I admit it. Sometimes I’d like to vent and spew my opinions – without my name. After all, it’s easier. No one can challenge me. No one can offer a rebuttal. It’s a lot easier to be anonymous. And it’s also more cowardly.
Several times a month I read anonymous comments from someone who attended a service at our church. Often the comments are prayers for a friend or family member. That’s okay. No harm done. Although – I’d love to pray with more specificity. And it’s impossible for us to reach out to an anonymous person to offer support. It's a bummer, but we still pray.
However, the stabbing, unkind, self-righteous, all-knowing criticisms and complaints that come from Mr. or Ms. Anonymous demonstrate a lack of willingness to dialog and a spineless mockery of courage. Most every time, these anonymous commenters, by their very content, reveal they are “insiders,” "Christians," people who regularly attend worship services.
Here’s what you really reveal about yourself…
- When you anonymously criticize the speaking pastor, assuming you’re wiser and godlier, it’s clear you’ve not taken all the counsel of the scriptures to heart.
- When you anonymously rant about the music, you demonstrate you don’t really want to understand or enter a meaningful conversation.
- When you anonymously ask questions about theology or methods, you clearly don’t expect a reply to your back-handed hostile criticism followed by a question mark (no, it was never really a question).
So, quit it. Grow up. Your comments don’t demonstrate your maturity – rather, the opposite. Your comments aren’t really intended to help, otherwise you’d humbly and prayerfully ask for space for a conversation. Your anonymous spiteful, self-righteous comments may make you feel better (what an odd approach), but I thought I’d let you know your intended “targets” aren’t receiving your ill-communicated words.
Now, a quick thought or two to the anonymous commenter who may now decide to attach your name:
- When possible go directly to the person connected to your comment or question. When in doubt and your comment is related to Granger Community Church, use firstname.lastname@example.org; we’ll help you from there.
- When you engage the conversation do so in a way that honors people and Jesus: be kind, respectful and open-minded (Philippians 2:1-8)
NOTE: This entire post really relates to a very, very small audience. So why post about it?
For those who’ve ever considered leaving a criticism for a restaurant, hotel, airline or other service. Think twice.
- Would you say the same thing, if you were identifying yourself?
- Are you willing to be helpful? Will you engage a constructive conversation about your concern?
- There’s a real person on the other end of your comment. Treat them accordingly.
That’s it. Feel free to comment...with your name.