Monday, November 28, 2005

Parting thoughts and parting shots

There seem to be two or three groups on the other side of this controversy:

1. Most of Frank's critics have chosen to feign indignation. This is an opportunistic ploy to capture the moral high ground so that they can continue to retail false doctrine (e.g., Barthian views of Scripture) or ungodly language under the smokescreen of calculated moral outrage over the martyrdom of the Monk by mean old Frank and his mean old allies among the Truly Reformed.

We see this all the time in politics. Democrats constantly change the subject by pretending that any criticism of their geostrategic views is a personal attack on their honor and patriotism. This is just a ruse to divert attention from the real issues.

2. Then you have the afternoon talk-show types. This takes the form of absolution by Kleenex. No matter what a guest has said or done, if he breaks down in tears, then all is forgiven, and anyone who continues to comment on his rap sheet is being mean and uncharitable. The wrong-doer becomes the victim, and the DA becomes the wrong-doer.

The Ophrafication and effeminization of public discourse becomes, in turn, the standard of civil discourse which some are trying to impose on the blogdom of God—although a number of them have one set of rules for themselves (free fire zone), and another set of rules (unilateral disarmament) for the rest of us.

Actually, Spencer is pulled the rug out from this defense by his duplicitous, ex post facto disclaimer regarding the confessional essays as a literary device, in which he assumes a quasi-fictitious persona.

3. Then you have the nice guys. Unlike (1), they are quite sincere. By constitutional temperament and national character, they always wince and cringe and shudder at any public display of discord or raised voices. To them, this is sub-Christian, contrary to the Sermon on the Mount, and tantamount to sipping Earl Grey without a clean pair of white gloves.

The problem with their advice is that those who sincerely dish out this sort of counsel are not the source of the problem. If the church had more #3-types, and fewer #1-types, we wouldn't have this problem to begin with, but since they are not the bomb-throwers, their advice is simply useless. Those who need to hear it aren't listening, and those who listen don't need to hear it since they already agree with it.

4. Another problem with #3 is that it turns a blind-eye to genuine misconduct. It deems the real problem to be tonal, or the scandal of public exposure, and not the underlying problem itself.

For example, aside from whatever the iMonk has said, he is also the moderator of the BHT, and in that capacity he is responsible for what his cobloggers say as well. The issue is larger than the iMonk.

As Jus Divinum has pointed out (
the whole iMonk/BHT syndicate has been a runaway train for quite some time now. It was overripe for a plainspoken man like Frank Turk to cut it down to size and put in its place. Kudos to the Turkoman.


  1. I probably belong to #3 by temperament overall, even though I think conflict is good and necessary at times. I agree that the people who need to hear what this group says usually aren't listening.

    But what if calling for a certain standard of conduct in our conflict isn't just a personality quirk, but an attempt to be obedient to Scripture? In other words, what if someone in this group isn't trying to shut down the conflict, or manifest their temperament, but to call people to biblical standards in how we relate to others?

    Then, even if nobody listens to them, they're still right in calling our attention back to Scripture (as they sip their Earl Grey tea).

  2. I've seen the "ungodly language" thing commented on enough that I feel compelled to comment on it myself, especially since no one will actually link to the "vulgarity" that is so offensive.

    My friend Bill used the words "ass" and "crap." Actually, he wrote "a--" (no censoring for "crap"). In the context of the post, he used them as an exaggerative summation of how others' comments sound to him. In other words, he wasn't using them personally (as in, "You are a crap-ass" or what-have-you).

    He also apologized in the comment for those words knowing they might offend some, including himself, as he NEVER uses profanity and goes red faced at the words even church kids use these days as substitute curses.

    All that to say, the idea that a few guys whose online presences seem built on provocation and heavy snark would be scandalized by the censored "a--" and the word crap would be laughable if it weren't so infuriating. Who knew they were so sensitive?
    That they're now acting as if these words represent the most vulgar offenses ever known to man (and one of the offended parties actually wrote them several times in his post, so they can't be too offensive, eh?) is ludicrous. And that one of them won't link to the post makes it seem like worse words were written than actually were. I think that's dishonest.

    Let the flaming begin . . .

  3. Highland lack of manners. I drink Earl Grey tea from a mug with a capacity of one pint, and I don't wear white gloves.

  4. Jared: For the record: it is indeed true that the "vulgar language" I objected to was only PG-13 stuff. I was not trying to make a bigger deal out of the vileness of the expletive than it really was. The point I was actually trying to make had to do with the incongruity of Ephesians 4:29 in such a context. I also realize that the post and subsequent comments were written in the heat of passion, and not necessarily typical of what you, Bill, or the Thinklings in general typically post. Note that I never put Thinklings in the penalty box by de-linking you.

    I've revised today's post at my blog to try to make that more clear.

  5. Actually, it was James 3:6, but I appreciate your understanding.