Saturday, April 14, 2012

Reader comments

I invite readers to comment, engage me in dialogue, and suggest topics for future posts.

On a recent day, I received an email thanking me for one of my posts (which the reader had kindly shared with two colleagues at work) and an anonymous letter, addressed in handwritten, block print, which contained a scrap of paper with two scripture references. I appreciated the email.

From the references, I inferred that the letter’s sender thought I was ignorant of scripture and that the Bible unambiguously teaches that homosexual behavior is wrong. If the letter’s sender reads Ethical Musings, let me assure that person I have read the Bible in its entirety many times and continue to regularly read the Bible. Furthermore, I do not think that scripture is at all unambiguous about homosexuality. This feeble attempt at proof texting added conviction to my belief that when people read the Bible, they should do so through the lens of the historical-critical method (cf. Ethical Musings: When we encourage Bible reading).

The anonymous letter also reminded me of my dialogue, via comments on various posts, with a reader who preferred to remain anonymous (cf. Ethical Musings: Reversing the numerical decline of the Episcopal Church comments). As a longtime priest, I’m sensitive to people who wish to speak anonymously about issues of great personal importance. However, I’m unaccustomed to people who use anonymity as an opportunity to express ad hominem attacks or who lack the courage of their convictions. Opposing full civil rights for gays and the full inclusion of gays in the life of the Church is nothing new. A letter without a name suggests that the sender wishes to convey a sense of threat or suffers from a lack of moral courage. In either case, I feel sorry for the person.

With the exception of comments that want to advertise something or another blog, vituperative comments, comments that are personally insulting or use inappropriate language, I publish all comments received. I do not hesitate to publish views with which I disagree. Ideas should stand or fall on their merits, not on my personal biases (cf. Ethical Musings: Further thoughts on civility and Community demands civility).

In due season, I write a post on most of the topics proposed by readers, always reserving the prerogative of writing about what is of interest to me at the time. I often write posts a week or two in advance, which allows me to take advantage of windows of opportunity in my schedule, topics that incite my interest, and to accommodate my travel schedule.

This letter is not the first anonymous letter that I have received, nor will it probably be the last. Anonymous letters do provide some measure of encouragement: at least what I am writing has sufficiently stimulated some reader to take action, even if it is a minimally constructive action.


Aaron said...

I would be interested in a post on meta-ethics; how we know what's right and wrong, and whether morality is objective or subjective, relative or universal.

George said...

Thanks. Good idea. I'll write one in the next month or so.