Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Banned By Toby AWARD!

Let's hear it for Alan! He is the first to be banned by Toby just for commenting on Shuck and Jive!

This Banned by Toby AWARD presented by Your Flirtatious, Apostate, Con-Artist!
Yours Truly,
Mr. Shuck and Jive


  1. Seriously though, I still can't figure out what, exactly, I said over here that ticked him off so much. Nor can I figure out why he felt that it was appropriate to make such false accusations publicly (and thus, since I'm banned, accusations to which I am not allowed to respond) rather than simply email me. Seems like that would have been the Matthew 18:15-17 way of handling it.

    But I guess there are two assumptions buried in those two questions: 1) that I actually said something that ticked him off, other than simply disagreeing with him, and 2) that he'd actually know what Matthew 18 was about -- or care.

    Strange isn't it, that of all the people who disagree with him, it's the fag that gets banned? Just sayin'...

    But even more seriously... Really? This post is all I get? I was hoping for an iPod Nano at least. ;)

  2. As Jesus might say, "Your reward is in heaven, or in your case, hell."

  3. LOL. It's amusing to joke about, and I don't take it seriously, nor was it anything I tried to do. I was always very polite there, never returning anyone evil for evil, even though I always received only snotty comments from "Pastor" Toby and his cohort in return.

    On the serious side, I do think it's a sad, clear, and obvious sign of the weakness of the right when they're unable to tolerate any dissension or difference of opinion. Hardly the first time that observation has been made, of course.

  4. Alan,
    Sorry to drizzle on your parade, but back on Feb. 6 Toby effectively banned Jodie from making more than one comment per thread. Jodie refuses to provide a last name (there are legitimate reasons), so Toby took advantage of that and now requires full identification for anyone who wants to dialog. I guess you guys make his brain hurt. I could say more, but I might get banned before I ever start posting there.

  5. I have only one question...

    Why would any of you waste your time and intellect trying to discuss anything with that asshat?

    That dude ranks somewhere between George Bush and Zell Miller on the brain-dead scale.
    You're not going to reach him, and there is no known cure for stupid, so trying to convince him to get medical attention would be futile.

    Don't waste your beautiful minds. The way of the Snake Handler can corrupt! :P

  6. Nothing like the love of Christ to help out those dwindling Presbyterian numbers across the nation ;-)

    It's stupid when people get so offended over doctrinal disputes or any dispute in the context of the church. Welcome to the environment of the sect. Individual identity is so inexorably linked to doctrine that the two are indistinguishable. I also call that idolatry.

    But based on the content of Toby's blog and the fact that Alan was publicly excommunicated in such a juvenile act of a supposed leader of God's people, I already respect you Alan ;-)

  7. "Why would any of you waste your time and intellect trying to discuss anything with that asshat?"

    Good question. I have two reasons: 1) evangelism and 2) information.

    1a) I don't want anyone who is unfamiliar with the PCUSA, or much more importantly someone who doesn't know Jesus Christ accidentally stumbling over the fundamentalism masquerading as "classical presbyterianism" over there and thinking that represents either the PCUSA or more importantly Jesus Christ. Given my background, and the fact that I may be one of the few five-point Calvinists left in the world, it seems reasonable to call him on his lies about orthodox Reformed Christianity. As they say, only Nixon could go to China. ;) (Though that's not a very flattering picture of me.)

    1b) I have been challenged by my friends many times with the question: If there are, as you say, many moderate Christians out there who disagree with the fundies about issues of sexual orientation, why don't we ever hear from them? Why don't they ever challenge those people, at the very least to show the rest of us that you exist? Now I think there are plenty of people doing just that, and I do so myself in all sorts of ways and venues, and this is just another, rather unimportant but public way to do just that.

    2a) Know your enemies. That doesn't mean we can't love our enemies, but it's important to know them too. And as CS Lewis points out, there's a difference between loving your enemies and liking them. I don't know Toby. I have never met him nor any of his commenters, so I neither like nor dislike him. And, though he bears false witness against me, I certainly do not hate them. But he is clearly on the wrong side of many, many disputes in the church and it's useful to see what his side has to say.

    2b) If I actually mean what I say when I chastise the closed-minded about listening to and tolerating other points of view, whether one agrees or not, then I need to listen to what other people say as well.

    As for convincing him or his commenters about anything, that's never been my intention. If we take, for example, the broad topic of sexual orientation, in the last 15 years I have heard every argument, conservative and liberal, from every possible point of view, left, right and center. I have heard every argument, counter-argument, and every counter-argument to every counter argument. I've seen every piece of evidence both secular and sacred on both sides. And what I've learned from all that debate is simply this: Debate has never changed anyone's mind about anything ever. People simply do not make rational, evidence-driven decisions that are subject to debate. If they did, there would be no overweight doctors who smoke. :) So, my intention has never been to change his mind. I truly believe, at this point, only the Holy Spirit can do that .... maybe. He may be too far gone to listen even to the Spirit, but I do sincerely pray that isn't the case.

    BTW, I'll share my award with Jodie, though I think I should only have to share it 60:40, since she didn't actually get banned. ;)

  8. "Don't waste your beautiful minds. "

    BTW, I L.U.V. the Barbara Bush quote. Well played. :)

  9. Alan,

    60:40 it is.

    Even though sooner or later he would ban me anyway as well.

    And his friends have banned me totally and for ever for being evil and demonic to boot.

    Beat that!

    (been trying to spin my head around while throwing up pea soup and shaking my bed but I can't seem to get the timing right)

    Your reasons for commenting are good. Not much different than my own.


  10. Hey, Alan

    Why not e-mail Toby, and try to find out why he is so offended? You can work this through together, and keep talkin. It's really important, I think. And, he's your brother in Christ.

  11. Wow... this really is far less interesting than some folks seem to want to make it. These are just blogs, folks. Yes it's sort of amusing, but I would caution people not to take all this that seriously. :)


    Matthew 18 clearly says that if anyone has an issue with me that person should approach me one-on-one and vent his/her grievances. My email address is readily available to anyone who wants to contact me. Toby didn't do that. He could have sent a simple email that said, "Please don't comment on my blog again." Easy. I'm totally uninterested in the drama he seeks to create. But instead, he threw a public tantrum. It's a free country, that's his right. But I'm really not interested in enabling that kind of bad behavior. And, I have little doubt that any email I sent would simply become yet more fodder for yet another public tantrum. Again, more drama in which I'm simply not interested.

    He is indeed my brother in Christ, and when he is prepared to act like it, he's welcome to email me at any time.

    In the meantime I'm sure we can find something even more irrelevant to chat about than whether or not a perfect stranger is going to be my BFF or not. :)

  12. My brother and sister once spent a summer with my grandmother. She would often lock them in the basement so she would not have to "deal with them". Then, it was my turn, and I got to go spend the summers with her. I would lock MYSELF in the basement to get away from HER.

    That's kind of what I have done with Toby. I banned myself from his blog.

  13. Just to illustrate the point, I responded to Bill Crawford's last post on Toby's blog, and Toby promptly deleted it. Here is what it said, you decide who has become apostate and walked away from the fundamental principles of the Gospel:


    "Personally I'll take people calling it like it is to my face any day over folks who pretend to be hurt when we say something to their face while they are saying much worse behind our backs."

    Which is why you banned me from your blog?

    "Conservatives will call prorgressives wrong, they will point out error, and heresy when they see it"...

    and vice versa,

    "but they dont' devolve into words like hatemonger, bigot, rascist, etc."

    But those are the exact words that one of the members of the "consistory" used to describe me in one of those "conservative" blogs.

    As a point of human psychology and behavior though, whenever you promote an "us vs them" view of things, you promote hatemongering, bigotry, and racism. That's what those things are. And they beget themselves.

    The Gospel has the power to break the cycle. When we use it to promote the cycle we are no longer disciples of Jesus Christ.

    11:00 AM, February 27, 2008

  14. Alan, I think the absurdity of this makes it interesting. Of all things for Toby to get outraged over...

  15. Jodie,

    In Toby's defense, he did say you could only post once per thread. You can't say he doesn't have integrity in this case.

    You made the tactical error of being the first one to post a comment on the thread, placing yourself in limbo when things really got interesting. If you're not going to supply a last name on your bio, then you'll just have to more careful when you comment.

    Of course there's nothing to stop someone else from copying your last response and pasting it on Toby's blog, or you could even use a ghost writer (a real person of course).

  16. Hi Arthur,

    Just running a test.

    But the point I was making is real. The conservative Evangelicals don't seem to understand or care about the role that an "us vs them" religion has on the genesis of bigotry, racism and hatemongering.

    Even in spite of several prominent parables of Jesus and writings of prophets. It's like the Kennedy syndrome. The rules are real, but they only apply to others.

  17. Well, I for one have never called any of these folks a hatemonger, a racist, or a bigot, so I'm still in the dark about what they've got their knickers in a twist about. :)

  18. Alan,

    So, you're still in the dark about what twisted their knickers?

    I have to agree with Grace. Send Toby an email and ask. He might reply or he might not, but I think you will have done the right thing. I don't buy your "he didn't email me" argument.

    Also your "these are just blogs" argument is a little weak. Let me point out that the Layman Online has a large readership, and they regularly link to these blogs (Toby's blog is linked right now). In addition, we all know John is...>>being watched<<...

    I, for one, would like to know if Toby answers you back.


    I would also like to know if Chris Larimer ever emailed you concerning the accusation of heresy he directed toward you.

    Based on my experience with Tom Gray (Kirk of the Hills PC), I don't expect replies. These guys just don't seem very pastoral (as seen through my jaded eyes). Even so, making that information public knowledge may be a good thing.

  19. Arthur,

    Just in my comments here, I've already spent far more time "wasting my beautiful mind" on this silliness than it deserves. I've only got just so much RAM to devote to this sort of drama. I stay far, far away from people who create and revel in such drama in the real world, and I'm even less keen on it in the blogosphere.

    I'm not sure why I would want to spend even more more time emailing him, when clearly it's his problem. I'm not the one stalking people around the internet to see what they're posting on other people's blogs. So, either he's interested enough to talk to me one-on-one about it, or he isn't. It's clear he isn't, or he could have done the right thing to begin with.

    As for my "these are just blogs" comment, I stand by it. I don't pretend to think I know anyone on the basis of their blog writings, or blog comments. For example, our host John seems like a nice enough guy, based solely on his writing, but he could be a complete moron. Who knows? When people write or comment on blogs they present a certain face that is usually different from their actual personality because of the relative anonymity of the internet. In their writing, they self-censor and I believe they're more likely to present a particularly skewed version of the truth because there's no one who can call them on it (again because none of us actually know each other), etc. In fact, I've even seen entire blogs that have turned out be completely phony.

    So yeah... these really are just blogs and I really don't take them that seriously. I frankly just don't care about what some complete stranger thinks about me. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but as long as the people I actually know and respect think I'm an OK guy, I'm OK with that. :)

    Or to put all that more succinctly:

  20. "For example, our host John seems like a nice enough guy, based solely on his writing, but he could be a complete moron."

    I could be a complete moron. But that would be a step up from a flirtatious apostate con-artist.

    I prefer to think of myself as Satan's little helper.

  21. John, I know I probably don't want to know the answer to this question... but, out of curiosity, where did the "flirtatious" thing come from? I can understand apostate and con-artist, those are obvious. ;)

    "I prefer to think of myself as Satan's little helper."

    Heh. I always like a good Simpsons reference, even a modified Simpsons reference.

  22. I think you are the one who was flirting. Toby wrote to you:

    "And you claim to be a Calvinist! Flirting with a con-artist like Shuck is hardly a way of witnessing to any kind of biblical faith."

    You know what? I was wrong about The Simpson's dog! It is Santa's Little Helper.

    No wonder no one can trust me regarding evolution.

    For the curious, a Simpson's quiz!

  23. Ah, I see. I didn't see that line. I guess that gives you a pretty clear indication of how just closely I read. LOL

  24. Toby's quote was such a keeper I had to add it to my hall of fame, "What They're saying about Shuck and Jive" on the sidebar.

    And I just found out that Emily Winthrop, the dog trainer, didn't like Santa's Little Helper and called him Satan's Little Helper.

    I knew Satan and Santa were related somehow.

  25. Alan,

    I hope you're not implying that I'm in it for the drama. If you are, then you're wrong.

    Like you (???), "I have two reasons: 1) evangelism and 2) information."

    I don't have any illusions that you will ever convince Toby of anything, but there's certainly hope for Toby's readers. I think that's what Grace was trying to say too.

    You're right; you can't really know the people who write in to these blogs. But by the same token, you can't really know anybody without following them around minute by minute to see their actions, and also magically getting into their minds and reading their thoughts. How well do you >>really<< know the people you go to church with?

    For what it’s worth, if it means anything at all, I think there are a highly disproportionate number of people reading these particular blogs who are PCUSA Pastors and Elders (like you and me). I believe, for the most part, they are good people who really want to understand GLBT issues (and people) and hear the testimonies of real people. Call me naive if you want, but I would rather place too much faith in people’s good intentions than too little (and I still believe in the doctrine of total depravity).

    “I frankly just don't care about what some complete stranger thinks about me”

    Does this mean reason 1 bites the dust?

    I’m just askin’.

  26. "I hope you're not implying that I'm in it for the drama. If you are, then you're wrong."

    Nope, wasn't talking about you at all. I was talking about the drama that some people create on their blogs regarding comments with which they disagree. Fortunately I rarely have negative comments on my blog. But when I do, I scroll past them. It takes about 1 millisecond to hit the mouse button to scroll past, far less time than having some sort of melodramatic public meltdown. :)

    "Does this mean reason 1 bites the dust?"

    I don't see how. We're talking about two different things. Evangelism is very different than just someone's personal opinion of me. Notice that Toby's diatribe had nothing to do with my opinions on matters of theology, but was purely an attack on my character (I'm hateful, dishonest, etc.) That's very different than my first reason for commenting over there which was to provide a clear, concise, authentically Reformed alternative to the fundamentalism masquerading as orthodoxy. I don't see how the two are related at all.

    "I believe, for the most part, they are good people who really want to understand GLBT issues (and people) and hear the testimonies of real people."

    If that were the case, then banning commenters would seem counter productive to hearing the testimonies of real people, would it not?

    "You're right; you can't really know the people who write in to these blogs. But by the same token, you can't really know anybody without following them around minute by minute to see their actions, and also magically getting into their minds and reading their thoughts. "

    I disagree. I don't think one needs to read someone's mind to know them. I think you're being more than a bit hyperbolic there. But I think there are a great many reasons why personal, face-to-face communication allows one to know someone much better and more reliably than a few words in a very topic-centered blog comment.

  27. Alan,

    So when you said, “I frankly just don't care about what some complete stranger thinks about me”, you were really referring specifically to Toby. Apparently I missed that subtlety. Thanks, I guess, for the clarification.

    Re: my comment on hearing testimonies, you said:

    "If that were the case, then banning commenters would seem counter productive to hearing the testimonies of real people, would it not?"

    Absolutely. You seem to have missed my point. It wasn't the readers of Toby's blog who banned you. I wasn't referring to Toby in that comment at all. It’s those who read Toby’s blog who can benefit from your presence there the most. I read the blogs of “the consistory” on a regular basis, and find some of their writings (and writers) commendable and others not (to put it graciously). I disagree with them vehemently concerning their views of GLBTs and the Bible/Church; don’t assume the readership is like Toby.

    "I don't think one needs to read someone's mind to know them."

    I've had this discussion (what it means "to know") with others from time to time, and I've come to the conclusion that my usage of the term assumes a higher standard than that employed by most people. For instance: I asked my pastor if he "knows" he is saved. He answered "yes". I promptly informed him that I thought that was heresy (I don’t actually believe he is a heretic). This may very well be the source of our disagreement on that point. It may be that I think more like a mathematician than you do.

    “face-to-face communication allows one to know someone much better and more reliably than a few words in a very topic-centered blog comment.”

    I think I understand what you mean, but I would have said it differently. I would have said: face-to-face communication allows one to have more faith in someone’s authenticity than…
    We probably mean to convey the same idea.

    Do you think it may be possible that Toby and his cohort may simply have misunderstood you?

  28. "Do you think it may be possible that Toby and his cohort may simply have misunderstood you?"

    Again, no idea.

  29. Jodie, Chris,

    It was good to have heard from both of you (however fleeting and strained it may have been).

    Just when it seemed like things were getting really interesting, John decided that maybe things were getting a little too personal (or something).

    Poof! Three posts just disappear. I hope this one doesn’t make it four, and that the two of you (at least) actually get the chance to read this. Hopefully this doesn’t mean we’ve been … Banned By John.

    I'll make my follow-up comment anyway (just because I think it’s important).

    To Chris,

    Apparently (to me) you take the position that there is no room for the possibility of additional aspects of God other than the Trinity.

    To Jodie,

    Apparently (to me) you take the position that the Bible does not restrict the number of aspects of God to only three.

    To Chris & Jodie,

    Please provide your best Biblical argument to support your point of view on this issue.

    I’m looking forward to your replies.

    To John,

    If you choose to delete this message, please do me the courtesy of sending me an email explaining why to:

  30. John,

    Did you delete some posts? Something from Chris?

  31. Yes, I deleted the references to the person you mentioned and the person's post. You can talk with him on his blog.

  32. Sorry,

    But I thought it was on topic and in the flow. The reference was merely a device to make a point. It all started on your blog to begin with, and it was fundamentally about the difference between your blog and Toby's.

    (basically that you allow heresy, and he does not)

    I never saw what Chris said. Any other rules you want to share?

  33. Arthur and Jodie (and anyone else),

    I deleted your posts, not because of you or anything you wrote, except, and you couldn't have known this, you referred to an individual whose comments I have been deleting for some time. He is not welcome here. So when you mention him, there is an obligation on my part to allow him to respond, and I do not wish him to respond on this blog.

    You may not agree with my reasons, but maybe you can understand why I make this decision.

    It has nothing to do with this person's theology or anything he writes about me on his blog, other blogs, or even my blog.

    The reason is that he wrote a letter to my executive presbyter (who is kind of like a supervisor, although not really--but you get the idea) about me.

    This letter implied (it may have even stated) that some kind of official action should be taken against me. He even posted the letter and the EP's response on his blog. I am sure from his point of view that he did that for the sake Christ and Christ's church.

    I don't have a lot of rules regarding this blog, but one of them, I suppose, is that if you are going to take actions that threaten my livelihood, I reserve the right not to support that action. Therefore, you don't get to comment on my blog.

    If anyone wants to file charges against me, tattle to my COM or my EP, and I find out about it, you will likely not be commenting here.

    Most everything else is fair game. The internet is a rough and tumble world. I am not afraid of a good scrap.

    I do delete spam. For a while I deleted comments that insulted lgbt people, then I got over it. I also delete those who threaten me physically.

    I suppose there may be other cases in which I delete comments, but really, they are rare.

    I have never banned anyone except this gentleman. Until today, I have done that quietly by deleting whatever comments he made.

    In one sense I have empathy with Toby. It is not easy figuring out how to host a blog.

    I just found the Toby Award amusing since Toby banned Alan (at least until after Easter) because Alan made comments on my blog. I found that funny, that's all.

    There you have it. I hope that is clear enough.

    If not, I repeat: If you threaten my livelihood (my job, my ministry, my church) either by writing letters of complaint or by filing complaints with denominational officials, you don't get to comment on Shuck and Jive.

    Weigh those options carefully, as I am sure all you right wingers want so much to comment here.

  34. Wow!

    For the record, no matter how conservative or liberal any of you may be, I would never use what you say on a blog to attack your livelihood. I consider that to be at the bottom of the ethical barbage heap.

    That being said, clearly this medium is still in its experimental infancy.

    I originally came across a chat room hosted by Gerald May ("Addiction and Grace") and for over a year it was a truly intimate and sacred space.

    Then some abusive hostile rabid atheists got on board and ruined the whole thing. I kept hoping Gerald May would have published some of the early dialogs in book form, but he died before he could.

    The blogs allow censorship and that would have saved Gerald's chat room, so yes, a certain amount of discretion is required. I'm not offended, just surprised at first.

    Thanks for the explanation

  35. John,

    For the record, I'm sorry I caused such a ruckus.


  36. No problem at all, Arthur. As I said, you wouldn't know. It is better that I finally said what the issue is. Glad you are here and keep commenting!

    That goes for all of you! Thanks!