fuss at you personally. It’s been a lot of stuff from a lot of directions that’s gotten convoluted enough to make it hard to look at every person and every comment and every aspect of each and pick it apart. So again, I apologize for my poor and confusing communication! Please take good care of yourself!

      Like

    • I apologize for the confusion. I was indirect on purpose because I was struggling with how to allow for some direct inference but over all keep a tone of generalities. And I realize looking back that I did a very poor job. We all play our parts. And recently we’ve all shifted around and played several different roles. Quite a few of us have sometimes or in some ways played the part of being the cretin. …or we could substitute one of the words Matt has used in his blogging although he tends toward a different vocabulary than I do. ;)
      He’s blogged about it before about how we’re all jerks. And in recent drama I’d say there’s been plenty of good and bad stuff to say about a lot of different ones of us.

      I did use your words or close to it, Gottmanfan, because you had already succinctly referred to the two concepts, although they’d already been on my mind and (maybe on the minds of others too.)

      I understand your priorities are good and appropriate to you. And I wish you great success and peace and happiness. I do NOT wish to stress you out. I do have some issues with some of what’s happened here in some of your comments. But I most definitely would not want you to think that it was all a weirdly indirect attempt to fuss at you personally. It’s been a lot of stuff from a lot of directions that’s gotten convoluted enough to make it hard to look at every person and every comment and every aspect of each and pick it apart. So again, I apologize for my poor and confusing communication! Please take good care of yourself!

      Like

  32. linds01 says:

    Matt,
    I think my last statement may be too indirect.
    Let me just ask you – for curiosity, not necessarily to push the issue…
    Is Freedom of Speech right in this case,
    Even at the costs?
    Can you explain?
    Sorry if you already covered this.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      This isn’t about freedom of speech, per se. I’m no lawmaker.

      This is an ongoing conversation.

      1. We’re all adults. The rule should be: Act like you do every day. Keyboard warriors are phonies. We like authenticity here.

      2. We don’t always agree with what other people have to say. That’s fine. We can choose to ignore OR engage the people with whom we disagree.

      3. I am now deleting comments that strike me as obvious violations. Thus far, I have deleted three of them. People should feel free to alert me to them. I don’t have a team of moderators or anything to police conversation. It’s not just impractical, but IMPOSSIBLE for me to see and actually digest every word of every comment that gets posted on the blog. It would be like expecting the Austin police department to monitor crime throughout the entire state of Texas.

      4. Big-picture philosophy? I’ll delete comments all day. But BANNING people who honor the community’s code of conduct even when espousing unpopular views?

      Sorry. But, no. We’re not going to silence people just because we don’t like what they say. The depths of shittiness and hypocrisy in such a move is more than I’m willing to be a part of.

      If people are unwilling to subject themselves to unpopular ideas, I totally get that.

      In the end, this is NOT likely to be a major problem. Repeated unkindness and gross violations of our community standards WILL earn a ban.

      Since establishing this new community standard, there has NOT been any gross violations of the Kindness Rule that couldn’t be handled with “Trash Comment” button.

      Like

    • Travis B. says:

      Lindsey, my personal question has been similar, but maybe slightly different. I’m curious if Matt sees a total compatibility between unlimited freedom of speech and the mission objective of this site (I lean to the side of no, personally–I would champion a lot of latitude in the freedom afforded to speech here, but not quite as much as it appears Matt would) and, if not, which cause is ultimately more important to him, defense of the mission objective or the freedom of speech? But it’s honestly not a leading or loaded question. It’s just my perception that he’s been more vehement in his defense of the freedom of speech than the core cause of this site, which has been surprising to behold, but maybe I’m reading it wrong.

      Like

      • Travis B. says:

        Crap, sorry, Matt. Posted my nonsense while you were replying to Lindsey.

        Like

      • linds01 says:

        Travis and Matt,
        Travis- those actually were where my thoughts were going.
        Having a high ideal like freedom of speech seems impractical when the application causes damage to something that is important to all of us. So it looks like an Either/Or situation.

        (Matt, first- thank you for your reply and all the time and devotion you have given to this, over the last week.)

        I do see it as Matt looking beyond an either/or scenario and creating a workable solution, on that doesn’t involve completely banning a person.

        In many ways I do appreciate this.

        I have a strong belief that people that seem to ruffle feathers so much need other people in deeper ways than mostly functional people.

        This idea may or may not have counted at all in Matt’s calling “bullshit” to banning someone. But, that is my own conviction that I “preach”- (yep, dirty word) to people about in regards to people with mental illness. So, I would be a hypocrite if I agreed to it here.

        It is much easier to get rid of what makes you uncomfortable.
        But, if we did that successfully for the rest of our lives we would end up being very fragile, and largely unwhole people.

        Matt, I sincerely do appreciate you creating a solution. I think the guidelines are good. I think this shows us that there are ways to find solutions that don’t infringe on convictions and can be a win-win-win solution. I think this shows that we are in this community together (I will miss Gott incredibly, but I get her priorities in the matter and hope she will return at somepoint) and I think this exercise has been an incredibly good learning experience in growing as a human being.

        I am thankful for what I have learned and the changes I have seen in me since I began participating here.
        I am grateful for everyone here.

        Like

  33. linds01 says:

    This is in response to the exchange between Travis and Lissy, but is for everyone.
    I’ve been thinking about the vulnerability thing for most of the day.
    I thought about the real risks involved in continuing to be vulnerable on this forum. The usual risks include being misunderstood, or understood and rejected, or understood and have whatever is shared in someway held against you. Am I missing other risks?
    I think here the biggest risk is having something held against you. That is a continual risk in all relationships, and hurts worse the closer the person is (in my evaluation).
    I am a little brave (or stupid) when it comes to vulnerability, mostly because I need people and that has been the repeated answer given to me about connecting to people.
    I think I am a little wiser about when and where to be vulnerable because I have been willing to be vulnerable and I’ve been burnt. That’s life!
    But, my point is – The word vulnerability itself indicates the ability to be harmed. I think the regulars (even the quiet ones!) are, or should be, incredibly honored to be entrusted with real conversations about real people’s real lives. I mean, seriously- Travis, I am honored that you would share here and that you engage with me. Same for Matt, and Mom, and Lisa and Donkey and everyone else. And allowing that vulnerability allows care and insight and fortitude in very tender and precious places. In the end, when treated correctly, it strengthens you.
    The potential dynamics that can occur here if people decide to be vulnerable would be mostly that the conversation is way layed, by spreading an agenda. That is personally harmful both in not being able to process it (passive harm) and also in having personal discussions being judged for all the peripheral crap that is against anyone’s particular agenda (active harm).
    So, in that circumstance it isn’t a good idea to be vulnerable.
    And really, the likelihood of that happening anyway is pretty small I would say. (Because what would be the point except to get something thrown back in your face.)
    My knee jerk response to this conversation was to sign up for a discussion forum, and write Matt to ask if he will put the link on MBTTTR.
    I still think that would be a viable solution. We could comment on Matt’s Blog directly, or hit the link and respond there. I would hope Matt would be part of that forum and choose to receive notification of comments there, since they will largely still be centered around his blog.
    After I wrote it to him I realized that maybe I “did it wrong”, and should have also brought it up to everyone here. So I’m doing that now.

    I also spent time thinking about the frequent lack of really good communication skills, as well as the lack of real insight I have when communicating with others here. I’m not saying that to down myself.
    Comparitively, it’s true.
    I will be vulnerable here and say there are times when I wonder how I have survived, and my answer is usually by the skin of my teeth.. And by standing in the shadows of giants. What I mean by that is I am not the best communicator, (which is a real shame since I have sound ideas. ) And I know
    other sound ideas, and quality people, and the things I want to be influenced by.
    I am saying this to reiterate the meaning and importance this forum has been.
    Before I started participating here, I had been a part of a church that hardly acknowledged me. For whatever screwed up reason I depended on them for my belongingness. What I got was minimal, but I hung on. I was fairly isolated. When my school program started last August I noticed how awkward my speech was. My cadence was off- because I wasn’t really used to talking with people at any length. (Except for some occasional one on one conversations with “my BFF”)
    Travis, it took south courage from me to write back to you that first time- after the “left my wife in the hospital” post, during the “marriage is like a train” post.
    I was really scared- I wanted to say something cool,ect. I am so glad I did!
    Since I started posting here I am more comfortable talking to different people.
    Just engaging in conversation, in expressing my thoughts, etc. Has changed how I interact in real life.
    I am not depending on you guys to give my life meaning. I know these are not centrally significant relationships. But you guys do make my life better, and I want that to continue.
    I think I have more to learn from you guys!
    Please let me know what the thoughts are on a forum that would be open for more personal conversations.
    We can talk about the details of how that would play out if anyone is interested. (Including Matt! I would definitely want your participation!)

    Like

    • Donkey says:

      Hi there Lindsey!

      I don’t have clarity right now as to how I feel about everything that’s happened on the blog lately. It’s brought up a lot of stuff for me. I’m processing/waiting things out (and running low on words). :)

      A forum sounds interesting. Though I’ll be frank and say that at this point I wouldn’t commit to do doing any work to make sure it happens.

      Are you making any progress in finding a more welcoming church?

      Like

      • linds01 says:

        Good morning Donkey:)
        I understand wanting to just hang back.
        I’m waiting for Matt’s response to go much further. But I may spend more time investigating different forum set ups instead of just registering for one haphazardly.
        Thank you for asking about the church situation. No, I’m not really looking for another congregation. I read and pray on my own. If I attend a service it will likely be geared more towards a liturgical service.
        I’ve really taken to the notion of the fellowship of the human race. I do have relationships with people that are in the same “race” as me, but I really need and slowly have been expanding my relationship circles.
        Again thank you for asking. ❤️
        Have a great Sunday!

        Like

      • linds01 says:

        Donkey,
        How is the Chalice and the Blade going? Have you finished?

        Like

    • ruralbethany says:

      Linds – what about a Facebook Group?

      Like

      • linds01 says:

        Beth,
        In spite of my own feelings at times, I think maybe it would be better to learn to listen to opposing views.
        I just spent 4 days with someone who lives in Saudi, while he did not reflect that culturals beliefs, he shared enough about it.
        The fact of the matter is we live in a very privileged culture, so much more than we probably realize.
        Don’t get me wrong- I have super strong feelings of disgust about men abusing and dominating women. But the fact that I even feel that way is telling about the extent of our freedoms.
        I am not agreeing with a position that women should be subordinate at all- but I want to be able and willing to listen to others who disagree or differ from me. I know it can bring up a lot of pain and anger, and I respect that. But I don’t think making a new group via FB is going to be effective. We will get away from an opinion we don’t like, but then we would also be limited. Let’s just wait, tolerate what we can, ect. If you want to be my friend, Id be open to that. :)

        Liked by 1 person

  34. liza says:

    This is how I started developing myself, asking the hard questions and developing me

    Like

  35. I’ve said this before, but one thing I learned (at a Safety Conference, of all places!) was the question, “Why does it make sense?” You ask yourself this question when people break the rules – and that leads you to understanding, and (presumably) better rules.

    Now of course my first reaction was to scoff at this and think “just follow the darn policies already!” But this question has been very useful when trying to understand opposing viewpoints. It’s made me really comfortable with two separately existing truths.

    Now if only I could teach the hubs that the other party doesn’t have to be “wrong” in order for him to be “right”….

    Like

  36. […] Mark’s new book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” is being released tomorrow much to the chagrin of everyone who hates profane language more than they hate learning how to embrace discomfort for the sake of growth.  […]

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  37. […] means, anytime you surround yourself with confident, boundary-enforcing, authentic people who care about you enough to always tell you the truth even when it’s uncomfortab…, and you have a disagreement with them, it’s going to end with one or both of you walking away, […]

    Like

  38. […] be great at finding root causes if they didn’t like playing so much more than researching, and if their parents liked truth more than comfort. Realize that Paul Newman’s Cool Hand Luke pretty much nailed it: “What we have here is a […]

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  39. […] Jesus guy, so I had a little trouble dealing with the idea when I first considered it. But I think your life will suck more if you run away from discomfort all the time, so I hope even if you’re also a long-time Jesus person, you’ll let the idea roll around your […]

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  40. […] We need a critical mass of people to decide they want TRUTH more than they want COMFORT. […]

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  41. […] I hope it makes people uncomfortable. The hard truths always do. If people aren’t a little uncomfortable, I always assume that means they’re doing it wrong. […]

    Like

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