September 21, 2020

Twenty Kinds of People Who Lurk, Read and Comment at IM

We have a lot of good people here at IM, and I count many of you as dear and wonderful friends. But I got to making this darned list….Who actually hangs out here, reads this blog every day and comments on the posts?

1. People who strive to understand what I’m doing and take something good from it.

2. People who respect the diversity of opinions here and protect that by their respectful participation.

3. People wanting to learn more about evangelicals or other Christians.

4. People monitoring me for employers, friends and the “Chat Channel.”

5. Calvinists who are still mad at me for something I said in 2005.

6. People who appreciate common ground, but also want me to portray their tradition accurately.

7. People who genuinely disagree, but are nice about it.

8. People who want the opportunity heckle or insult me.

9. People who disagree with every word I write, have sworn me off, and still can’t stop reading.

10. People who seriously think I’m on my way to becoming a ________________, and they want to help me get there.

11. People who seriously think I’m on my way to becoming a _________________, and they want to stop me.

12. People who believe they are psychiatrists. My psychiatrists.

13. People who want to rail at me over the rosary ad, the Lutheran ad and the Catholic books ad.

14. People who know I’m right and can’t stand it.

15. People who are sure I’m angry all the time, and read every word as if I’m yelling and throwing a chair.

16. People who trust me.

17. People who want to see what I’m going to do next.

18. People who want to see if I mention their blog.

19. People…..people who love people…..are the luckiest people in the world….

20. Surfnetter…..who fits no known category.

Comments

  1. well, I don’t think I count as a regular commenter, because what can I possibly say about American evangelicalism, or Baptists in particular? But I’m definitely a #1, 2 and 3 and also another category: Christians from other countries or traditions who want to better understand that strange creature called American evangelicalism, (which influences us all) and find you a trustworthy guide to both its strengths and weaknesses

  2. Put me down for one spot each in categories 1,2,3, hopefully 7, definitely 17, and maybe in the closet on number 18 but I just came out if that is the case. Actually, in the flesh I am in category 18 and in the Spirit I have gotten beyond such things. Oh what a wretched man am I. (kidding of course about all but the wretchedness and maybe the other stuff too). Ah heck, if I say I am in category 18 will it get a mention? Oh yeah, and category 19 too if I only believed in luck.

  3. I’m a regular reader and semi-regular commenter. I’m drawn to your blog because of your fascinating ways of viewing people who live on the other side of the spiritual railroad tracks.

  4. Okay, now that Jeff M has admitted to #18, I’ll take it one step further and admit that there’s a little closet desire in me to make the blogroll. But that applies to any blog. 😉

    “15. People who are sure I’m angry all the time, and read every word as if I’m yelling and throwing a chair.”

    The Bobby Knight of Christian blogging?

  5. I notice a few more categories… but if I’m too blunt, I expect you’ll moderate this post into something nicer.

    21. People who want to win converts to their denominations, and figure you’d be a nice feather in their cap. (Sorry: jewel in their crown. Gotta keep it in Christianese.)

    22. People who are hoping the profound statements they make here will get some of your readers to visit their blogs.

    23. Know-it-alls who condescendingly say, “Yes, Michael, very good, but then there’s also this…” and then proceed to post a 5,000-word dissertation. Then they won’t stop adding comments ’cause they consider themselves an authority on that particular subject. (I plead a bit guilty to this one.)

    24. People who can’t read a blog entry anywhere without posting something in response to it.

    25. People like me who have too many opinions and too much free time.

    I’m sure other readers can pitch a few more categories, as well as identify their own.

  6. Boethius says

    I like #25 posted by K. W. Leslie.

    Also, I would add:

    People with too much free time, who have newly discovered blogs, and are currently making a list of their favorites.

    With the continued searching of the blogosphere the favorite list keeps changing. After all, even the amount of “free time” has a limit.

  7. I think all you needed were two categories.

    1. People who interact with you in a benevolent way, though their motivations and intentions vary.

    2. People who interact with you in a malicious, selfish way, though their motivations and intentions vary.

  8. What did you say in 2005? 🙂

  9. I would never rail at you for featuring the Treasury of Daily Prayer.

    : )

    Michael, several points, or rather, reminders:

    1. As you know when you put yourself “out there” and have the integrity and courage to use your real name on your blog site, you will be criticized.

    2. It is best not to complain, or explain, but take the flak and if there is something to be learned from a critic, no matter how harshly stated, learn from it, and move on.

    3. Don’t waste bandwidth on this kind of “who reads my blog.” It [Mod edit] gives the turkeys some satisfaction that they have “gotten” to you. There is no better way to deal with a mindless critic than to ignore them, entirely and completely. Hard to do, but very effective. Don’t feed trolls.

    And finally, I read this quote from Teddy Roosevelt, in one of his speeches a long while back as I began to get myself into situations where I became more widely known around our church body, and have never been able to get it out of my head.

    Here’s the best attitude to take over against those sad, sad little people who spend their time on this planet doing nothing but criticizing others, finding fault, picking at nits and otherwise apparently only finding happiness by tearing others down.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

  10. Paul:

    Hmmm. Narcissistic? A blogger? Surely not.

    Whining? I disagree there, because the critics are just part of the team.

    A post like this is what I write instead of long preachy sermons about blog behavior, standard fare at many pious blogs. It’s a gently humorous way to say “We’re all different. It’s a bit of a zoo, and btw….some of you are jerks and we all know it.”

    But I can do it without being a puritan. So it may sound a bit self-serving, but I am the main character in the story line of this blog, and that’s part of why I have the numbers I have. This isn’t Challies.com, and that’s the way I want it.

    peace

    ms

  11. On a gray day in the Blue Ridge mountains, some people need a cup of coffee and a wry comment. Like #20. Now I am in a better mood to pray over the message. thanks!

  12. Did the IM just quote Rush Limbaugh in that list?

  13. You left out “people who find me interesting”.

  14. I’m a #1, and when I agree or disagree I always appreciate the IMonk!

  15. GranpaJohn says

    #19 songs, always with the songs…
    Must be the musician He has placed in thee.

    He’s still working on me, to make me …
    ———–
    I appreciate what the Potter has done with your clay

  16. As a general proposition, most Christian blogs are a very bad idea for a lot of good reasons. The motivation for writing is almost never for the edification of the brethren, the proclamation of the gospel, all done for the glory of God. There’s always the subtle undercurrent of ME.

    Despite the undercurrent that sometime flows under this blog, M is willing to write about hard things in an inviting way. And if he wasn’t a good writer, he’d have no readership. As it is, he attracts enough of a diverse group of people to make it interesting. While M runs the show, I wouldn’t be here without the thoughtful supporting cast.

    Bottomline, this is a useful place. It’s not an echo chamber of people reinforcing the one true theology and damning anyone who disagrees. I may have the one true theology but I’ve learned some things here that have really helped me think about God and his creation in better ways. For that I’m thankful.

  17. Wow — I’m finally famous!

    I don’t know how you mean that, but I’m taking it as a compliment. (You knew I would, didn’t you.) 🙂

    Actually I would fit into #15, but I can never picture you throwing a furniture.

  18. Your honor, I plead guilty on the following charges:

    1. People who strive to understand what I’m doing and take something good from it.

    2. People who respect the diversity of opinions here and protect that by their respectful participation.

    3. People wanting to learn more about evangelicals or other Christians.

    10. People who seriously think I’m on my way to becoming a ________________, and they want to help me get there.

    16. People who trust me.

    17. People who want to see what I’m going to do next.

    19. People…..people who love people…..are the luckiest people in the world….

    But mostly, I come here because I never knew this was out there. Wait, that doesn’t quite cover it.

    See, I’m a sandbox convert. The Christians I knew early on in my life were something special (that word doesn’t do them justice). I assumed all/most/much of Christendom was like them.

    And then I grew up.

    And then I grew jaded.

    I walked away from the church (but never Christ) for ~18 years.

    And then I grew up some more, and realized the church is made up of people, and I’d better accept that fact. Then my husband, children and I found a church, still…unfortunately…made up of people, and not ones as special as my first church, but real and sometimes even good. But I seek solace –fellowship with others who’ve noticed how often the emperor goes streaking through town — fellowship with those who see those stains and tatters on the bride’s gown, but who also recognize our own muddy footprints on her once and future glorious train, our own greasy fingerprints on her veil.

  19. Oh dear, I must now brace myself for the “or else.”

    I meant to add a funny in there. I really did, but now I’ve got nothing.

    I love #20. Surfnetter, I hope you love it too.

  20. Cindy — I just wish he would tell us who that honey-voiced sweet-spirited Southern gentleman is who he pays to read the copy on his podcasts. The real Imonk has to sound more like Rush Limbaugh.

  21. I do love it Cindy.

    I love being included for not fitting in.

    aka — “He’s in a category all his own.” 🙂

  22. While I was being silly last night, I forgot about the serious side of number 18. I am really thankful for all of the bloggers, that I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise, that you have mentioned and brought to our attention. There are quite a few that I still read on some sort of regular basis. You catch a lot of stories that I don’t have the time or scope to find otherwise and I do appreciate it.
    Oh, and K.W., thanks for your additions. I have been guilty of 22 on any number of occasions as well.

  23. 21. People who have too much time on their hands.

    22. People who like to read the way a comment thread with over 200 comments, can see-saw from topic to topic and have some pretty good one-liners in it.

    23. People who simply find the conversations interesting even if they haven’t come to a firm conviction on every subject.

  24. On #18 —

    I love this blog because you take wisdom from such diverse sources.

    But for a conservative Southern evangelical to be quoting Barbara Streisand is above and beyond. 🙂

  25. oops…didn’t see that someone had already come up with 21-25. Renumber mine as 26, 27, and 28.

  26. That Other Jean says

    Hmmmm…I’d fall into categories 1, 2, 3, 7, occasionally 9, now and again 14, generally 16, definitely 17, and I’m working on 19. Thanks for letting me have an occasional voice in the chorus.

  27. Well, I’m a lurker who mostly likes what you have to say! And doesn’t have the energy or desire to argue if I don’t. 🙂

  28. I will admit to:

    1. People who strive to understand what I’m doing and take something good from it.

    2. People who respect the diversity of opinions here and protect that by their respectful participation.

    6. People who appreciate common ground, but also want me to portray their tradition accurately.

    10. People who seriously think I’m on my way to becoming a ________________, and they want to help me get there.

    11. People who seriously think I’m on my way to becoming a _________________, and they want to stop me.

    17. People who want to see what I’m going to do next.

    And the fill-in the blank for #10 and #11 is Roman Catholic or Orthodox (Greek, Russian, Antiochian, etc.) – take your pick.

  29. More in depth analysis on #18:

    I picture your psyche thus in this regardw, im —

    “Why risk destroying my own property when with one click of the mouse I can completely shatter the offender’s hopes and dreams.” (Moderator is such a lovely title. So seemingly “moderate” but it really signifies “Lord and King of the Blogosphere!”) 🙂

  30. And I guess I also fit into #10, but just as written, given #20 🙂

  31. Guilty as charged (#1 and #2), but I come here everyday, seldom post, and always come away with something to ponder about.

    C. Hays

  32. Patrick Lynch says

    This list should also include, “Dozens of delicate lurkers who are lying in wait for the right / Appointed time to share their End Times Prophecies and Special Revelations with the IM audience.” Gotta love those internet mystics – say hello!

  33. The Evangelical Wilderness can be a confounding place but IM helps me make some sense of it .

    IM, and its contributors often provide me with
    a unique form of encouragement, new perspectives, and challenging views in ways that my church and my peers cannot. It sort of fills a void that has frustrated me these last couple of years.

    Thanks for the ministry !

  34. I think I’m a 3, 6, 7 (at least, I hope I’m nice about it when I disagree!) and 17. I’d also agree with Lynne about being from another country and tradition who wants to undestand American evangelicalism.

    As for Surfnetter, God bless and keep him!, maybe he’s one of the “spiritual, but not religious”? Though he is A Typical Catholic more often than not(and yes, blithely ignoring what Them Over There In Rome say is Typical Catholic of long-standing tradition, not necessarily left-wing or liberal). Maybe he’s best classified as Gallican rather than Ultramontane? 😉

  35. I think some would say they read your blog for the same reason many say that they read in general– to know that they are not alone.

    And for that, I thank you.

  36. Regarding #13, help me out here, my fellow Catholics: is annoying people with the rosary one of the spiritual or corporal works of mercy? 🙂

  37. I feel like I’ve been left out.

    I’ve been reading your blog since not very long, but I would fall under the category of “People who are also beleived by others to be on the way to becoming a ________________, and find it amazing that others might think alike.” Call it a subcategory of #1, if you like… 🙂 I basically grew a little weary of evangelicalism, and almost left my church, etc., but found something extremely valuable in the “universal” Kingom. Then fell in love with the Church again. The one with the big C.

    I enjoy your blog a lot, and keep the good stuff coming! 🙂

  38. (oh, so what Dave138 said.)

  39. IMONK,

    I check you out a lot. I think one of the main reasons I read your posts is because I think you are a stimulating writer.

    I don’t always agree, but I think I tend to like being stimulated.

    I guess it is kind of like this–you are a talented writer and so I appreciate your talent.

    I also think you are headed more and more in a direction in your thinking that I would probably be sympathetic to.

    God Bless,

    Benji

  40. 24, for sure, and a few others.

    Is there some satanic sense to all this? This could actually be the IMonk Enneagram: if you add up the square of your top five numbers, divide by the year you were born minus the longitude you live in you will arrive at the number of the bible verse in the Book of Revelation that is the answer to the secret of the universe? Maybe I’m reading too much into this.

  41. Did I miss it? I didn’t see the lonely divorcee from Great Falls Montana that has a fatal attraction for you. She’s in the red Buick that followed you to Krogers on Saturday morning . . . you know, the stalker. She has your photos and cut-outs of every word that you’ve every written taped up all over her double-wide.

    Well, I guess I just created another one . . . the wise guy who tries to be funny but never is. :>(

  42. Martha — More stuff I have to Google.

    Maybe that’s it — I’m a Google-Catholic 🙂

  43. Looked ’em up, Martha.

    Given that the Papacy is no longer a political entity anywhere but within the confines of the Vatican, the clergy and within the bounds of Church property, the terms “Gallican” and ‘Ultramontane” are archaic and moot.

    Neither the Pope and the Magisterium nor God and all His angels have any authority over my will — the former never had it and the latter permanently relinquished it when He made it. And being that belief is the very beginning willful act of any decision I make about how I will behave, then even God must convince me rather than order what I choose to believe.

    Do you really think that a philosopher like the one formerly known as Caridinal Ratzinger would argue with that …?

    He didn’t get a category all his own, did he? 🙂

  44. Martha,

    I think that annoying people with the rosary counts as a double, both spiritual and corporal.

    I think that I would fall under categories 1, 2, 3, 16,and 17.

    Michael, I do think that you forgot one. Making a safe place for us on the outskirts of Christianity to be, and make friends.

  45. Fr. Ernesto curls up into a little fetal ball because he is so tired of self-analyzing–Romans, chapter 7. OK, tell the truth, iMonk, is this one of those Lenten-check-yourself-out posts? I confess; I fail; I fall short of the glory of God; I am a sinner.

  46. imonk,

    or….people who think you’re a lifeline to sanity in the midst of the evangelical circus!

    I’m a canadian baptist http://www.cbwc.ca who thinks you ought to be our executive minister (that’s the pope of the cbwc). if you were, we might actually be able to keep and inspire the under 40’s in our denomination.

    Mercy!

  47. Hey, Michael, I hope I am #1, #2, and #3. I enjoy your writing and your topics and I enjoy the give and take within the comments too. And I like what Terri wrote too, “People who simply find the conversations interesting even if they haven’t come to a firm conviction on every subject.”

  48. Hey — Imonk — if elected Pope what name would you choose …?

    Maybe a “suggestions from the gallery” topic of another thread. 🙂

  49. Dude I

  50. Pope Dude …?

    Isn’t that a bit redundant …?