HEADS UP: Testimony Forum Guidelines
Posted 07 May 2005 - 11:03 AM
For the Christian, especially,
When I first came to Ex-Christian.net I was a Christian. After spending a month reading something in excess of 10,000 posts (without ever posting), I came to the conclusion that while the site is truly unique in several ways, this particular Testimony forum is a kind of sacred ground, a special place set apart for a specific purpose. Let me be very specific here; by sacred, I mean devoted exclusively to one service, one use or one purpose.
While there were no written rules or regulations that excluded my participation, as a Christian, I felt that I was almost trespassing by simply reading the stories that were posted here. Much as I would have loved to comfort and encourage those who are in pain here, to post in this forum, in particular, would have been to effectively trespass this ground, to violate what I had perceived to be an unspoken rule:
This Testimony forum is not the place for a Christian to post.
As a result, I chose to not post in this spot. I chose to honor what I saw as the intended purpose of this place, which is to offer a platform from which, first and foremost, Ex-Christians are welcomed to express themselves openly in a safe environment without fear of censure (blame or condemnation).
While public, out of necessity, the information here is often private in nature. For some who arrive here, the pain is acute and fresh. There may be a need for bandages. There is certainly a need for all who walk here to tread softly. The literal meaning of the word, "comfort" is with strength. What we try to do here is to come alongside of our hurting member and to offer support with the hope of strengthening them.
I daresay that most churches would never consider allowing Ex-Christians to share their life stories and spiritual journeys that led them away from the faith. I don’t imagine that most churches will ever change in this regard. As the church is a type of sacred ground for those who choose to fellowship in her midst, this forum, in particular, ought to enjoy the same respect. This is sacred ground for us.
That said, please consider these guidelines for posting in the Testimony forum.
1. Please remember the main purpose of the site in your posts; to encourage those who have left Christianity or other religions. Post something encouraging! Some members will have chosen a different path than you did; please respect their journey and remember that we all choose different turns in the road. This is not the proper forum for you to criticize or make other condemnatory statements about the path they have currently chosen. You may change tomorrow the beliefs you are espousing today.
2. Please refrain from posting anything that might be seen as evangelistic. There should be no witnessing, no proselytizing, no offers of prayer, no suggestions for "taking issues to God," etc…
Out of sensitivity to those who choose to share their life stories here, please be aware that all responses in this area, especially posts by Christians, are subject to editing or deletion.
For our long-term Christian members with whom we’ve already built relationships, this is not meant to be offensive in any way. I’m sure we will continue to enjoy your company throughout the rest of the forums.
I appreciate your respectful compliance with this request.
Having discussed this, sometimes to the point of exhaustion, with Loren for over a year and being in complete agreement, I know he has his own comments to add here.
...another barefoot girl uncomfortable with man-made shoes.
Posted 07 May 2005 - 11:06 AM
To pound Reach’s point in a little harder, please take note of the name of this site, EX-Christian. That is to say, most of our members have already been Christian, many of them very extremely so. We are here because we have tried and tested Christianity and found it wanting.
A great many of us have suffered abuse of one sort or another as a direct result of our involvement in Christianity. Sometimes the abuse was directly personal, such as sexual abuse at the hands of a pastor or Christian parent. Other times the very doctrines and practices of Christianity themselves, were the source of the abuse.
The main purpose of this site is to help the person who has left or is leaving Christianity to deal with the damage done by Christianity in a healthy and useful way.
This forum is not your personal witnessing pool!
The extremity of the damage done to people is so great and commonplace that a caring response is very needed. That’s what this site is all about. We are people who have left the faith helping others with our own experience wherever we can.
To expand on what Reach said about sacred ground, this is a healing place and a sanctuary. I'm sure you would reasonably expect non-Christians to have enough sense to understand the nature and purpose of the sanctuary in your church, and that they wouldn't disrespect it by doing inappropriate things there, regardless of their beliefs. You would rightly be offended if they did do something disrespectful in your church sanctuary. Please show the same type of respectful behavior in this forum that you would rightly expect in your own territory.
This site is like a clinic for abuse patients. An abuse clinic has tried and true reasons for keeping their clients away from those who've abused them, or from allowing contact with anyone who may be from the same group as those who abused the client. This is because even just the presence of such people can be a trigger for a very detrimental reaction in the client due to emotional associations.
This forum is a place for non-Christians to share their stories. Some of these stories are extremely painful and some of the people who post them are in great pain or turmoil. The last thing they need is to hear the same words and approach from you that they heard from their abusers.
This forum is meant to be a sanctuary of healing for those who've been harmed by Christianity. If you are a Christian, then by definition you are part of the group which did the damage, even though you may be a truly nice person without a harmful bone in your body.
Your intentions may be very loving and pure, but your words cause pain. Unnecessary pain.
Remember what's paved with good intentions.
Please have a heart; show some respect for another person's sanctuary, and think well before you post.
As the guidelines show, Christian words, preaching, scripture passages, offers of prayer or any other overt or covert proselytizing are not only completely unwelcome, but they are also a forum violation.
Gen. 3:22 And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil."
Posted 07 May 2005 - 11:17 AM
daFatman finds condemnation, preaching, sectartianistic jingo, assorted "words from god", etc, those posts nuked on sight...
Folks exiting out behind the Iron Curtain of Religion often need a quiet place to gather thoughts, find others who know what and where they are now, and how to advise directions from "here".
Not everyone comes out of their religious life and experience ready for *strong whateverism*, and often this forum and the friendships and ties here may be some of the only un_churched voices speaking kindly..
Sectarians have most of the rest of the Forums to voice opinions, argue, debate and discusss.
Here, once a Human comes to the Door, walks over threshold, they are in "Sanctuary". It is a "safe place" in part due to those of we who exist here nd participate.
It is a privelidge to serve Community, sometimes as one with a lantern, a light in a storm..
Since the State necessarily lives by the compulsory confiscation of private capital, and since its expansion necessarily involves ever-greater incursions on private individuals and private enterprise, we must assert that the state is profoundly and inherently anti-capitalist. --Murray N Rothbard. Anatomy of the State
Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. - Frédéric Bastiat
Posted 07 May 2005 - 02:06 PM
We must be on guard and remember what this place is for. There are plenty of debate sites on the web; this is a place to chill.
Posted 08 May 2005 - 07:21 PM
You know, not all decisions are easy ones but statements like this cause me to see that we have truly done the right thing by instituting a couple board guidelines for posting in this Testimony forum.
If it weren’t for the post of the guidelines on the testimony board I probably would be long gone from this forum. The prospect of communicating with other ex-christians had been a beacon to me until I saw christians were also members. That’s my hang-up and I applaud the people here who actually allow and encourage both sides of the issues. It just wasn’t something I thought I could deal with just now.
Thanks, Dave, for being so responsive to the needs of this community. All hail the WebMaster!
...another barefoot girl uncomfortable with man-made shoes.
Posted 11 May 2005 - 10:08 AM
I was nervous about the 'safety' of this site to share my feelings because of the presence of xtians initially also. Your position has eased that feeling for those who come here in the future. I applaud you all!
Posted 01 July 2005 - 01:49 PM
Another issue has recently come to light and needs to be revisited.
From time to time, some of you may wish to repost some of these testimonies on other websites. Please refrain from reposting these stories until you have sought out and obtained the permission of the author.
Thank you. Your compliance is greatly appreciated.
...another barefoot girl uncomfortable with man-made shoes.
Posted 23 August 2005 - 08:27 PM
Posted 21 December 2005 - 09:44 PM
There is one general principle, and that is that written communication is regularly misunderstood between people, even when they know each other well, and especially when the content is emotional.
To prove that, the most dramatic example is from when I was in the Navy, and was deployed overseas for a long period of time, on a ship with a thousand guys, anchored at an island in the middle of the indian ocean. A lot of the guys were married or engaged, and the writing and reading of letters (pre e-mail days, kiddys) was a sacred time. When you walked by someone doing either, you let them alone, to respectfully give them the space they needed. The point here is that, invariably, many MANY would complain about things "not sounding right, being also misunderstood by whom they write to, and this lead to a lot of break-ups of otherwise stable relationships, and even a number of suicides. To remedy this, it was recommended to send and recieve voice recordings, because the added content of voice tones and inflections made these communications successfully avoid these otherwise needless problems.
So, that is an example of how bad things can get when unpracticed people try to cover emotional topics through writing alone. We have all read replies to what we have wrote on a board somewhere, and know that if it was conveyed verbally that we would have more than likely understood. That is the practical reason for what may seem at times a perhaps overstated statement of intent in communications here...
and you can't get much more overstated than the size of my posts sometimes
Posted 27 May 2006 - 02:10 AM
I've just posted here. Its not really an anti-testimony because I haven't decided that I don't believe totally. Its more of a rant. Is that ok? There's no preaching or anything of that nature. I'm just telling my lifestory up till where I am now, an agnostic/liberal christian.
Or is there a better forum for people who are sitting on the fence? Please advice. Thanks
Posted 27 May 2006 - 02:28 AM
And behold, one came who in the form of a demon holding a beer, and he spake with a tongue of red. And when he spake, he said bye bye, and all listened, and watched as he smote the babbling troll with his +5 banhammer of fedupishness. And there was much rejoicing.
Book of Hans 3:16
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