Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
- James 3:10-15
In the many discussions of the nature of the Anglican Patrimony and Ethos, there has been little mention of a piece that we can all practice now: the idea of being Christian ladies and gentlemen.
By being ladies and gentlemen, I do not mean knowing how to pour tea, fabricating family crests, and keeping up appearances. Instead I mean the daily practice of courtesy and civility, which are too often dreadfully lacking on the internet.
This is a site dedicated to discerning peoples’ religious future. It is as serious a matter as there is, but sometimes our conversation here does not show it. In the combox, we too often let ourselves slip into ad hominem attacks and idle gossip or fall into heated debates that sound like teenage boys discussing the merits of various mobile phones. At times, it sounds as if Fred Phelps had taken an interest in Anglicanorum Coetibus. We owe it to God and to the eloquent lip service we pay to the Anglican Patrimony to do better.
With such a diversity of contributors and commenters, there will be plenty of disagreement and lively discussion. Tempers will fray as we see deeply held beliefs challenged. In the midst of all of this, we have to keep our heads. Before we post, we need to ask ourselves whether what we are writing builds up the kingdom or whether its primary purpose is to tear someone down. We need to remember the admonition that if any man is overtaken in a fault we are to restore him in a spirit of meekness, considering ourselves lest we also be tempted. Our goal as Christians is to see every person here and even our worst enemy in heaven.
Think before you post and cool down before you reply. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and self-control. If your comments do not reflect these, you might do well to ask what spirit is acting as your muse.
One of the best ways to check rash behavior is to post under your own name. I started doing this a few years ago and it has been a good check on my own overly sharp tongue. A gentleman should be willing to stand by what he says and to accept the consequences of his actions. All of the contributors here post in their own names. I see priests and bishops commenting under their own names, who no doubt sometimes put themselves in an uncomfortable position by doing so. It is an example worth following and I encourage commenters to do likewise.
Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss, his personal blog!