Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm only going to say this once

For the first time in my blogging history, I've gotten some anonymous hate mail the past few weeks. According to blog stats, it's coming from one poster, or possibly two related posters. Being that they were anonymous, Larry did not want me to let them go through and post them. He feels that anonymous posts are extremely cowardly and like verbal drive by shootings, not to be dignified with the privilege of being posted or answered. However, I've never been afraid to stand up for what I believe, to anyone. I consider myself a pretty resilient woman. So I let the comments go through and stood up in an appropriate manner to my anonymous accusers.

I'm sorry now that I did that. My husband was right.  The hateful comments have gotten out of hand.  Someone (or possibly a few of you) has their panties in a bunch (pardon the pun) that I've written openly about sexuality and what the Bible says about it.  I have comment moderation and I will not be allowing any hateful comments that have been submitted even if you start out by complimenting me as some of you have done, and then launching into your hatespeak.   The fact that you people who are doing this call yourselves Christians is an oxymoron.

I received another nasty comment this morning (anonymous of course) that claimed that this blog has a negative connotation to it.  The poster also noted that "sometimes we all can write things without really thinking".

Well, I'm just going to say this once and then be done with it. There's nothing I write on here without really thinking. I don't ever press "publish" unless I really want to.  

What you may consider inappropriate is not necessarily what others feel is inappropriate. There are MILLIONS OF BLOGS out there. There are blogs that I call "vanilla blogs" where you are never going to find anything controversial or very revealing. You can go there and find nothing but scripture verses, devotionals, or somebody telling you how great their life is all the time. That's fine for those people if that is their goal. But, that's never been my goal here. While I do desire to be an encouragement, realize that this blog is not a devotional. I long to be extremely real. And that's what I'm going to be here, even if it makes some of you uncomfortable. Reality doesn't always sit well with folks.  The great thing is, there's this great thing about your computer and it's that you can always click the "x" in the right hand corner of the box you're looking at and something else can take it's place.

The truth is, I don't always have incredible days. The truth is, some days I don't want to get out of bed. The truth is, I have a wonderful life, but it sure can be a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. I'm honest about those ups and downs here, right down to what cereal I ate this morning to the fact that I had to pick up a ministry in the church for a time that has me feeling totally overwhelmed. Yes, I also talk about everyday real life subjects such as sex, church conflict, and more. If that is difficult for any reader to handle, I am more than happy to have them go to another blog and do their reading there. But don't expect the tenor of this blog to change to suit your needs because the fact is, I don't write it to suit any one individual's needs, I just write it.

In the choir room at our church, we have motivational slogans placed around the room and one of them says this: "Be positive here or be negative somewhere else." And that's how I feel about those who read this blog. If you like what's here on the menu, great. If not, go do your reading elsewhere. Really, it won't offend me.  If you don't like me, just find someone else you do like.  I'll be fine folks, promise.  :)   First, I've always written this blog primarily because I love to write and I was "blogging" before blogging on line even existed. I write first for my own catharsis and enjoyment before anything else. Second, I write for those who want to take me as I am - and hear what I have to say unabridged. If you don't like it, I'm not bent on changing your mind. Just don't try to change me. If God wants to change me, He will. Leave it up to Him.

According to my blog stats, approximately 20,000 individuals checked out my blog last year, and the stats just keep climbing. That's not repeat people, I'm talking about individual readers. I was pretty blown away by the statistics myself. It's amazing to me that many people read this, and some everyday or more than once a day. Obviously out of that multitude of people, some kept reading, some did not. On average, hundreds read a day. Out of 20,000 people total checking it out in 2007, and a few hundred regularly reading daily, it's pretty amazing that I don't get an overwhelming amount of hate mail but when I do get it, it's pretty vicious.  

I'm big enough to handle it and would just post it and fire back with my name attached, but my husband can't stand to see me attacked like that and has asked me to remove anything like that from here.   For the record, he's really proud of me. The latest critic said, "what does your husband think about people seeing a photo of you in a bikini?" (On ONE post within the last three years, a photo of me was posted that actually went along with the day's was not just some gratuitous bikini photo.) I explained that first of all, I live in Florida. It's quite common, even for church people. Nobody here would blink an eye at it.   Evidently, my critic is really enamored with the bikini picture because they keep bringing it up MONTHS after the photo was ever posted. But second, my husband actually has the photo posted on his own blog. He's not just proud of me because I can play the piano, write, or preach.  He doesn't just tolerate me, he celebrates me.  He is not ashamed of me as you think.  He thinks I'm the hottest woman in the world and he's really glad I'm his. He's also proud of me for having the courage to teach about things like sex openly. In fact, we tag team teach on it quite often. We do marriage conferences not to mention we talk about it in our own church. 

  When I went to Africa, I had the distinction of being the first speaker who has ever come to the region I spoke at and preach a message that talked about sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence, sex within marriage, and more. The national women's director and the general superintendent told me that this was a first for the nation of Kenya. They thanked me profusely for following God's instruction to me to bravely "open this can of worms" and discuss with these women the issue of their sexuality and what God says about it. My husband is very proud of me for all this, and more. When I go back to Kenya, he's going back with me! They have invited us to do a 4-day marriage conference!!! Obviously there are a lot of people who want to hear what we have to say even if some don't. And that's fine. Whatever floats your boat. If anything bothers or hurts Larry it would be that anyone would criticize his wife, especially someone who hides behind the cloak of anonymity to do it. It's easy to hide behind something and throw a stone at somebody. At least I have the courage to own my words in front of at least 20,000 people...

As far as the church world goes,  my latest critic said they wouldn't want to read about these issues from their pastor, or pastor's wife. Well, it's like this -- that's why there are millions of churches and no doubt, thousands in your area where you live. You have a choice as to who your pastor or pastor's wife is. Clearly everybody would not be comfortable having me as their pastor or pastor's wife and that's why God put a zillion churches on God's green earth. I tell our people at Northside Church - I've been to counseling before, my life has been a mess, I haven't lived a perfect live, Larry and I are not perfect people.   If you don't want to know that about your pastor, there are a whole bunch of churches in Tampa where you can go where the pastor will never admit to you that they've ever had any problems and you can live with your head in the sand all you want. 

Does anyone in my church ever get upset about something I've posted or said? Sure - and specifically about sex. I can think of four or five over twenty years time who have either gotten upset or even left the church over it. It was always worth the criticism. Considering that HUNDREDS of parishoners have THANKED Larry and I repeatedly for being so open and honest, and some have even attributed our honesty or our teaching to the HEALING OF THEIR MARRIAGES, then I don't think the loss of four of five is really that significant. Just as there are many blogs where people can go, so there are multiple churches, if they do not like what God tells us to preach and teach.

For those of you who want to try to leave these deragatory comments and send me the e-mails you are flooding my box with, you can save your time.  Your criticism shows me all the more why I need to keep doing this.  As someone once said, "To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing."  I am going to continue to write as I have always done, and for those who want to keep reading - great. Glad to have you here. For those who don't - God bless you as you find other blogs that speak to your heart everyday in the way you need specifically.   I honestly pray for God's best in your life.

I won't revisit this topic again - I have simply enabled comment moderation and will take advantage of it. If you write hateful or harrassing comments, they will simply be deleted and unposted.
To all my many faithful, happy readers...sorry for that brief interruption...and sorry that your comments are not posting immediately anymore.  Thanks for your understanding.  As I said, I'm only going to address it once, and now...

Welcome back to Intimate as usual. :-)


Missy Simpson said...

I absolutely love your blog. I read it faithfully. It inspires me, it makes me laugh and I have never had a problem with anything you've ever written. You are a girl who says what you mean and you mean what you say. I think it's great!
On another note, you blogged recently about sex. I cannot believe in this day and age what a touchy subject that is. Our Pastor at (please read his blog) had a series last year. It was entitled Pure Sex. There were a lot of people up in arms over it. But if these narrow minded individuals took a moment and actually went to a service and listened they would have seen that what is was talking about was a sex that is pure. I think it was one of his best series. In the midst of this my husband and I were watching CNN and they had a story about a church in Florida that had put up a billboard and it only stated It was a great way to get peoples attention. And boy did it. Enough to get the attention of the national news.
Anyway, I think you rock! You are fantastic. Some people have a magnectic personality but it takes a special person to have that through a blog and bring so many people in throughout one year reading it. That is amazing. The next time we are in Tampa I intend on visiting your church. I don't know when it will be but it is something I really want to do. The great thing I see about your church is you're devotion to husbands and wives and that is so important in this day and age. Keep on keeping it real. I enjoy your blog.
Missy Simpson

Kathi said...

One of the things that I LOVE about this blog is that it is so... human. Most people put pastors on a pedestal, and I think in some ways women pastors are held to a higher standard of alabaster perfection than male pastors!!

Your life has ups and downs and emotions and good days and bad days and you get tired and frustrated and happy and ecstatic, just like the rest of us. You aren't afraid to show it. If you say something negative, it's because gosh-golly-gee, there's some negative things in this world and sometimes they impact us.

I read your blog because it's excellent, and also because as a new pastor trying to walk in this calling, it's refreshing to see honesty and not an ivory tower.

Melissa said...

I agree with both of these previous messages! PD your blog is a blessing! As a fellow pastor's wife who works along side my husband I find your blog refreshing as well. It is nice to see a "real person" who just like everyone else has highs and lows. It is also refreshing to see someone who is madly inlove with her husband and isn't afraid to share it with the world! Marriages are constantly under attack and and I believe it is best to celebrate a working marriage than celebrate a divorcing one! Your honestly is a blast of fresh air! You are an annointed writer and speaker...listened to some ipods you have done...just wonderful! Keep blooging away! I enjoy knowing there are others out there that are not "plastic & perfect" pastors and pastor's wives! I sure am not! I am true to myself, my husband and to God only, your role model is one that others should take in consideration...honestly is the best policy..being human is even better! Thanks for being a great "human" role model!