The first one was of a type I've come to recognize in the blogosphere. The subject line of the email said simply "Shame! Shame!! SHAME!!!" (and that was the nicest thing it said to me, to be honest). The author, who I did not know, poured out an incredible pile of vituperation and invective, questioning everything from my faith in Christ to my "apparent lack of masculine endowment." (Evidently she's been peeking...)
The email ended, as these things always seem to end, with a bold declaration concerning Where I Am Going To Spend Eternity, how it is I will end up There, and how good it will be for the author and all the faithful to hear my screams of torment while I burn for all time Down There.
I deleted it.
But then came a brief missive from a woman who is a friend of a friend, a person who has been extraordainarily helpful to me on a number of occasions. She wrote:
I know you mean well...but if I want to read what you want to put out, I'll read it on your blog (yes, I do have it bookmarked).That bothered me more than the declaration concerning Where I Am Going To Spend Eternity, to be honest. (After all, absent the saving power of Christ, that's old news anyway...)
I won't inflict you with my beliefs if you promise not to demean mine...
So, by way of apology to anyone else whose beliefs I offended, I share with you what I wrote to her:
Thank you for your note.And I promised not to darken her inbox with my missives again, and apologized for offending her.
You are right - I did "mean well," in the sense of wanting to share some humor, and an alternative view too rarely shared on a particular topic.
I'm sorry if my desire to share some humor was seen as either self-importance or pomposity. You've heard enough about me from our mutual friend to know that they are both character defects I struggle with.
I never intended to inflict any belief on you, and I would never intentionally demean anyone or anything - having been on the receiving end of that treatment way too many times in my life.
It never ceases to amaze me how, despite all the progress I think I have made, that I can impact people so negatively with just a few words. I keep praying for God to restore me to sanity - and I believe that God can do that.
It just doesn't seem like God has made much progess on those gentle requests, yet.