05 September, 2006

Slice Is Diced Up And Found Delicious

Communicating well with people has always been a conundrum. As a former workforce trainer, I can tell you that if people always communicated with each other well, I would have been out of a job long ago. Now, if people standing next to each other at work have a problem communicating, how much worse is it going to be by e-mail or blog comments? A few years back e-mail communication became a hot training topic for just this reason.

Have you ever seen the old communication pyramid? Well it goes like this: The tone and visual (body language, eye contact, etc) elements of communicating make up approximately 90% of WHAT we communicate. Words get a paltry 10% of WHAT we communicate. (And to think how much time we spend trying to pick the right ones!)

Think about that because this is not some pseudo social psychobabble. You can get a feel for where the person is coming from by listening to their tone and seeing their body language. I can say the word 'Sorry' and you know how it is meant if you are standing next to me. If I type the word 'Sorry' you have no idea if I mean it or not.

What all of this means is that e-mail, letters and blog comments are ripe for misinterpreting a persons character. And we must take it into consideration before we jump to offended conclusions. Me included.

I got to thinking of this in light of the ongoing controversy with Slice of Laodicea http://www.sliceoflaodicea.com/and several who want Phil Johnson over at Pyromaniacs http://teampyro.blogspot.com/ to censure Slice.

Some say Slice is vitriolic and hateful. Others think Slice is doing a service pointing out what is going on in the pomo church. The question comes down to this: How is the truth communicated?
I, myself, would never be described as sweet and cuddly in person so I am sure I come off a bit intense or arrogant to some in word. I suppose I could employ the use of emoticons more to try and interject a softer stance when I am vehemently disagreeing with someone. (insert frustrated but loving emoticon here)

What if Ingrid, at Slice, is typing yet another post about a circus at church to entertain the kids and she is weeping over the trivializing of our Savior? How will we know that? Time and space considerations prevent her from describing her 'feelings' (insert emoticon yelling yuck here) on every post. (insert emoticon shaking head no here)

Since blog comments and e-mail are at a distance but also a two way conversation, we cannot forget the person receiving the information. They, too have issues. (insert smiley face emoticon here) Perhaps they get offended real easy or have a chip on their shoulder? Or, perhaps they are so nice that they would never confront their dog about the mess in the living room for fear of hurting his feelings? (When I was about 8 years old, my brother called me some not very nice names. When my mom heard it she said, "Now, say something nice about your sister." His reply, "You don't sweat much for a fat girl.")

So, you can see that I have never had the 'nice' problem. I grew up in a home where we debated politics, theology and everything else at the dinner table for fun. We loved a good debate and 'feelings' were not allowed. If you cried, you were out forever! Only facts were allowed and you had better be right. A few of my visiting friends would come away amazed we could be so intense and still love each other. (insert smiley face emoticon here)

Others may come from homes where no one ever disagreed or if they did, it was not discussed out loud. Gee, maybe they go to a church where disagreement is considered sinful. Who knows? One cannot take all of that into consideration with every post. The hardest thing in the world is to communicate by word. The receiver of the written communication is filtering YOUR words through their own world lens. (insert frustrated emoticon here)

Here is just a small example: Someone complained about Slice referring to Joel Osteen as a mousy man. Uh oh. That is name calling! That is not Christian! (insert questioning but excited emoticon here)

That never occurred to me because I had just read where he preached a Sunday morning sermon on the benefits of eating a good breakfast. Not exactly spiritual giant stuff there. More like mouse man when it comes to spiritual things. (insert emoticon pounding his head with hammer here)

What is loving? What is hateful? In the end, I wonder if we have just turned these two words upside down. If we could get at least 10,000 of the 30,000 (insert sarcasm emoticon here) people at Lakewood to see that JO is mousy, instead of thinking he is a spiritual giant, wouldn't that be a good thing? (insert questioning but sincere emoticon here)

I have lots more to say on this subject but am running out of time. I just want to end on this note: Listen to Ingrid's show. What you will hear is a very neutral toned, steady but concerned woman vying for the truth. To her detractors: How do you know this woman is not on her knees every night praying for the state of our souls, our churches? Maybe she does all this because she cares about our eternal lives. Judging goes both ways, ya know. (insert truth in love emoticon here)

Galatians 4: 16

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?


Anonymous said...

I'm the one who objected to the word "mousy."

I thought we had a pretty good discussion about things on the rest of that thread. Perhaps you'd like to mention that, or link to it.

(I confess I do get excited sometimes, but I wasn't all that excited when I jumped into that thread.) *smile*

Anonymous said...

Oh, meant to leave a name to go with that post. I'm Connie.

(Not afraid to be nonanonymous, just too lazy to sign up with Blogger at the moment.)

Lindon said...

Hi Connie, Can you send the link? I will include it. Too busy to go looking for it right now. Thanks for writing...and by the way, I still think JO is mousy. (Big smiley face)

I confess I overly excited at times, too, dearest one.


P.S. (an after-thought) said...

I read Slice because I'm looking for some reflections on the state of the church in all its various ways and means. I do find one view point there.

What I object to at Slice isn't that she and Ken have a differing viewpoint from some ways Christians worship, nor do I object to any good solid criticism, layed out in a logical, clean argumentative manner.

Rather, I am, for the most part, still looking for that. I see lots of name calling. Lots of criticism of churches and ways that she obviously hasn't personally visited. I see her taking her commentators views for granted as being true and objective, which may not necessarily be the case.

I've seen cricism of possible things in the future that haven't even taken place, Rick Warren going to Korea, for example.

She may have called the smiling preacher "mousy" but she also called him effeminant. Does that make her masculine?

That last bit galled a lot of people who might not like the Texas preacher, but we need to remember that many of the traits considered feminine in America were traits that Jesus shared.

Other name calling I've seen on that blog in previous months was even stronger.

Looking at the home webpage for Slice, I find no indication of the background or theological leanings of the people there. It would be helpful to figure out just where they DO STAND rather than just what they STAND AGAINST. So far I've only seen positive comments with some quotations from Martin Luther, but I'm pretty sure that their background isn't Lutheran.

The other point about Slice that I find irksome is that it isn't a give and take discussion. It is one sided. If a person agrees with them, the comment gets posted. If the person disagrees, that 'net-name is forever banned. Ask me how I know. Today I wasn't even allowed to post a very complimentary comment about her grandfather, a man I knew.

I posted on my blog, asking for someone to point me in the direction of a conservative Christian blog that had open discussions, without resorting to name calling, but rather had good, honest, logical, criticism of various branches of the church in America. I got NO suggestions for that.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lindon said...

Hi PS, I don't do well with generalities. Can you give me an example of some of the commentators (writers on the blog) whose views are not true to the Word? When reading Silva, Proctor and others, I keep my Bible next me at all times, just like I do when reading anything written by humans. So far, everything is right on. Silva is an excellent teacher.

Also, I can understand your position of wanting to be for something instead of against something. I hear this quite a bit. But think for a moment about the 10 Commandments..Thou shalt NOT...

Then move onto the OT Prophets and all the negative things God had them say to Isreal. Right now I am doing a study on the hard teachings of Jesus. It is amazing how much there is that is NOT positive.

I do not know the denominational backgrounds of Slice contributors. That matters little to me at this point. I was looking for brothers and sisters in Christ who believe in the Word in context. The full counsel of God as Paul says in Acts.

PS, We do not have to agree on things. The title of your blog speaks volumes to me as to your demeanor:Speaking softly.

My view (and it is MY view) is that Jesus is coming soon. People are being led into apostasy all over this country with feel good, fun entertaining churches. They do not understand sin, sanctification or Holiness. Are they saved? I wonder. Are they being deceived? I really do think so according to scripture. I have a real heart for this as I have seen it first hand in my life.

Friend, please study scripture and beg the Holy Spirit to minister to you through the Word. You are in my prayers as are all whom I come in contact with online.

Lindon said...

Hi connie, It did not work. I will try and look for it later. Give me some time. And I am one crayola short of a full box.


P.S. (an after-thought) said...

After rereading my comment and reading Lindon's reply, I can see that I didn't express myself as well as I could have.

It is not the positions, or at least most of the positions, that Slice writers take that bother me. In fact, I read the blog to see what people have to say that aren't "thrilled" with some of the things going on in some American churches.

Rather, it is the way things are framed. For example, if a person calls someone a name or uses a loaded phrase to describe someone rather than getting specific, that doesn't help the readers really understand the problem.

Another problem I see is that there is a lot of overgeneralization, and/or taking a small questionable thing and generalizing that the whole is therefore bad. For example, there were quite a few mentions earlier this summer about Summer Bible Schools. Someone might be upset about a certain aspect of a Bible School (and they may well have good reason to be so) but then that person may generalize that the whole Bible School was bad.

I don't see much effort to find out if the charges they level against certain churches are true. And if they aren't, they are going against Ex 20:16, as well as many verses that Paul wrote. Yes, in certain cases, the Slice writers quote from certain authors' own writings or web pages and comment on those. That is different than taking second hand reports and then commenting.

Having the Slice computer set to automatically reject comments means that there is no chance that someone who has a genuine argument or reason to correct a comment has no chance of getting heard. I think that genuine give and take in Christian Love can stand disagreement and looking at a situation from many sides. Even in the Gospel lesson for this week, Jesus rewards the faith of the Gentile woman who disagreed with His statement, see Mark 7: 28 - 29.

It seems to me that the church on earth is a human church, therefore ALL the members, pastors, priests, etc. are sinful human beings. All are in need of God's grace through Jesus. I'm not excusing those churches that stray from the Word and don't look to it for guidance. But that there are churches that begin their services in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that may use songs, methods, or service types that bother any of us. I am fairly sure that I wouldn't be comfortable in an "entertainment" type of church. But I might find God's word being preached anyway. Or maybe not.

What I DO want in a church service is Confession of sins, the Word, Worship, and preaching about God's grace in Jesus. Not preaching about daily life problems in general, as I've seen on some of the TV preachers. In my opinion, this belongs in a church class, not in worship service; But other people want this in church.

The denominational or schooling background makes a difference to me because I've found that different groups define certain "churchy" words quite differently, even what "being saved" means, for example. Keep in mind that one can proof-text almost any "Biblical" position. What should or shouldn't be in a sermon or church service seems to be very denominationally based. Several denominations state fairly explicitly (I've looked at a number of websites) that they have the only right interpretation of scripture.

You are right that the OT has a lot of don'ts and negative expressions of what we are not to do. That is always less complex than stating the positive. Jesus, as usual, was able to cut to the heart of the matter when He summed up the Laws in Mark 12: 30-31. He expressed what we are to do in love.

To sum up: I think that Slice could be three times as effective in contributing to genuine education of Christians about some of the trends that its writers question by being more specific about the criticism, less name calling, less hype, less overgeneralization and guilt by association, and more open to discussion and the possibility that they, themselves, are not always right.

luvvom said...

There is only one person on Slice who is a commenter that I have a problem with. Most of the time I don't read his comments because they always seem to come against people of God (examples would be the persecuted church and just recently John MacArthur...no I'm not talking about your comment, Lin :o))with every comment he writes...this is when you see my comments steaming hot. Slice contributors expose those coming against God and His holy word. I'm not a real sensitive person either and get tired of tip toeing around people who claim that someone has injured their feelings when really they are just mad that people aren't agreeing with their views and won't allow them to spew their views to try to wrestle others over to their side. I say start your own blog to take issue with people you disagree with...it's a free country still (not for long so you better hurry) with free speech. Oh, and be careful that when you state someone is judging others that you yourself aren't judging (hard to do isn't it? :o))
BTW, that last part is for PS.
you said something in your post about your mother making your brother say something nice about his sister...now I'm confused. Are you male or female? Your name has always lead me to think that you are a male...am I wrong? :o)

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

Unfortunately, when I clicked preview then edit, my comments got posted before I could edit them.

Well, I had written long enough already, but I intended to quote some exact references to back up my comments.

For now, I'll just say that cutting off discussion isn't the heart of political freedom. "Freedom rings wherever opinions clash." said Adlai Ewing Stevenson

I read quite a number of blogs that are opinionated, but the many of the authors try to state their view and opinions without resorting to ad hominem attacks, bifurcation, red herring, straw man arguments, equivocation, false cause, or hasty generalization, etc. AND they let people who disagree with them say so on their blogs.

American Christianity needs critics, yes, both within and without the denominations. I know that I'd trust the criticism more if it were applied in a more even handed, open way. I actually seek out well written edtorials that take a different viewpoint than my own. I expect to have my mind opened and to think.

Learning to see fallacies of arguments, whether in blogs in the realm of faith or in the "news" on TV is a skill that takes practice. But one has to be aware of this to look for it. Given what passes for news commentary on TV these days, I do wonder if this skill is taught in schools any more.

Lindon said...

PS, Basically what you said in the beginning of your post you do not like the way truth is communicated. I can appreciate that but it is her blog. I am not exactly Ms. Sweetness myself when it comes to the rat poison that is being passed off as spiritual teaching. Even when it is only 1% rat poison...

But, this kind of complaint about how someone communicates something is a straw man. If we constantly focus on the way a truth is communicated instead of the truth itself, we get...well, we get pomo churches!

The funny thing about blogs is that no one knows what category to put them in when it comes to speaking out. Where do blogs fit under the 1st Amendment? One way speech? The blog owner does not have to allow anyone to comment. And the reader can go and start their own blog and communicate the way they want. It's a beautiful thing.

God Bless you, Lin

Lindon said...

I'm a girl. I hope we can still be friends. :o)

luvvom said...

You are too funny. I will have to get a new face for you though :o)

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

Well, then I guess the point is that Slice could be so much more effective in its mission if it communicates in a manner that was more specific, less overgeneralized, less name calling, and quite frankly, more trustworthy.

I am, really, quite intrigued by their negative commentary about certain trends in certain churches, but I have the definet impression that they are willing to criticize without first hand knowledge of many of these things. (As I mentioned before, the exception being when they use some pastor's own books or websites as their source of information.

There are discerning people out there....in other denominations and Christian sub cultures.

Our church worship committee had decided, when we were between pastors, to do a Wed. night series on Purpose Driven...but about half way through, the very people who had proposed this became upset with the book and sorry that they had suggested it. We ended up only taking the good points that fit our church's basic character and dumping the rest. But, hey, someone who didn't check this out could lump us with the PD crowd, and we are definetly NOT!

Lindon said...

PS, Let me warn you that you are not going to like what I say:

Jesus told us His Word is like a Sword. (Hebrews 4, Matthew 10, Eph 6)

Then in Revelations we see that He is coming back with a 'Sword' in His mouth!!! (Rev 2)

What does that say to you? Here is what it says to me: Even 1/100th of false teaching or twisting of scripture will kill you. God is not mocked and this trivializing of Him and His Word is sending people to hell. (Whew! That sounds so mean!)

You want me to engage in a conversation about how Slice can tone it down and how much more effective they will be if they did. I can't because:

I disagree. Time is running out. We need to be bold with truth. People are not going to like it. They are going to be offended. The Bible tells us this! So be it. Perhaps the rocks will start flying in my lifetime, I do not know.

The fact I am taking my time at 12:45 am to write this to you should tell you that I do love you. Not the worldly namby pamby you're ok, I'm ok. I do not even know you! But the kind of love that desires people to stop worrying over trivialities such as how someone says something. Focus on the truth of what is said.

I do not have to read Debbie Does Dallas to know what it is. The same goes with seeker/pdl/emergent stuff. I do not have to visit every church, etc. Why?

It is called discernment.

Pray for it. Beg the Holy Spirit for it. You will be shocked at what may be revealed to you.

Jesus is coming back...with a SWORD in His mouth. Don't ever forget that.

Brendt said...

What if Ingrid, at Slice, is typing yet another post about a circus at church to entertain the kids and she is weeping over the trivializing of our Savior? How will we know that?

A very good question. How can one human know the thoughts/attitudes/motives of another human?

Maybe you should ask the writers at Slice, as they seem to have this down pat. (insert head-banging-against-wall-in-frustration smiley here)

Lin said...

Hi Brendt,

Thanks for stopping by. Nice try on the comment but exposing false teaching and man centered methods is NOT popular. One does not do it to gain worldly wealth, lots of friends and free trips. :0)

The question is: What have they written that is not true? Not how they happen to say it.

I am on a crusade which I will lose, by the way. As a former corporate trainer I saw what I am about to explain every day. People are more concerned with HOW something is said than WHAT is said. this is actually costing our country billions in lost productivity. (I am serious here) (really)

We spend soooo much time discussing how someone said something: mean, hateful, etc. That we overlook deep truths that matter.

We are breeding little 'feelers' in our country. And they are growing up to be whiny adults. Actually 2nd generation.

Let us focus only on the content. Then maybe we can have a REAL conversation that actually concludes in our lifetime.

By the way, I have had several e-mail conversations with Pastor Silva and his wife, Donna. Wonderful people who actually care about those in false teaching. It must be exposed. Our eternal lives depend on it.

Grace and peace. (big hug emoticon)

Brendt said...

I think you miss my point, as I see no connection between what I said and the subject of popularity that you raised at the beginning of your comment. However, as to the bulk of your response:

I would say that content is what is most important, but it is not solely important -- we cannot and should not "focus only on the content". Referencing your former profession, if you went into a training session speaking Swahili, it wouldn't matter if the content of your message was that the building was on fire, everybody needed to get out, and all evacuees would receive $1 billion. If the method obscures the content, not all of the culpability lies with the audience.

Yes, there is too much undue emphasis in our culture on the method of communication. Yes, important things do get lost because of this over-emphasis. But there is a measure of importance that MUST be ascribed to method. This, I believe, is at least partly what Paul meant in 1 Cor 9:19-22.

Lin said...

Brendt wrote: "I would say that content is what is most important,.."

Ah! We are getting somewhere!

..." but it is not solely important -- we cannot and should not "focus only on the content".

Uh oh. At least I thought we were. but it is a beginning!

I guess your example of speaking swahili to what I presume are Americans is somewhat over the top. Of course I would not do that.

But, if you mean method as in me donning a burqua to do missions in Afghanistan, then yes! I would be respectful of that if that is what you mean by method. However, I would not change content in any way. (By the way, that verse is so abused in this context it is starting to get on my nerves. Every Emergent from here to Peoria uses that one or Mars Hill. Pastor Silva has, I believe some good teaching on that if you care to visit his site-Apprising Ministries)

This all boils down to the fact that you do not like the way Slice communicates. The venue is blogging. I assume the purpose is to communicate false teaching and methods which do not Glorify God. Peoples toes are going to get stepped on. I know mine would have a few years ago. I was steeped in pdl/emergent stuff. Now, I just run to scripture and pray for wisdom in what I read. I am afraid of believing something that is nto true. I fear trivializing God.

In your original post you accuse Slice of not knowing people's motivations or heart. But, false teaching is false teaching. And methods that belittle God are methods that belittle God. Period. It is not subjective as so many would like to think. Methods are either God Glorifying or man centered.

My point about popularity in my second post is that I wonder why you think they do what they do? It certainly is not popular and they get quite a bit of hate mail.

Go read Jesus' first sermon recorded in Matthew. Was it, "I love you and want to know if you want Me to come into your heart"? Nope. It was: Repent. For the Kingdom of God is at hand. Now, does that sound nice? Couldn't He have said it nicer so people would want to repent?

Jesus shows quite a bit of compassion and firmness all through His ministry. We tend to pick out the parts we like and focus on them. Dangerous stuff.

Brendt said...

Jesus shows quite a bit of compassion and firmness all through His ministry.

Guess I missed the occurences of compassion on Slice.

Lin said...

IT is compassionate to warn people about the apostacy. And it is compassionate to call out false teachers.