The Emerson Avenger

The Emerson Avenger is a "memory hole" free blog where censorship is scorned. This blog will "guard the right to know" about any injustices and abuses that corrupt Unitarian Universalism. Posters may speak and argue freely, according to conscience, about any injustices and abuses, or indeed hypocrisy, that they may know about so that the Avenger, in the form of justice and redress, may come surely and swiftly. . . "Slowly, slowly the Avenger comes, but comes surely." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

In 1992 I underwent a profound revelatory experience of God which revealed that the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" is a "Sign in the Heavens" that symbolizes God's divine omniscience. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan of the Unitarian Church of Montreal contemptuously dismissed as my "psychotic experience" here: http://revelationisnotsealed.homestead.com - This revelatory religious experience inspired me to propose an inter-religious celebration of Creation that would take place whenever a total solar eclipse took place over our planet. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan and other leading members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal falsely and maliciously labeled as a "cult" here: http://creationday.homestead.com - I am now an excommunicated Unitarian whose "alternative spiritual practice" includes publicly exposing and denouncing Unitarian*Universalist injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy. The Emerson Avenger blog will serve that purpose for me and hopefully others will share their concerns here. Dee Miller's term DIM Thinking is used frequently and appropriately on this blog. You may read more about what DIM Thinking is here - http://www.takecourage.org/defining.htm

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Disenvoweling Yet Another Unitarian*Universalist. . .

Read it and weep. . .

It might interest U*U minister Rev. Daniel Harper to know that if you "disenvowel" an U*U, all that remains is an asterisk. . . ;-)

Still ROTFLMU*UO!

For the Unitarian*Universalist record. . .

It might interest U*Us to know that, when I attempted to post this comment to 'The Right Thing To Do' thread on Rev. Daniel Harper's 'Yet Another Unitarian*Universalist' blog, the following message was displayed on my screen -

Regex ID: 1250 (emersonavenger) appears to be an invalid regex string!

Please fix it in the Blacklist control panel.

It seems however that my pithy comment somehow evaded U*U minister Rev. Daniel Harper's "Blacklist control panel" though.

For now anyway. . .

29 Comments:

Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

Here's my response, time-consumingly re-envoweled by hand because I actually bothered to trust him enough not to back it up. But Robin, I'd suggest the best way to deal with this dude is just to forgive him and proceed to ignore him. I mean, you're essentially giving him free advertising by tearing him down here.

He ain't even worth the teardown. I tried to strike up a conversation, really focusing on keeping it tied to the basenote topic of marketing and keeping it free of personal attack, but he still thought I was attacking him. So be it. The lesson is, don't try to strike up a conversation with this dude; shake the dust off your sandals on the way out, and move on to more receptive venues.

Anyway, here's what I posted there, and others can decide for themselves if it was really out of line...

-><-

"Robin Edgar’s comment contained material that I consider to be and appropriate, because he made statements that I felt unfairly attacked other people personally."

Hunh. Well, he doesn’t seem to mention anyone at all personally in the copy of his comment saved to his own blog; I leave it to you to clarify if that significantly differed from what he posted here. You’re right that it’s wholly up to you what is and is not allowed in your blog, but if that’s where you draw the line, I fear you’re demonstrating his point about the hidden intolerance of U*Us all too well.

This, in combo with your preference that I email you rather than say these things in public, definitly highlights the darker side of marketing: marketing is about hiding the unpleasant parts and only showing the good parts in public. It’s rather fundamentally a lie, even if just a lie of omission, and I‘m not so sure that’s the “right thing to do” even in general.

Welcoming and communicating with others–-despite their flaws, despite their unpleasantness–-is certainly the right thing to do–-but that’s not marketing, that’s just decent human relationships. Whereas silencing those you find offensive while singing the praises of the people you like is dehumanizing, both to the people you’re silencing and ultimately to yourself, as you build the image of your peer group up to be greater than you really humanly are.

I feel the “right thing to do” would be to go out into the world and show them that members of the UUA can love and embrace others despite their grating eccentricities, “warts and all.” Show the world that we face conflict, not with judgment and punishment of sinners, but with forgiveness and a desire for the reconciliation of all humanity. But doing that on a large scale, as an entire denomination, starts with doing on a small scale, like on our blogs.

Please keep in mind that I don’t intend to be wagging a finger for a breech of morality, as if you broke a rule. I‘m offering this as practical advice. Having been in Emerson’s shoes long ago, I know it was not any of the people postlocking me who finally got me out of that funk. Rather, it was those people who tolerated me and showed me kindness even as I attacked them who taught me to show kindness and compassion to my own detractors. “Love your enemies,” as they say, pays goodness forward. At the end of the day, a postlocked joykill will run back to their own blog to say nasty things about you, their anger fomenting to resurface another day. But someone who is left to rant in the midst of pleasant and polite people will not find cause to rant for long, as their criticisms are demonstrated to be groundless simply by the tolerance and forgiveness they are shown.

Anyway, thanks for giving me the opportunity to express these thoughts in your space [OR NOT --REENVOWELER]. Oh, and Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day! Glad to see I‘m not the only UU celebrating it! Yarrr! :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2007 2:56:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Ahoy there Cap'n Jack!

Thank-you for commenting here. I was not impressed with Rev. Daniel Harper's "disenvowelling" of your comment, hence my post here. I would advise you to archive anything and everything that you post to U*U blogs, since U*Us are prone to "memory-holing" or otherwise censoring posts they cannot handle, although this is the first case of U*U "disenvowelling" that I have ever encountered.

I am glad to hear that you have re-envoweled your comment by hand since I would not want to speculate abiout how else you might reenvowel it. . . ;-)

As far as "free advertising" for Rev. Daniel Harper, aka Rev. Dan Harper, aka Dan The Disenvowler. . . he is most welcome to as much such "free advertising" as he thinks he can handle. ;-)

:I tried to strike up a conversation, really focusing on keeping it tied to the basenote topic of marketing and keeping it free of personal attack, but he still thought I was attacking him.

I noticed Cap'n Jack. . . It's really quite amazing just how deeply insecure, if not outright paranoid, so many U*U clergy seem to be. U*Us will choke on any dust that I deign shake off. . .

BTW Excellent critique there Rev. Jack.

Please do keep up the good work.

It is more than a bit ironic that a "Pirate of the Unitarians" is playing "good cop" to The Emerson Avenger's "bad cop". . . ;-)

Thursday, September 20, 2007 5:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

It is more than a bit ironic that a "Pirate of the Unitarians" is playing "good cop" to The Emerson Avenger's "bad cop"...

Hee. But y'know, world's got plenty of bad cops. I think we could use a few more good cops.

Friday, September 21, 2007 2:18:00 am  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

Well, I broke down and posted again, suckered in by the slim hope that maybe he'll realize I'm not trying to attack him. Dude's a fellow minister; it ain't right to be shaking off my sandals just yet.

Backing up my comment here:

>I am not a “troll-whisperer”

I’ll leave it up to you to judge whether or not I’m any good at it myself, but my personal strategy is to treat everyone with far more respect than they deserve; most trolls won’t troll for long if they’re not getting you to return in kind. Sometimes, they even stick around and chill out and contribute to productive conversation, having learned from example. I haven’t found it to be terribly difficult, though it does require me to endure a few insults with patience and forgiveness. Worst that happens is that I’m kind to someone who isn’t kind in return, and I’ve come to realize that isn’t such a tragedy.

But anyway, that’s just how I do it. If you think it’s better to disenvowel and delete posts, then hey, it’s your blog.

Friday, September 21, 2007 2:53:00 am  
Blogger Chalicechick said...

(((9Hee. But y'know, world's got plenty of bad cops. I think we could use a few more good cops.)))


Word.

CC

Friday, September 21, 2007 7:54:00 am  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

I tried that route for the first few years and got absolutely nowhere with DIM Thinking U*Us who not only obstinately refused to live up to their evidently empty and meaningless "covenants" to "affirm and promote" justice, equity and compassion in their human relations with me, but made a complete mockery of them by subjecting me to unjust, unequitable and uncompassionate punitive measures for seeking some justice, equity and compassion from U*Us. Quite frankly I believe the U*U World could do with a few more people playing the role of "bad cop" and giving outrageously hypocritical U*Us a good virtual slap upside the head until such a time as the UUA and the greater U*U "religious community" begins to deal responsibly with clergy misconduct of various kinds and other internal injustices and abuses.

The fact of the matter is I do quite regularly try on the "good cop" role to see if anything has changed, but DIM Thinking U*Us never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. . . Within the last year or so I filed a legitimate unbecoming conduct complaint against Rev. Victoria Weinstein aka Peacebang with the appropriate "authorities" of the UUA, Rev. Beth Miller of the UUA`s ever so aptly named Ministerial Fellowship Committee and Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris of the UUA`s Department of Congregational Services. Both of these UUA "religious leaders" failed miserably to respond even remotely appropriately to my legitimate complaint about obviously unbecoming conduct on the part of Rev. Victoria Weinstein and they jumped through all kinds of hoops of Orwellian rationalization in order to justify their decision to do absolutely nothing to subject Rev. Victoria Weinstein even remotely accountable for her unbecoming conduct. If either or both of these incompetent, negligent, and effectively complicit UUA officials had responded as "good cops" to my forma complaint I would not have felt it to be justified and necessary to play the role of "bad cop" in that matter.

I also sent a conciliatory "good cop" email to Rev. Diane Rollert, inviting her to enter into dialogue with me in an effort to arrive at a just, equitable and compassionate resolution of our little war of words soon after she arrived as the Unitarian Church of Montreal. Rev. Rollert`s response was to totally ignore that email and not even acknowledge receipt of it. She then saw fit to pretend that my emails contained threats against her physical safety and had me falsely arrested on trumped up criminal charges in a deeply misguided and outrageously hypocritical effort to seek a restraining order against me on spurious grounds in the slender hope (dare I say "wishful thinking"?) of forcing an end to my peaceful public protest in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal.

If U*Us obstinately ignore, arbitrarily dismiss and/or unjustly, unequitably, and uncompassionately reject my efforts to be a "good cop" they should not be all that surprised if and when I switch to the role of "bad cop" in my ongoing efforts to obtain some genuine justice and equity from U*Us.

Friday, September 21, 2007 10:53:00 am  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

Hunh. Well, he deleted my response again. Go figure.

I tried that route for the first few years and got absolutely nowhere with DIM Thinking U*Us

Oh, sure, there's gonna be plenty of people who simply refuse to reconcile. You'll always find them. I mean, welcome to the history of western religion; it's not like most Christians are living up to their Christian ideals.

You'll never run out of people to condemn, if that's what you go looking for. But is that really what you're looking for?

If U*Us obstinately ignore, arbitrarily dismiss and/or unjustly, unequitably, and uncompassionately reject my efforts to be a "good cop" they should not be all that surprised if and when I switch to the role of "bad cop" in my ongoing efforts to obtain some genuine justice and equity from U*Us.

Of course not; the only thing that's surprising is when the righteous willingly suffer so that they might show compassion towards the condemnable. Who on this earth would do such a thing?

Friday, September 21, 2007 1:08:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

:Hunh. Well, he deleted my response again. Go figure.

I figure that Rev. Daniel Harper is just being something of a disenvowelled U*U (i.e. an asterisk. . .) like so many of his like-minded colleagues in the U*U Ministry of Truth.

:Oh, sure, there's gonna be plenty of people who simply refuse to reconcile. You'll always find them.

Of course, but it`s a bit much when a whole U*U "church", to say nothing of the UUA and greater U*U World so obstinately refuse to do the right thing and seek reconciliation.

:I mean, welcome to the history of western religion; it's not like most Christians are living up to their Christian ideals.

Indeed, but I bet that there are very few Christian churches that have totally ignored a protester for close to a decade, or have had protesters arrested on bogus criminal charges in order to over-ride their constitutionallky guaranteed right to engage in peaceful public protest. In any case, just because Christians, Jews and Muslims fail to practice what they preach is no excuse for U*Us to do likewise, especially when U*Us pretend to be oh so superior to the followers of other religions.

:You'll never run out of people to condemn, if that's what you go looking for. But is that really what you're looking for?

Indeed that is not what I am looking for. I am looking for some genuine justice and equity from U*Us, and a few other such things, as I stated in my comment above and as my blog profile suggests. The condemnation of a certain number of disenvowelled U*Us is just an inevitable byproduct of that quest.

:Of course not; the only thing that's surprising is when the righteous willingly suffer so that they might show compassion towards the condemnable. Who on this earth would do such a thing?

I would have if U*Us had allowed me to. . . I am still prepared to show a reasonable amount of compassion towards condemnable U*Us if and when they decide to throw in the proverbial towel and seek to negotiate a genuinely, just, equitable and compassionate settlement of this dispute.

In the early stages of this war of words a sincere apology and retraction of the offending words would have sufficed, but Rev. Ray Drennan obstinately refused to provide one and Montreal U*Us and UUA U*Us backed the hypocritical * to the hilt. At this stage of the coinfluct I believe that it is very important that Montreal Unitarian U*Us and UUA U*Us demonstrate that they are capable of acknowledging the injustices, abuses, and outrageous hypocrisy that they are clearly and unequivocally guilty of. They must also demonstrate that they are capable of holding U*U clergy and lay leaders accountable for the injustices and abuses that they commit. That does not mean however that I cannot be reasonably lenient and conciliatory once U*Us finally come around to doing the proverbial right thing and start actually living up to their stunningly empty "covenants" rather than willfully disregarding them and repeatedly betraying them.

Friday, September 21, 2007 1:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

Indeed, but I bet that there are very few Christian churches that have totally ignored a protester for close to a decade, or have had protesters arrested on bogus criminal charges in order to over-ride their constitutionallky guaranteed right to engage in peaceful public protest.

Um, Protestantism?

I am looking for some genuine justice and equity from U*Us, and a few other such things, as I stated in my comment above and as my blog profile suggests. The condemnation of a certain number of disenvowelled U*Us is just an inevitable byproduct of that quest.

Is it working? Are you any closer to genuine justice and equity, thus far into your quest?

I would have if U*Us had allowed me to...

Dude, seems to me like they're affording you all the opportunity in the world to suffer at their hands, even as you show them kindness.

demonstrate that they are capable of acknowledging the injustices, abuses, and outrageous hypocrisy that they are clearly and unequivocally guilty of.

Most people aren't; that's all I'm saying.

That does not mean however that I cannot be reasonably lenient and conciliatory once U*Us finally come around to doing the proverbial right thing

Oh, sure. I'm rather suggesting that you be unreasonably lenient and conciliatory, knowing that they're pretty much never gonna come around and do the right thing.

I can totally understand why you'd choose instead to just stick with your current tactics. But that's what I'd try to do.

Friday, September 21, 2007 1:56:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

:Is it working? Are you any closer to genuine justice and equity, thus far into your quest?

In some ways I believe that I have already obtained a certain amount of justice and equity, and have had an influence on the greater U*U World. U*Us like to describe me as "angry" but I think that I have done a pretty good job of getting "even" and will continue to do so until U*Us provide the kind of justice and equity, if not compassion, that I am looking for.

:Dude, seems to me like they're affording you all the opportunity in the world to suffer at their hands, even as you show them kindness.

Yes, it is kind of ironic that I quite gratiously waived the year long restraining order that I could have had imposed on the Unitarian Church of Montreal Board member who uttered "death threats" against me but Rev. Diane Rollert is most ungraciously seeking to obtain a similar restraining order against me, based on pretended groundless fears that I will "commit a serious personal injury offence" against her; even though I have not uttered the slightest threat of physical violence against any Montreal U*U in the whole course of this conflict that now spans more than a decade. . . The fact of the matter however is that I have been suffering at their hands ever since Rev. Ray Drennan falsely and maliciously labeled me "psychotic" and Creation Day as "your cult", to say nothing of some earlier injustices and abuses committed by Montreal U*Us. OTOH I think that U*Us, Montreal Unitarian U*Us and otherwise, have been suffering from the virtual spanking that yours truly has been applying to their unrepentant U*Us for a little while now.

::demonstrate that they are capable of acknowledging the injustices, abuses, and outrageous hypocrisy that they are clearly and unequivocally guilty of.

:Most people aren't; that's all I'm saying.

That doesn't say much for U*Us does it?

:Oh, sure. I'm rather suggesting that you be unreasonably lenient and conciliatory, knowing that they're pretty much never gonna come around and do the right thing.

Oh ye of little faith in U*Us. . . ;-) Well I have to respectfully disagree to that approach Rev. Jack. There are some very good reasons why it would not be all that reasonable for me to be unreasonably lenient and conciliatory towards intolerant, abusive and outrageously hypocritical U*Us.

:I can totally understand why you'd choose instead to just stick with your current tactics. But that's what I'd try to do.

Really Cap'n Jack?

Coulda fooled me. . . ;-)

Saturday, September 22, 2007 4:23:00 pm  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

U*Us like to describe me as "angry" but I think that I have done a pretty good job of getting "even"

Well, people who like to get even can be pretty threatening. I surely hope you never get it into your head that you have to get even with me; I can tell you right up front that I can be an unapologetic *hole sometimes, and if you can't get hurt without getting even, I'd prefer you just avoid me, because I'm bound to hurt you eventually. I'm only human, after all.

That doesn't say much for U*Us does it?

Doesn't say much for humanity, but I love humanity anyway.

here are some very good reasons why it would not be all that reasonable for me to be unreasonably lenient and conciliatory

Well, yeah. That's my point. It'd be downright crazy for you to forgive them after how they've treated you.

Forgive 'em anyway.

Really Cap'n Jack? Coulda fooled me...

Arr, we be raidin' yer villages, forgivin' yer unrepentant sinners. Yarrr.

Sunday, September 23, 2007 7:23:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

:Well, people who like to get even can be pretty threatening.

Well that would depend on what the meaning of the word "even" is. . . ;-) In this case, and in most cases, I mean getting "even" in the sense obtaining justice and *equity*. This has been, and still is, a proverbial "war of words" and I intend to keep it that way.

:I surely hope you never get it into your head that you have to get even with me;

Shivering in your timbers eh Cap'n Jack?! ;-)

:I can tell you right up front that I can be an unapologetic *hole sometimes,

I guess that makes two of us Cap'n Jack. ;-) Although I usually only take on the role of an unapologetic * when I am dealing with unapologetic *s and/or those DIM Thinking U*Us who support them. . .

:and if you can't get hurt without getting even,

Oh don't worry about that Cap'n Jack. I usually can and usually do. I do have to draw the line somewhere though. . .

:I'd prefer you just avoid me, because I'm bound to hurt you eventually. I'm only human, after all.

Oh I wouldn't worry toom much about that either Cap'n Jack. as long as you are not a Total * with me we should get along just fine. Most of the time anyway. . . As a rule I am very forgiving to those who sincerely seek forgiveness for their sins against me. Of course there is the occasional exception that proves the rule. . .

::That doesn't say much for U*Us does it?

:Doesn't say much for humanity, but I love humanity anyway.

So do I as a rule. In fact I consider myself to be something of a Humanist, albeit not the atheist variety of "Humanist".

::There are some very good reasons why it would not be all that reasonable for me to be unreasonably lenient and conciliatory

:Well, yeah. That's my point. It'd be downright crazy for you to forgive them after how they've treated you. Forgive 'em anyway.

Unfortunately the U*U rumours that I am a "crazy" "psychotic" "nutcase" etc. etc. are greatly exaggerated. I am not so crazy as to completely forgive U*Us for the various "sins" of ommission and commission that they have committed against me and other people. It is very important that the Unitarian Church of Montreal and the UUA demonstrate that they are capable of holding U*U clergy and other U*U "church" leaders accountable for the injustices and abusers that they are guilty of committing. I can be reasonably lenient, and even completely forgive some of the less serious sins that U*Us are guilty of, but I am afraid that if I unilaterally forgave U*Us for all of the injustices and abuses that they are clearly guilty of they would continue to pretend that they have done nothing wrong and would continue to sh*t all over me and other people.

::Really Cap'n Jack? Coulda fooled me...

:Arr, we be raidin' yer villages, forgivin' yer unrepentant sinners. Yarrr.

Well the U*U Jihad Navy will be firing warning shots across the bow of the U*U Ship Of Fools, along with the occasional well-aimed broadside when it is deemed necessary, until such a time as unrepentant U*Us have the good sense to heave to, display the white flag of unconditional surrender, and prepare for boarding Cap'n Jack.

Sunday, September 23, 2007 8:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

I am afraid that if I unilaterally forgave U*Us for all of the injustices and abuses that they are clearly guilty of they would continue to pretend that they have done nothing wrong and would continue to sh*t all over me and other people.

Seems to me like they're gonna do that anyway.

But hey, if you can get them to repent, more power to you. I hear you've been at this for quite some time now; I'd love to hear more about some of the people you've gotten to repent so far.

Sunday, September 23, 2007 10:27:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Nary a U*U so far, but I am working on Rev. Diane Rollert at the moment. If she doesn`t want to be known U*U World-wide, to say nothing of real world-wide, as an outrageous hypocrite who obstinately refuses to practice what she preaches in her own Sunday sermons she just might repent, and soon. . . ;-)

Sunday, September 23, 2007 10:57:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

For the record I have had a number of U*Us who are not directly involved in this conflict, either members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal or U*Us in the greater U*U World, express their sincere regret for this quite regrettable situation and a few have even attempted to apologize on behalf of U*Us World-wide as it were.

Sunday, September 23, 2007 11:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

Nary a U*U so far

That's what I figured.

If she doesn`t want to be known U*U World-wide, to say nothing of real world-wide, as an outrageous hypocrite who obstinately refuses to practice what she preaches in her own Sunday sermons

I suspect, even if she does become known for this, even if she never repents of it, there will still be plenty of people willing to forgive her for it, and embrace her for her better qualities instead of condemning her for her failures.

Sunday, September 23, 2007 11:45:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

You might find these very pertinent words of the Dalai Lama to be of some interest Cap`n Jack -

"The fact that the teacher may have done many other good things should not keep us silent."

I found it on this web page which is well worth reading.

The paragraph that precedes that concluding sentence provides important context.

"When teachers break the precepts, behaving in ways that are clearly damaging to themselves and others, students must face the situation, even though this can be challenging. 'Criticize openly,' His Holiness declared. 'That's the only way.' If there is incontrovertible evidence of wrongdoing, teachers should be confronted with it. They should be allowed to admit their wrongs, make amends, and undergo a rehabilitation process. If a teacher won't respond, students should publish the situation in a newspaper, not omitting the teacher's name,"

Monday, September 24, 2007 12:03:00 am  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

Oh, sure. That doesn't negate anything I just said, though. You can publish the sins of the teacher all you want; the teacher will still be beloved.

Monday, September 24, 2007 12:24:00 am  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Only by his or her sheep-like U*U "followers" I suspect. . . Most people are not impressed by unrepentant hypocrites. As a rule people believe that forgiveness is incumbant on repentance. Although I do not deny that unconditional forgiveness of unrepentant sinners may have it's place in society all too often it simply leads to the sinners going right on sinning. I do not believe that it is wise to encourage the sociopathic behaviour of completely unrepentant sinners, be they unmentionable U*U ministers or otherwise. . .

Monday, September 24, 2007 8:26:00 am  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

Only by his or her sheep-like U*U "followers" I suspect...

And friends and family, too. And that pretty much covers the spectrum of people *any* of us can expect to be loving us.

Most people are not impressed by unrepentant hypocrites.

Seems to me rather that most people are unrepentant hypocrites; how rare is the person who both preaches noble ideals and lives up to them!

As a rule people believe that forgiveness is incumbant on repentance.

Or love (again, friends and family.) And you know what you get when you only forgive the repentant? Sheeplike followers.

Although I do not deny that unconditional forgiveness of unrepentant sinners may have it's place in society all too often it simply leads to the sinners going right on sinning.

Oh, sure, but the same might be said of repentance-conditional condemnation. The only thing I've ever seen lift people out of sin is when they see an example of a better way of living, and they choose to follow it. When it comes to lifting anyone but yourself out of sin, only half of that equation is in your hands.

Monday, September 24, 2007 11:06:00 am  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

:And friends and family, too. And that pretty much covers the spectrum of people *any* of us can expect to be loving us.

It is by no means out the question that even "friends and family" of flagrantly unrepentant hypocrites, or otherwise "sinful" and abusive U*U clergy, find them to be less than "beloved" even to the point of deciding to become former friends and family members. . . For instance, Rev. Ray Drennan is pretty much totally estranged from his two eldest daughters, almost certainly as a result of psychologically and emotionally abusive behaviour on his part. Do you really think that no separations or divorces or other forms of estrangement have ever come about due to a U*U minister committing clergy sexual misconduct?

::Most people are not impressed by unrepentant hypocrites.

:Seems to me rather that most people are unrepentant hypocrites; how rare is the person who both preaches noble ideals and lives up to them!

The key word here is the qualifying adjective "unrepentant" Cap'n Jack. Most people are hypocrites in one way or another when they fall short of the "noble ideals" that they claim to uphold; but it is one thing to have occasional lapses with are subsequently acknowledged and (if possible corrected or amended), and quite another to repeatedly and consistently flaunt the "noble ideals" one preaches and be completely unrepentant about one's flagrantly obvious hypocrisy. Unlike you I believe that most people can and do acknowledge their faults, and make reasonable efforts to correct them, especially when they are challenged by other people.

::As a rule people believe that forgiveness is incumbant on repentance.

:Or love (again, friends and family.)

Not necessarily. . . and, as I just pointed out, even friends and family can be less than forgiving when someone behaves in a less than forgivable manner. Ovid id famous for saying -

If you want to be loved, be lovable.

but the basic principle has much broader application. Here are a few petinent variations on Ovid's theme -

If U*Us want to be forgiven, they should be forgivable.

If U*Us want to be respected, they should be respectable.

If U*Us want peace, they should be peaceful. . .

:And you know what you get when you only forgive the repentant? Sheeplike followers.

I disagree. There are no shortage of sheep-like U*Us following egregiously unrepentant U*U hypocrites, like Rev. Ray Drennan and Rev. Victoria Weinstein, just for starters.

::Although I do not deny that unconditional forgiveness of unrepentant sinners may have it's place in society all too often it simply leads to the sinners going right on sinning.

:Oh, sure, but the same might be said of repentance-conditional condemnation. The only thing I've ever seen lift people out of sin is when they see an example of a better way of living, and they choose to follow it. When it comes to lifting anyone but yourself out of sin, only half of that equation is in your hands.

Of course. Hopefully Rev. Diane Rolert will respond appropriately to my recent call for repentance and set an example of a better way of living so that Montreal Unitarian U*Us, and indeed the whole wide U*U World, can see it and follow it. It is most unfortunate that Rev. Ray Drennan, Rev. Victoria Weinstein, and a variety of other obstinately unrepentant U*U sinners, like former UCM President Frank Greene for example, could not set have set such an example of a better way of living for their fellow U*Us to follow years ago. . .

Monday, September 24, 2007 12:21:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Just for the record. It would seem that that disenvowelled U*U minister known U*U World-wide as Rev. Daniel Harper aka Rev. Dan Harper "memory-holed" my comment about what happens when you "disenvowel" an U*U several days ago.

Monday, September 24, 2007 12:25:00 pm  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

It is by no means out the question that even "friends and family" of flagrantly unrepentant hypocrites, or otherwise "sinful" and abusive U*U clergy, find them to be less than "beloved" even to the point of deciding to become former friends and family members...

Of course. I was simply reminding you that people may forgive even without repentance, simply out of love.

Unlike you I believe that most people can and do acknowledge their faults, and make reasonable efforts to correct them, especially when they are challenged by other people.

Well, at least we've clairified a point of disagreement between us. I think people do strive to acknowledge their faults and correct them, but least so when they're put on the defensive by such challenges.

"And you know what you get when you only forgive the repentant? Sheeplike followers." I disagree. There are no shortage of sheep-like U*Us following egregiously unrepentant U*U hypocrites, like Rev. Ray Drennan and Rev. Victoria Weinstein, just for starters.

You miss my point; yes, unrepentant people have their sheeplike followers. I'm not talking about them, I'm talking about you. I'm saying that if you demand repentance from everyone you forgive, then in the long run all you'll have left on your side are your own sheeplike followers, just like the UU ministers you decry. Gaining non-sheeplike peers generally necessitates accepting that they're often going to disagree with you when you say they have sinned, being non-sheep and all.

"When it comes to lifting anyone but yourself out of sin, only half of that equation is in your hands." Of course. Hopefully Rev. Diane Rolert will respond appropriately to my recent call for repentance and set an example of a better way of living...

Once again, you miss the point that I'm talking about you. Lord knows whether or not Rev. Diane will set a better example; the question is, will you?

Monday, September 24, 2007 1:08:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

:You miss my point; yes, unrepentant people have their sheeplike followers. I'm not talking about them, I'm talking about you. I'm saying that if you demand repentance from everyone you forgive, then in the long run all you'll have left on your side are your own sheeplike followers, just like the UU ministers you decry.

I disagree Rev. Jack. For starters I do not demand repentance from "everyone" I forgive. I do plenty of unilateral unconditional forgiving of transgressions against me but there are some situations where such unconditional forgiveness is not only unwise but potentially even harmful to myself and other people. Some "sins" demand accountability, or at the very least appropriate acknowledgment and repentance. Without accountability or acknowledgment and repentance certain "sins" will continue unabated and cause more harm to more people. I very strongly that this is the case here and in other cases that involve intolerance and bigotry, emotional and psychological abuse, abuse of authority, and egregious institutional stonewalling and denial.

And just where are all of my "sheeplike followers" Rev. Jack? I certainly have considerable bona fide moral support from a wide variety of people from all kinds of backgrounds, including a smattering of U*Us. . . but neither I nor they would consider them to be "followers" and they are not particularly "sheeplike" either.

:Gaining non-sheeplike peers generally necessitates accepting that they're often going to disagree with you when you say they have sinned, being non-sheep and all.

Again I disagree. I do not say that someone has "sinned" unless it is glaringly obvious to me and to other people that they have seriously "missed the mark" in some way. Indeed I rarely even use the word "sin" and am only doing so now because rev. Diane Rollert used that word in her sermon (PDF file) a couple of Sundays ago. Neither I, nor any other person, is obliged to accept that unrepentant sinners are often going to disagree with us when we say that they have sinned. Obviously I accept the fact that unrepentant sinners will disagree that they have sinned, that is what being an unrepentant sinner is all about, but nobody has to accept a sinner's lack of repentance, especially when their sins are not so easily forgivable and they persist in their sinning.

:Once again, you miss the point that I'm talking about you. Lord knows whether or not Rev. Diane will set a better example; the question is, will you?

I think that this and this are fine examples of a better way of living that Rev. Diane Rollert, Montreal Unitarian U*Us, and U*Us more generally. . . would be very well advised to "see" and to follow Rev. Jack.

I would like to remind you that if and when you compromise with evil, evil wins. . . Likewise, if you give evil an inch it will very often take several miles. I am prepared to be reasonably lenient if and when unrepentant U*Us finally get around to confessing to their various sins but I will not allow U*Us to get away with "murder" as it were. There are too many other victims of U*U sins, including the serious sin of callous institutional stonewalling of victims of clergy misconduct, for me to allow U*Us to get off scott free in this matter.

Monday, September 24, 2007 2:11:00 pm  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

there are some situations where such unconditional forgiveness is not only unwise but potentially even harmful to myself and other people

Oh, it's definitely harmful, but I wouldn't call it unwise. There's no reason or rationality behind why it works, but the effectiveness of accepting my own suffering so that I might forgive the people who cause me to suffer has done such an excellent job of actually getting them to repent and better themselves that I make it a central pillar of my wisdom.

I would like to remind you that if and when you compromise with evil, evil wins...

Forgiving is not the same as compromising. Compromising is when you let yourself do a little evil so that you can end a greater evil. Forgiving is about letting yourself suffer evil so that you can be an example of mercy that those in power might someday choose to follow.

Monday, September 24, 2007 3:18:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Well the well-documented track record of U*Us, Montreal Unitarian U*Us and otherwise, gives me plenty of reason to believe that they would neither repent, nor better themselves, if I unilaterally and unconditionally forgave them. Unfortunately I have every reason to believe that U*Us would continue to pretend that they have not sinned and would even try to misconstrue my forgiveness as evidence that they had not sinned. U*Us have been given numerous opportunities to repent in the past, including the very recent past, but, so far. . . they have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Quite frankly in some ways U*Us both individually and collectively appear to be positively sociopathic in their utterly conscienceless behaviour towards me and other people. A sociopath, whether an individual or an institution, is not someone who "appreciates" either repentance or forgiveness. I have very good reason to believe that unconditional forgiveness of unrepentant U*U sinners would only encourage them to persist in their sins. It would be casting pearls of forgiveness before evil U*U swine who would most likely trample all over such forgiveness. In any case, as I have already stated several times now, I believe that it is very important, even essential, that U*Us clearly and unequivocally acknowledge the sins and indeed evil that they are clearly and unequivocally guilty of, and demonstrate through concrete words and actions that they are in fact ready, willing and able to subject recalcitrant U*U clergy and other U*U "church" leaders to genuine accountability and appropriate disciplinary action.

:Forgiving is not the same as compromising. Compromising is when you let yourself do a little evil so that you can end a greater evil.

That may be one form of compromising with evil perhaps, but if one unconditionally forgives people for evil words and actions, especially if that allows unrepentant sinners to pretend that their evil words and actions are not in fact evil, one is compromising with evil and the unrepentant sinners are very likely to abuse one's forgiveness and keep right on sinning.

:Forgiving is about letting yourself suffer evil so that you can be an example of mercy that those in power might someday choose to follow.

Don't worry Rev. Jack those U*Us in power at the Unitarian Church of Montreal, 25 Beacon Street in Boston, and elsewhere in the U*U World already fall all over themselves to "forgive" the evil words and actions of obstinately unrepentant abusive U*U clergy. They do not need any further encouragement from me. . .

N'est-ce pas?

I have no intention of encouraging such "forgiveness" of U*U evil. I expect U*Us to demonstrate that they are actually capable of providing genuine justice, genuine equity, and genuine compassion to victims of U*U clergy misconduct of various kinds and other sins of the U*Us. . .

Monday, September 24, 2007 4:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

I have no intention of encouraging such "forgiveness" of U*U evil. I expect U*Us to demonstrate that they are actually capable of providing genuine justice, genuine equity, and genuine compassion to victims of U*U clergy misconduct of various kinds and other sins of the U*Us...

I predict your present methods will fail. You're welcome to prove me wrong.

Monday, September 24, 2007 4:12:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Well my present methods are actually doing most, albeit not all, of what I want them to do.

Here's a clue.

I am quite prepared to change my methods to rather more effective ones if necessary; however, those other methods do not include unilateral unconditional forgiveness of unrepentant U*U sinners that I firmly believe would be anything but effective in discouraging the sins of the U*Us.

Monday, September 24, 2007 4:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Rev. Jack Ditch said...

Well my present methods are actually doing most, albeit not all, of what I want them to do. Here's a clue.

Hunh. That "clue" is excellent, and you do seem like a fellow trickster, but it doesn't mention anything about getting sinners to repent. Do you have any stories you could share about a time when you've successfully used your unyielding demands for repentance to get the formerly unrepentant to actually repent?

I mean, I'm sure some of your methods are doing some good. You seem like an awesome guy, and I'd love to help you cultivate that awesomeness in the world with me. I'm just questioning your particular method of publically insulting and humiliating the worst sinners, as I have only ever seen that lead to those sinners condemning you in return.

You complain that unconditional forgiveness won't discourage their behavior, but your own refusal to forgive doesn't seem to be doing any better.

It's not like I'm asking you to remain silent about the injustices done to you; I just think you can decry them without completely condemning the people who did them to you.

But tell me, do you believe these unrepentant sinners have any worth at all? Do they deserve to be shown any measure of dignity?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 2:31:00 am  

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