Commenting Guidelines

After posting Online Dangers I received a very ungracious comment, I wanted to reiterate what I had stated in my very first post,  “…please be aware that any mean-spirited or rude comments will be deleted.” 

I did want to address some things from that comment though.  

I am a Christian.  Being a Christian, it is my desire to have my
thoughts line up with what God has to say.  I will not go into a long
explanation of how God’s word is not a cult (not the point of this website). Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  Any group (I am referring to the ones in particular that call themselves  Christians) that goes beyond God’s word is in danger of being a cult (not that they are, but that they are in a dangerous place).  God’s word is very precious and I do not wish to use it in a wrong manner, hence going to elders whom I trust, to ensure I am correctly handling God’s word.  Cults go to their human leaders for guidance who do not use the Bible as their starting point.
I am writing this blog for specific reasons (one reason is not to delve into the
merits of Christianity, but to warn people so the same thing does not happen to
their family as happened to mine; please see my about page  I am not out to call all online
communities cults (nor even all of the GCM forum).  I am truly sorry if it came across that way!  But I must warn of trouble when I see it, because how loving is it not to (I was accused of being a hate monger)?  My family has been hurt terribly, I do not want anyone else to lose a beloved family member in such a sad and unnecessary way.

I was also told I seem to hate women.  That was a shocker to me!  If the commentor who said that reads this, specifics of why you think this would be helpful. 

Let me end by reminding readers of who this website is for:

1) families who have been negatively impacted by (GCM)

2) women looking to join

3) men who want to see what their wives are joining (or have joined)

4) current GCMers who might have felt like there was a problem but just can’t put their finger on what that problem is.

2 responses to “Commenting Guidelines

  1. I could not let the person’s first comment be posted (under Online Dangers)because it was full of personal insults (which proves my point that we should be careful about what we post online and maybe a spouse (or elder) can be of help in this area – please read James 3 for how harmful the tongue can be). This one is not full of personal insults. However, there is nothing I can reply to because our starting areas are completely different. The commenter believes the Bible is not infallible, I do. She uses the Bible but tells me I shouldn’t be using the fallible book. She judges me (a person) but tells me I should not be judging GCM (a website). The logic is very illogical so a discussion is pointless. I do think it is good for family members of GCMers (or the family of women who want to join GCM) to read it so you can see how many of the GCMers think.

    “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” (1 Peter 1:24 ESV)

  2. Feel free to delete this comment too, but I figured I’d at least explain (less emotionally) my thoughts. Posting only your side of the debate (while it is entirely your choice) seems like an easy out. You are taking away the right others have to listen to both sides of this debate and come to their own conclusions. You can not be proven wrong in a publicly one sided debate, but you can’t be proven right either. It just becomes and emotional venting of your opinions.

    I’m glad you take comfort in running everything by your elders to have your “thoughts line up with what God has to say.” The fallacy here is called “irrelevant appeals to authority.” You are operating under the assumption that your elders have direct word from God in regards to what you say. I assure you that they do not. They can think about it and how it pertains to what they believe God would think, but at the end of the day they are still human and as such they are fallible. No human is infallible, that is the plight of humanity. We have a sinful nature, even the most devout.

    Even the modern Bible is not infallible. I am a linguist. I have specialized in how language and meaning evolve over time. One of my favorite hobbies is taking the Old Testament in the Hebrew and the New Testament in the Greek, and comparing them to their modern day translations. A lot is missed in translation if it isn’t just downright translated wrong. The Bible was translated by those fallible humans. Those fallible humans made some fairly glaring mistakes. People take those poorly translated verses and say, “this is what God meant, it says right here!” The problem is that it’s actually just what the poor translation says God meant. Let me give you an example.

    This is the best way I can show you what I mean without you having to spend a lifetime studying Greek and Hebrew. It is an imperfect example because I had a machine translate from the Greek to English, but it is eerily similar to what happens in human translation of text.

    I wrote the words to “Jesus loves me, this I know” in Greek and had them translated to english. This was the result:
    “Jesus loves me, this I know! For the Bible tells me something. For the Bible tells me something. Little ones to him belong; is weak, but it is powerful. Yes, Jesus loves me..”

    To someone who doesn’t know the origin of the song, the meaning can be completely different than originally intended. Jesus loves me because the Bible tells me something. It’s not telling me that He loves me, it’s just telling me something. Little ones belong to Him, weakly but powerfully. That kind of contradicts itself and makes me think that the act of belonging is both weak and powerful. And this is supposed to prove to me that yes, indeed Jesus loves me. Do you see how just a little difference in language can create a huge change in meaning? This doesn’t just happen with machines. There are plenty of words in every language that carry a special nuance that just doesn’t translate. So in one language there are implied meanings or connotations that just get lost in translation. The Bible is chock full of these. I spend hours comparing the differences between the original language and modern translations. There is just no way to deny that this happens often and at times in very significant ways. It enthralls me on an entirely linguistic basis. This text has been so revered for so long and passed down from generation to generation, but over those generations the meaning has changed drastically in many areas!

    But back to your elders…
    I find it very offensive when people claim to speak for God or know what His opinion is on any given subject. Do you like it when people assume to know your opinions? I assumed that you must hate women since your speech implies to me that this is the feeling behind your words. Despite your words constantly yelling at me, “I DEVALUE WOMEN!” you were shocked that I would think that. Now, I’m just another human just like you. I can’t imagine how shocking it would be to Almighty God (who is so far above human that it isn’t even quantifiable) to have puny insignificant beings like us make an assumption about His opinion on any matter. It would be okay to say, “I do not know for sure (therefore I cannot judge), but I think God meant xyz, and since I believe that, I am going to act accordingly.” The problem with this is that it removes the ability to pass judgment. You can not say “those people are doing it wrong!” because you don’t know for sure. Who knows, maybe they had a better understanding of what God meant on a subject than you and yours. We are all fallible and that means that sometimes you’re going to be wrong when others are right.

    This brings me to my next point, judgment. Let’s first define what judgment means as it pertains to us.

    To judge: (verb)
    1. to form a judgment or opinion of; decide upon critically: You can’t judge a book by its cover.
    2. to decide or settle authoritatively; adjudge: The censor judged the book obscene and forbade its sale.
    3. to infer, think, or hold as an opinion; conclude about or assess: He judged her to be correct.

    Now, let’s look at your comment as applicable:
    “Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
    -my interpretation: “the Bible is great for telling people how to live their lives according to my perception of what the Scripture means, for judging and railing at people when they’re doing it wrong (as in, not doing it my way), telling them how to do it my way, and character building!”
    Basically, to me this means you are using the scripture as a measure by which you may judge yourself and others.

     “Any group (I am referring to the ones in particular that call themselves  Christians) that goes beyond God’s word is in danger of being a cult (not that they are, but that they are in a dangerous place).”
    -my interpretation: you are judging who is and is not a cult (while implying that people that call themselves Christians may not be such) as well as who is in danger of becoming one.

    “God’s word is very precious and I do not wish to use it in a wrong manner, hence going to elders whom I trust, to ensure I am correctly handling God’s word.  Cults go to their human leaders for guidance who do not use the Bible as their starting point.”
    -my interpretation: ok, this may seem rude, but I’m not just trying to be plain mean. To me this means “cults go to their human leaders for guidance, but Christians go to their equally fallible human leaders for guidance but at least they use a poorly translated Bible and a lot of biased feelings as a jumping off point.” The point I intend to make here is that Christian leaders are just as fallible as any other leaders. There have been countless cults that started out as bona fide Christian churches. Many cults (I’m going by the dictionary definition of cult here: “1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies. 2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers. 3. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc. 4. Sociology . a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.) Heck, when you look at the literal definition of “cult,” it’s not that hard to see why people often lump Christianity into it. It’s all a matter of how it’s done and whether or not each individual member retains free will and autonomy. Can they make decisions for themselves apart from the guidelines of their religious group? It’s the ability to choose that makes all the difference.
    In my personal opinion of how cults relate to Christianity, what defines whether or not a church is a cult is whether people are able to retain their freewill and think for themselves or whether that would lead to being cast out or otherwise punished.

    “I am writing this blog for specific reasons (one reason is not to delve into the
    merits of Christianity, but to warn people so the same thing does not happen to
    their family as happened to mine; please see my about page”
    – my comment here: Ok, maybe this is a topic for another letter some other time, but I highly doubt that a group of internet people that your sister doesn’t even know in real life actually brought her to leave her husband. I read the forum the other night after reading your blog and it really seems to me that your sister was miserable and was coming to terms with some really hard stuff. She used the forum as a sounding board, but the board in no way convinced her to do anything one way or the other. It seemed to me that she came to those conclusions on her own. I don’t think what happened would have changed if she never got on that forum at all. I just scratch my head wondering why you are so stuck on this forum causing all of her problems. Why are you not putting all this time and effort into smothering this sister with all the love and affection and support that you have to offer? It sounds like she could use support and just unconditional love. It seems to me from this blog and her posts that your love has not been unconditional. It seems more like you’re saying, “This is the way you’re supposed to do it. If you refuse to accept that and abide by my terms, then I can’t love and support you.”
    I have done and do a lot of judge-worthy things, but I also know that at the end of the day I can go to my sister and get the unconditional love and support that this brutal world is lacking. That’s kinda the point to family in my opinion. You’re stuck with them, so love them flaws and all because you have yours too and they still love you.

    “But I must warn of trouble when I see it, because how loving is it not to (I was accused of being a hate monger)?  My family has been hurt terribly, I do not want anyone else to lose a beloved family member in such a sad and unnecessary way.”
    – my interpretation: Ok, what really matters here is not the warning, it’s the way that the warning is approached. Are you approaching these women with love and concern? You certainly don’t come across that way to me. I don’t know if it’s the words you use or what it is exactly, but your writing says to me “I’m right and you’re wrong. Let me enumerate all the ways you’re doing it wrong and tell you how it should be done. Take that!” I suppose what I find offensive (or “hate mongering” if you will) is the attitude that comes across in your writing. Look back up at that definition of the word judge. You are judging. You are not warning.
    To me, a warning that was made from a heart of love would be (to them directly and not on a blog obsessing about it) “You guys seem like really nice ladies, and I don’t think you are intentionally causing anyone harm, but I think consideration needs to be given to how your responses and advice my affect others on the board.” Or instead of focusing on one group (a group that doesn’t seem to me to be a cult or anything approaching that) tell your own people “because I love you guys and I don’t want you to be hurt by any danger, I really think we need to think about what people say and make sure that it fits with our personal relationship with God.” A warning doesn’t have to include judgment.
    There is a difference between scientific fact and sets of personal morals/opinions. It’s not judging to say “Cigarettes cause cancer, I’m warning you that it’s not good to smoke.” But saying, “I think the Bible says we should ban gay marriage! I’m warning you that allowing gay marriage will erode the moral fabric of our country!” is in fact judgment. The easier way to approach the latter is “What other people do is not my place to judge. I don’t believe gay marriage is okay, so I’m not going to get gay married.” That would be leading by example and being honest about your motivations instead of judging and telling people how they’re supposed to do things.

    Now lets see what the Bible has to say about judgment in modern language (poor translations and all!):
    Matthew 7:1-5
    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

    -My interpretation of this verse is that you will be judged by the methods and standards by which you judge others. We are all sinners. We all do wrong. Wrong is wrong. Do you overeat? Do you envy? Do you hate? Are you ever impatient? Do you worry? These are all things that the Bible states are not to be done. If all sin is equal in God’s eyes, then how does anyone have a right to judge anyone else? I really don’t think we have that right, it’s not our place.
    James 4:11-12
    Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
    -My interpretation of this verse is “Stop judging each other, people! Who are you guys to judge? That’s God’s role.” It is also followed by an exasperated head shaking in my mind, like he’s saying “how are you guys not understanding this?”
    Romans 2:1-3
    Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?
    – My interpretation: “If you judge, you are giving up your right to mercy to the degree that you were merciless. I sin, you sin, we ALL sin. So in judging another for his brand of sin, you are judging yourself for your own brand of sin. God will judge accordingly those that judge others.”
    Romans 14:1-13
    As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. …
    – my interpretation: The rightness of what I do or do not do is between me and God alone. Stop quibbling over insignificant detail, it’s not your place. God will judge each person individually and that is between the two of them, not anyone else.
    Matthew 7:5
    You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
    – I know I already posted this, but in case it got lost in the length of the quote it certainly merits a repeat. My interpretation: Concentrate on getting rid of your (this being a general you, not you specifically) own sin before you focus on “helping” someone else see their own faults. I’m pretty sure getting rid of your own faults is impossible and you’d end up spending a lifetime trying to keep up and would never actually get to a place where you could judge.
    John 8:7
    And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    – My interpretation: “You all sin and it’s not your place to judge regardless of what she did.” She was by all rights very wrong in her actions. She was at fault. But Jesus said that despite that, it wasn’t our place to judge her actions because we all sin.
    Luke 6:31
    And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
    – my interpretation (as it pertains to this blog): “would you like someone to start a blog claiming that you’re in a cult, that you’re all wrong, that you are the wrecker of marriages, and to judge you ad nauseum? To point out every flaw, perceived or factual? No? Then maybe it’s not something that you should do.” Basically, I interpret your writing to say that you have very strong negative feelings towards women, should I start a blog detailing every minute detail of why even if it’s not in fact how you feel?
    I could start a blog “exposing the exposer of GCM: why her actions stem from a hatred of women that in turn stems from insecurity, low self esteem, and a feeling of powerlessness in the face of the patriarchy of the Christian church.” It need not be terribly factual, just how I perceive it.
    Matthew 6:14-15
    For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
    -my interpretation: “forgive everyone else and God will forgive you. Judge everyone else and God will judge you instead.”
    Galatians 5:14
    For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
    – my interpretation: Even though it’s not directly about judging, to me it says “instead of focusing on judging everyone, focus instead on loving everyone.”
    Luke 6:37-42
    “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
    – my interpretation: again, a repeat. Let’s concentrate on the part I didn’t delve into before. You are a sinner, I am a sinner, neither of us can lead each other (and the same goes for those elders, they’re sinners too!). To the unlearned, the learned are above him. To the learned, they learn from everyone instead of judging them for what they do. I guess to me this means instead of focusing on how people are doing things wrong, focus on figuring out why. Basically, it’s science. It doesn’t really get anyone anywhere to just say “You’re doing it wrong! Do it the way I think is right or you’re wrong!” But what does help is to get to the root of a behavior. “Susan called me stupid today at church. Name calling doesn’t fit with my definition of appropriate behavior. I wonder what triggered that event. Oh! She called me stupid right after I said how I felt sorry for single people. I forgot that her husband died last year. That must be a sensitive area still. I either need to be careful around that topic when she’s around or maybe I should go make sure that she’s not miserably lonely and in need of a friend.” It wouldn’t help Susan at all if the response was just “You were wrong to call me a name! We don’t call people names at this church.” She would probably just feel guilty or angry on top of her misery, but it doesn’t address the root of the problem at all.
    James 1:26
    If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
    – my interpretation: “if you rationalize doing something, you invalidate the reasons you used to rationalize doing it in the first place.”
    John 3:17
    For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
    – my interpretation: Jesus was the one real person that came into this earth with the justifiable right to condemn every sinner he saw. What did he do? He showed a boat load of mercy and actually chose to hang out with the dregs of society a lot of the time. He didn’t shun sinners. He didn’t pass judgment. He showed them love and mercy. If he is the only one that had an actual right to judge but chose not to, maybe we should really rethink concerning ourselves over much with what other people do or how they do it. It’s not our place to judge. It was his place to judge and he didn’t. That speaks volumes. People tend to respond better to compassion rather than judgment. People deserve mercy because they are all God’s creation, and mercy speaks far louder than any rebuke.

    So apparently the Bible has an awful lot to say about judgment. From what I can see, it mostly tells us how it’s something we shouldn’t do. If we’re running around all the time pointing out all the ways that others are doing it wrong, we’re at the same time doing something wrong. It is my understanding that the Bible tells us explicitly and repeatedly not to judge, it’s not our place. The way I see it is when we choose to judge, we are overstepping our rights and offensively (at least to me) infringing on God’s rights.

    As far as why you come across as “woman hating,” I am not sure if hate is the right word. I guess it’s more that you seem to feel that women are less valued, less able to think for themselves, their well being is second to man’s, and their jobs less important. It is very hard for me to define, but I will try. Women are equally capable of thinking for themselves. What matters is what is between you and God. No other relationship is more important and no one can tall you what God wants better than God himself. He gave women equal intelligence so that they can make decisions for themselves based on what God wants for them. You seem to think that women are somehow incapable of managing their behavior or comprehending what God wants for them. That is such a slap in the face to see. I can’t think of any reason that someone would devalue women so much unless they had a strong dislike or a sense of shame for being a woman.

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