Like run of the mill trolls, they denigrate our character and malign our motives. But in Church World, their demonization of people and selective truth-telling has cosmic – as well as earthly – consequences.
Attempting to set records straight with trolls is basically a waste of time.
Nevertheless, it’s not true I want to turn the PCUSA General Assembly into a year-round Wild Goose Festival. It’s not true that the other Co-Moderator of the 222nd General Assembly said that we Christians are just like the Orlando shooter. It’s not true that the Presbyterians prayed a Muslim prayer at General Assembly. (What is true: I find Wild Goose inspiring and fun. We Christians are often guilty of doing violence against LGBTQ people. And one of our interfaith guests at the General Assembly said something in his greetings about Allah which means “God” in Arabic. Note: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all Abrahamic religions. We all worship the one true God. Also, our Stated Clerk actually apologized for “anything that might have offended.)
A bigger issue is this: Why Do We Assume The Worst About Each Other?
Why are we quick to believe that someone on the other side of the theological fence is evil? Why do we spread half-truths about people? Why do we take words out of context in order to create a better story? Why do we presuppose that someone we don’t like or don’t know has said/thought/done something vile without knowing what we’re talking about.
Trolling is the cousin of gossiping, and we would serve God well to stop doing both. Random lie-spreading is just evil.
Before TDA and I decided to stand for co-moderators of the PCUSA General Assembly, we asked former moderators their best advice. These two suggestions were shared more than once:
- Go to the rest room every chance you get.
- Brace yourselves for evil.
Duly noted. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Regarding #1 – just ask if we’d like to visit the rest room before we speak/preach. And regarding #2 – If you hear something that sounds off (e.g. Jan eats babies, Denise worships the Sun God) please check into it. This goes for your neighbors and church friends – and church enemies – too. Thank you – for the sake of the gospel.
Image of trolls-riding-on-slugs statues on sale at Big Lots recently.