Vitriol on the web


A blogger from a right wing Anglican blog site has quoted a large percentage of what I posted in my "post-Easter hangover" entry. The purpose of this was a) to involve me, a non-Episcopalian, into the middle of his internecine attacks against liberal Episcopalianism, and b) to ridicule my beliefs. He did this behind my back; the only reason I found out about it was that the site meter showed a large number of visits today that were referrals from that web site.

I suppose some progressives would consider it a badge of honor to be subjected to this sort of attack from a web site like that, but engaging in flame wars with the attack dogs of the Religious Right is not the reason I blog here. To debate with such people would be a monumentally pointless waste of time. I learned from Fr Jake's blog that that particular web site is notorious for trolling the net for blog entries that don't meet with approval, and then attacking the blogger. I guess it was my turn. Naturally, this was all done behind my back. Of course, dialog with me was not the point; if it had been, he could have asked me a sincere question about why I don't attend the Episcopal church, rather than simply asserting with a know-it-all attitude in his own blog that the church "fits me like a glove" (as if he would know what fits me, a total stranger, like a glove) . The point was to use me as fodder for an internecine denominational conflict that I have nothing to do with--and maybe to engage in the fun of ridiculing someone he didn't agree with. Unfortunately, from the sheer volume of hits that I've received today, it appears that that blog has a very large following. (I should stress that not everyone who reads that blog is of the same mind. Some of the people who responded in the comments section to that blogger's posting showed disagreement to varying degrees with what he had done. This, however, only led him to ratchet up his personal attacks against me--once again, a person he has never met--characterizing me, among other things, as "lazy" and "self-centered".)

The subtlety of my own views, naturally, got completely bulldozed in the translation. I expressed views on Christianity that he abhors, and since liberal Episcopalians express views on Christianity that he abhors, this was an opportunity for him to lump all those he disagrees with into a single category that he could attack collectively. Obviously I am a perfect fit for liberal Episcopal church services, despite the fact that I have written elsewhere that, as much as I respect the Episcopal church, its services that are based on the Book of Common Prayer don't work for me personally, for a variety of reasons that I have spelled out. It is always easier to stereotype people so that you can tell them how they should then conform to that stereotype, and tell them to do what you think everyone who fits that stereotype should do.

This is one of several reasons why I prefer to keep my net presence relatively anonymous. It makes all the nastiness and personally directed vitriol out there a little easier to to deal with.


Caminante said...

I saddened but not surprised by what has happened. I hope that the behaviour of one insecure person does not deter you from continuing on your faith journey. Keep on walking the pilgrim's path.

Heather said...

Stumbling across your blog right now is unfortunate timing, since my visits would be lumped in with those looking to attack.

But I wanted to say that I've really been enjoying reading what you've written, in terms of your journey through Christianity. I'm also someone who doesn't believe that Jesus was God, yet still find a very compelling spiritual path through what I see in the New Testament. I look forward to more of your posts. :)

Mystical Seeker said...

Thank you, Heather. I just took a brief look at your blog and I liked what I saw. I look forward to reading it in more depth when I have more time.

Eileen said...


A badge of honor you could have done without, I'm sure.

Pointless exercise in what? If he wanted to debate you or correct you, why didn't he do it here, instead of running back to his cronies to poke fun.

Asshat, he is.

Ann said...

Sorry you have had an attack of the trolls. Your writings are a source of thoughtful reflection for me.

MadPriest said...

Perhaps it's because I'm English and brought up on a diet of programmes like "Till Death Us Do Part" in which bigots were lampooned mercilessly, but I find these people extremely funny and actually look forward to their rare visits to my blog. However, it is not good for me as every time I have contact with one of them I feel even more smug about my moral and intellectual superiority (and it's not as if I'm a well educated person).

Mystical Seeker said...

Unfortunately, a quick perusal of the website today shows that the blogger who engaged in this abusive behavior has decided to defend his actions by claiming that it isn't doing something behind someone else's back as long as there is a way to figure it out second hand (via search engines or other means). This is, of course, complete nonsense. Having to figure something out second hand instead of being told directly by the party in question--that's called doing it behind somebody's back, moronic protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. He chose to use me as a punching bag without telling me about it, instead of engaging me in a dialog or at least doing me the courtesy of giving me a heads up on what he intended to do.

To say that I am offended goes without saying, but I am sure that there is something positive to be gleaned from all of this, somehow, somewhere.

Jake said...

Sorry this happened, mystical.

If it doesn't kill you...

BTW, the folks on that site do not represent Christianity. Just a small group of fanatics that get their jollies trying to put others down. It's really a rather transparent and sad symptom of a real inferiority complex.

Takes all kinds...blow them off and step onward in your journey.


juicinator said...

Hey. From a lifelong Episcopalian who loves his prayer book, I still found your "Post-Easter Hangover" very entertaining and enlightening. I guess I would fall into the category of "progressive" on the issue of homosexuality, but "orthodox" on the doctrine of the resurrection. Actually, if you want a good idea of how I have recently come to view the Eucharist, watch the movie "Big Fish." The "tall tales" of old contained very little literal truth ... what was important was how the story came to life in the retelling, when the real Truth became apparent. In fact, the retelling of the story--the reLIVING of the story, becomes no less important than the actual event. If you're not OK with the literal truth of some church doctrines, you can find a Truth in them that is greater than literal. The Resurrection is simply too amazing a display of God's love for us to be explained away in literal terms. "For now we see in a mirror, dimly ..."

I went to seminary with one of the guys who runs the blog that attacked you. Believe me, Jake was right about him having an inferiority complex. Let the words of the trolls and attack dogs be as "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

You mention being cranky in your blog ... yet your sense of wonder and eagerness still manage to come through. "Seek and ye shall find!"

My wife once told me something very helpful to my spiritual journey: "The closer you get to where God is calling you to be ... well, everything that is NOT God will fight all the harder. Don't give up." I think this troll attack is confirmation that you are on the right path.