Groundrules for the Blog

The rules below have been a posted part of this blog for years. From time to time, I repost them so that readers might remember them. The rule of kindness might need some expansion. Remarks that infer personal flaws are inappropriate. Likewise, sarcasm is not acceptable. Such writing is abrasive and makes for unpleasant reading. It never makes a conversation better. Comments that are submitted without conforming to the rules for the blog will be deleted.

This is a private site so that freedom of speech is not the rule. Comments are welcome but only if they are kind to others and show mercy. God, Scripture tells us, is kind “to the unthankful and the evil” (Luke 6:35). We are commanded to be like Him in these very things. The internet is full of judgment and unkindness (so is the world around us). If people have a need for that sort of thing, they do not lack opportunities – but they will not have the opportunity for it on this site.

I believe that we are able to say, with St. John Chrysostom, “Glory to God for All Things,” because God is good and His will for us is good. If something troubles you, there are kind ways to address it and merciful ways to treat any subject. Such comments, even if they are disagreements with postings, are welcome. I do reserve the right to remove comments that seem to cross bounds or give offense to God or the faith. I hope in my postings to be edifying and thought-provoking, in the best sense, and at least worth reading. If that is so, then this blog will be worth taking time to create and to read.

If these ground rules are observed (kindness and mercy), we will all have avoided some sin and temptation and that itself is a good thing.

I would add that I do not post assertions of heresy against Orthodox clergy. That is a formal charge, and there are ways and places to make such charges. But to publish such things on my blog is slanderous and a sin. I cannot do so. Additionally, I prefer not to have discussions regarding ecclesiastical politics.

May God bless you as you visit, and forgive me if I give offense at any point.

14 comments:

  1. Thank you Father. I deleted Facebook for all of the above reasons, as Internet Orthodoxy was not for me. Receiving your blog in my inbox is a blessing. Many thanks to you.

  2. Thank you so much for your blogs, Father. They are indeed a blessing for your readers who are Orthodox, non-Orthodox, and almost Orthodox like myself!

  3. Amen. And thank you for making that very clear. I hope it is listened to. It is that very reason which, unfortunately, I usually skip reading the comments. It is like attending a powerful litergy and then being plunged immediately into the world. Your policy is appropriate and appreciated.

  4. Only Love as Christ would command belongs in our conversation. I will pray for those whose intentions are otherwise. Glory be to Jesus Christ

  5. Thank you.

    I have read your posts and comments off and on for many years. You have continually dealt graciously, humbly and honestly with those who comment, even those who critique or disagree with you, and have acknowledged your own weakness or errors.

    I add this for the sake of any who would question your motives for having such a policy.

  6. Thank you, Father Freeman. I am still new here, but I commend your ability to allow much freedom in comments, since it is evident that all posters are dear to your heart. And because of this, you suffer when we don’t measure up. That’s a wonderful reflection of God’s fatherly love, but we shouldn’t push you too far!

    “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. For he knows our mold; he remembers that we are but dust. ”

    That’s from the Psalms and certainly points to the value of the Old Testament in our faith. Which has been an important subject of conversations recently, and there are volumes more to be said. I sometimes wonder why Christ came when he did, and perhaps part of the answer is that the fatherhood of God, which is the foundation of many earthly things, had been established enough in holy Scripture by then for him to lean on that understanding as he spent his short earthborn life among us. So, however we interpret it, that is the basis of importance the Old Testament has for me.

    I wish you a long life and fruitful, Father Freeman!

  7. Father Stephen, thank you for teaching us, me, through your blog /ground rules how to communicate even difficult or controversial matters in a Christ-like, loving manner. There are so few opportunities to learn or practice this is our world today.

    A Grateful student…

  8. Fr. Stephen, It is good to re-state this now and then. I have been a long-time fan of your blog, and your book.
    My husband Michael is a frequent contributor, and we both enjoy your blog daily. I comment now and then, but I enjoy everyone else’s comments a great deal too. Thank you all.

  9. Father Stephen,
    I echo juliania’s endearing words. You do reflect God’s fatherly love and suffer when we don’t measure up.
    Forgive me.
    I now understand, where I did not before, why some people read past the comments. Some I noticed stopped commenting altogether.
    When I react in anger it is, as you say, unpleasant and opposes the purpose of the blog…to give Glory to God for all Things.
    Thank you Father for posting these rules once again and for your enduring kindness and generosity.

  10. Father Stephen,
    Thank you for having and following such ground rules. It’s refreshing to have a blog like this to read. You open my eyes to so much I’m not aware of, and challenge me in an Orthodox and civil manner. I look forward to more posts as I also read through your archives.

    Tabitha

  11. Hey Tabitha!
    I hope I’m being too familiar in the public sphere, but are you my friend Tabitha from my parish?

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