Also Sprach Qohelet

Qohelet--A redneck philosopher? A mad man with a Muse? An urban legend? Just one more griper with a keyboard and an ISP? Read on and find out. Qohelet opines on politics, religion, culture, and even sports. Qohelet is a modern renaissance man.


A plethora of punditry, a smorgasboard of smack.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Wrath of Team Pyro--Setting the Record Straight

Dan Phillips and Frank Turk over at Pyromaniacs have tagged me as an official trouble-maker and I have incurred their wrath and reprimand. I contend that it's a misunderstanding on their part. Nevertheless, they have taken it upon themselves to censure me by partially censoring me. Because Dan made the following comments about two of my comments--after deleting them--and because I want to set the record straight, I am going to post the contents of one of those deleted posts here, and then briefly explain the other one since I had not as yet saved it when he deleted it.

First, here is Dan's comment directed toward me after deleting my two posts:

Qohelet -- repeating the same snide insinuations and sneering snipes, however eloquently and at length, does not meet my definition of "knock it off." So it, and related posts, are gone.

Stay, go, whatever. You're free. Just like the service Pyro provides. If you won't apologize for the behavior I singled out (which had nothing to do with diverting to the propriety of Christmas celebrations), don't.

Just stop repeating it. I mean it.

Sadly, I had only saved one of those two deleted comments in my own records, but I will gladly post it here for you to judge whether or not what I had written was deserving of the railing accusations Dan made, and continues to make, against me. Here is the deleted comment, word for word:

Dearest Dan and Turk,

You guys get your dander up way too fast. Honestly and truly. I don't know any other way to put it.

Dan, I liked your post enough to link it in case any gospel-needy people wandered by my obscure corner of blogdom in search of the true meaning of Christmas. I guess trolls do that on a regular basis, don't they?

As for apologies, what exactly have I done that was offensive? Perhaps my mistake was not recognizing just how tightly wound you guys are. I have read this blog for a little while longer than you might think. When I started my own blog, this was the first blog I linked under the heading of religious blogs. I did so because I consider it relevant, substantive, and usually a lot of fun. My first comment was not meant with ill will at all, it was meant to embody what I perceive is often the spirit of the blog--one of good-natured joviality mixed with serious Bible teaching and discussion of issues relevant to evangelicalism.

I thought Frank initially took my comment that way (in a jovial way)and because he referenced me personally in his next post I responded again. At that time I mentioned more than once that I appreciated the exhortation, then attempted to communicate once again in what I (mistakenly?) perceived to be the spirit of the place--jovial. Phil chimed in about then and made some friendly and appreciative remarks.

I understand that you guys are not responsible for the commenters here, so I'm not holding you responsible for farmboy, who seems like a nice enough guy, but just doesn't get it yet that I was not, am not, and have not attacked this blog. If I had wanted to, I could have taken him and his analysis apart. Instead, I thought it would be more fun just to toy with him and not take him seriously at all. Should I apologize for that?

Then, in Phil's light-hearted holiday post he again mentioned me--in a jovial way--and his humor was again appreciated. Since I was again mentioned on the front page, I don't think anyone should construe my participation in the comments of that post to be some attempt to take over the comment thread and make it about me or my issues.

As for this particular post from Dan, I thought it was very good. That's why I linked it in my own blog. Do I have to preface any questions about any assertions in any given post by first saying how wonderful the guy is who posted it? Do you guys really need to be stroked that much?

Dan made particular assertions at the end of his blogpost, assertions which I quoted. Those assertions were intended to make the case for the celebration of Christmas. Am I right or wrong?

I celebrate Christmas. I celebrated it this year and every year. I celebrate it for many of the same reasons Dan so elequently pointed out in his post. It also happens to be the case, however, that I know something of the history of the Christmas debate and how our Puritan ancestors did not celebrate it. I also know their arguments. My only motive in posing one of those arguments to you, Dan, was to see how someone who has obviously thought about this issue more than me would respond to that argument.

It was not to attack you.
It was not to embarass you.
It was not to take over the comments thread for my own agenda.

I contend that the question was on-target, on-subject, and relevant to an assertion you made in the post. I'm not contending with you, Dan. I agree with you. I just want to know how to answer--how you would answer--those who would put forth the objection I articulated.

By the way, I wasn't even the first one on this thread to put forward that question. dyslexic fundamentalist was dismissed out of hand as well. But, again, I assert that the questions were honestly asked in response to the assertions made at the end of the post.

If all you want are high-fives, let me know. If you are honestly seeking to minister, however, then why not do that? If I am unworthy of your ministry and unwelcome, just let me know and I'll chart my course for more friendly waters.

The second deleted comment was directed mostly toward someone going under the name "farmboy", with whom I was mostly trying to offer an apology and hoping for some sort of truce or reconciliation. In that comment I pointed out that my sense of humor might be warped and quoted a Proverb in my own defense. As I did so, I made the remark that I was trying to beat Dan to the punch at quoting Proverbs. I said that because in an earlier comment in that same thread Dan had made the following snide remarks directed at me:

"And you've been crying (or, strictly, raging and laughing [Proverbs 29:9]) about it ever since?"

For the record, Proverbs 29:9 reads:
If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
In that comment, Dan directly called me a fool (and himself a "wise man," did you catch that?). I did not respond in kind. The only thing I said to farmboy after my citation of Proverbs--the Proverb that says "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine"--was that I did it to beat Dan to the Proverbs punch, and that if Dan quoted Ecclesiastes I would then have to call him "Qohelet." For those of you who don't get that comment, the verse I had in mind in Ecclesiastes was this one:
Eccles. 7:6 (KJV)
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
The reason I made the remark about having to call Dan "Qohelet" if he quoted Ecclesiastes is because "Qohelet" is the Hebrew title for the author of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes--translated "the Preacher" in the KJV. I suspect Dan knew that.

After I posted those two comments, Dan came along and deleted them both, then said:
"Qohelet -- repeating the same snide insinuations and sneering snipes, however eloquently and at length, does not meet my definition of "knock it off." So it, and related posts, are gone.

Stay, go, whatever. You're free. Just like the service Pyro provides. If you won't apologize for the behavior I singled out (which had nothing to do with diverting to the propriety of Christmas celebrations), don't.

Just stop repeating it. I mean it."
Now, do you see anything in my deleted posts deserving of the libelous statements made by Dan? What am I missing? I posted nothing deserving of being characterized as "snide insinuations and sneering snipes." Yet, that assessment remains on the board over at Teampyro while my actual comments are gone. Meanwhile, he's the one who called me a fool and he's the one making direct, explicit negative remarks toward me. Anyone who happens along now will assume that his remarks about the deleted posts are true and never even have the chance to examine the evidence. That's why I've tried my best to replace the deleted comments here--to set the record straight.

I made no intentionally snide comments or sneering snipes at Teampyro, Dan, or Frank. They have misjudged me and libeled me. The thing that saddens me most, I think, is the thought that I may not be the first they have done this to, that they have misjudged and mishandled others to whom they might have had effective ministry. I'll be fine. I'm a big boy. I'll find friendlier waters and go on. But it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Oh well, I think I'll go read a book and come back tomorrow before re-doing the links in my sidebar. I'll probably even delete this post in a day or so and wash my hands of the whole thing.

Matthew 5:21-24 (ESV)
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' [22] But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire. [23] So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, [24] leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.


Blogger candyinsierras said...

Hi there. I think where you made a misstep in the whole pyro thing is when you became condescending in your cleverness. Pyro attracts witty people. You got noticed and it seemed that you tried to turn up the cleverness factor at that point. We all do it from time to time, including the Pyro guys. You might want to consider accepting correction, lick your wounded pride, make sure that you repent to farmboy especially (in sincerity, without sarcasm)and continue to visit Pyro. If you can humbly accept and make amends there is a possibility you might not have used up your 15 minutes of fame.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Qohelet said...

Hmm. Perhaps you're right on my turning it up too much and too fast. I will accept that, resolve to do better, and move on.

I thought I did offer a legitimate apology to farmboy at least twice, but both were wiped away quickly. But I maintain my offense toward was minimal at worst.

As for Pyro, I think I'm done with it. Thanks but no thanks. I don't need that kind of fame. There are plenty of blogs out there with better people skills. I'll find one.

I usually learn my lessons pretty well.

BTW - do you think they should be willing to accept any correction or show any contrition for their part? Just wondering. You don't have to answer.

1:40 PM  
Blogger candyinsierras said...

I don't really have an answer for you except to say that you are responsible for you and they are responsible for themselves as well. I have had to deal with correction myself, and even though I have been hurt by others at times, I have had to ultimately search my own heart and see how I contributed to whatever issues were out there.

God bless and take care.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Paul Doutell said...

Q, just don't impute the negative perceptions to Phil. From what I've seen in his writings, I think Phil has a great way of taking his theology seriously without taking himself too seriously. He can take smack as well as give it.

I think you got a bum rap.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Qohelet said...

Thanks, Paul, and Candy, for your kindness.

Yes, I think you're right. I think Phil actually enjoys a few friendly jabs because he likes to give them back--and they are friendly.

Out of respect for my mother, I won't say anything else about the other two.

6:34 AM  
Blogger The D.O.G. House said...

Personally, I agree with you that Dan has a little problem when it comes to those of us who comment in disagreement with a post of his. Not always, but a little too often for my taste.

I believe you asked him if he needed your high five (attaboy?!)or not? I thought that was a great comment, and very appropriate.

"Reformers" are livid with Arminians who argue texts "out of context", and then they take a post like this one, and because of their presuppositions they do the same. Then they also "do the same", when they (1) become defensive, & (2) will not deal with the text that is presented.

2:11 AM  
Blogger candyinsierras said...

I check in now and then to see how you are doing. Hope all is ok since you havent posted anything.

4:43 PM  

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