Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A note from a reader

I received the following email from Beth, a frequent visitor of this blog, two days ago, and saw it as important enough to share (with Beth's permission, of course) a part of it with everyone here, together with my reply:

***

"Hello Anna,
I have been reading your blog almost daily for some time and have always found it to be a refreshment. In the past couple of weeks, however, I have noticed a change in the atmosphere that concerns me... I am finding that the comments, instead of supporting and enhancing your posts, are now quite often attempts to refute your viewpoints, often by people who are not serving the Lord in any way. These comments really alter the atmosphere of the blog--Instead of feeling refreshed and strengthened for my work when I leave, now I find myself feeling exasperated and tense. In my opinion, it detracts from the purpose of your blog... that of promoting "home, femininity, and being a lady" (from your description of your blog). Perhaps I am alone in my feelings... but I did want to share them for you to consider.

The world is full of people who believe that living a holy, modest life, set apart for the Lord, is complete folly. Going to a blog where this godly lifestyle is promoted, and where we can all encourage one another in our pursuit of this lifestyle, is like an oasis in the desert, a place of cool refreshment. But the presence of the negative comments is more like visiting a hoped-for oasis but having sand thrown in one's eyes instead!"

***

Here is what I wrote in response:

"Dear Beth,

Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful letter. I truly enjoyed and appreciated hearing from you. Also, thank you for prompting me to think a bit more about something I've been awfully neglectful of lately.

I have always been a heavy user of comment moderation, careful not to allow an unpleasant spirit in my comments, until recently, when I became so overwhelmed with studies, keeping home, and other important things that keep me very busy right now, that I sort of let it slide. All those long comments with objections to what I write? Most likely I didn't even read them very thoroughly... just skimmed through them, said "oh well, there's nothing really hateful or rude, let it be", and clicked "publish".

Yes, I know this caused things to get a bit out of hand lately. I wouldn't like to limit discussion space, but I want my blog to be a peaceful place for encouraging home-focused women, not a hot debate area. I don't want a woman who keeps her eyes on God, her marriage, family and home, to feel uncomfortable after visiting my blog."

***

So, this is just to allow you a little glimpse into my thoughts. I deeply appreciate all those who visit and comment, even if they disagree with me. But my blogging time is very limited right now; and the time I can spare for debates is pretty much nonexistent. So I do hope no one will hold grudges against me if at some point I decide I don't have the time or energy to host and monitor a certain discussion, and delete a comment - not because there was something wrong or offensive with it in itself, but simply because I don't want a discussion to go in that direction.

The purpose of this blog, like Beth rightly noticed, is mainly to encourage and support likeminded ladies. Please understand that my intention is to keep it that way.

27 comments:

Maggie said...

Kudos again Anna for sticking to your convictions!

Rebekah S. said...

Hi, Anna! I want to thank you very much for this post. I've felt the same way as Beth at times, as well. I've noticed that lately(I hope it's not just my imagination), there have been more ladies on here that are against what you and the others of us teach and promote from Scripture. This has changed the feel of the blog to some extent, I suppose, as it then makes us feel as if we must defend our beliefs. Having said that though, I still think it's a really great thing to hold discussions(providing that they don't get mean and ugly!!), because we're called on by God to defend the Bible and what is taught there, and these discussions help us to really see if we truly know what's in God's Word or not-if we truly know it by heart, as we're called on to know it, or if we just think we know what's there.



Having said all that, I simply adore your blog and your dear and sweet friendship. Whenever I'm feeling down, discouraged, and as if I'm the only young lady in the whole world that thinks this way, then I just come to your blog and immediately feel so blessed, refreshed and strengthened-it's much like an oasis in a dessert of feminism!

May the Lord richly bless you and keep you, dear Anna!

In Him,
Rebekah

Terry said...

You already know that I relate to and respect your position. Blessings to you, Anna!

Mrs. Brigham said...

I also share similar feelings regarding comments, Anna. As time has gone on, my "comment policy" has changed quite dramatically. While at one time I did not mind a bit of debate, I have come to realize that, to me, my blog is my "home" online and all of the dear ladies that visit are guests in my home. In my real home, I would never want a dear friend to feel discouraged or leave with strife in her heart, so the blog atmosphere I am striving for should also be the same. The world is full of so much ugliness, debate, and trials, and I hope that my blog or home can keep this out as much as possible, and instead be a a place to find some beauty, encouragement, and thoughtful discussion. Life is too short, and time too precious, for anything else! :o)

Kristy said...

I, too, feel that if individuals consistently disagree with your view points and convictions, then why lurk around your blog and try to change you? Good for you, Anna.

Haus Frau said...

simply ... thank you.

Calamity Jean said...

Good for you! While I enjoy the discussions, it is your blog and I will continue to visit b/c I enjoy your writing and learning about your life!

Hil The Thrill said...

Hi there, Anna,
I offer a different angle. I think it is great that you have lots of people with different viewpoints sounding off in your comment section. That means that you are challenging them and their standpoints. Imagine being a kid faced with a plate of broccoli...first they say,"Yuck!" or possibly,"Why did you give this to me?" but only after they are given an opportunity to taste are they able to find out whether they like it or not. Don't feel bad about encountering a lot of "Yuck!" It is many people's first exposure to your lifestyle. If they read, they might come to find that they like it.
I do understand that you don't want your comment section to be a battle ground, but don't be put off by dissenters. I don't agree with all of your viewpoints, but I keep coming (respectfully) back because you are so eloquent and thoughtful.

deb said...

I think that if there was an award for sweetest person on the web, Anna would win it hands down. She always strives to answer everyone politely but without compromising her beliefs. That takes a special talent or gift from God.

On my own blog, I use comment moderation. But I would be overwhelmed if I had the same number of commentors that Anna does.

Mrs W said...

I think if the comments wear Beth down that she ought not to read them. It isn't anything that ought to wear someone down, just people she doesn't know spouting off on a blog. My personal feelings is that if you only ever post the comments you agree with, then the blog suddenly becomes not worth reading. In fact, if you hadn't had such great homemaking articles here, I would not have come back after I found out about our vastly different religious beliefs...normally I wouldn't read so often a person that disagrees with me. My point is that I think it is wrong to shut a person up just because they may not agree with you. I don't post the rude comments on my blog, but do post those that don't agree. There is freedom of speech to consider, although rudeness is not to be tolerated.

singlemomforgod said...

Anna,

You already know I have your back on this one. To me it doesn't matter what faith, denomination, or religion you practice, if you can promote something wholesome, educating, positve and spirtual then my heart says AMEN!!!

I am a firm believer that we should be forming together to promote holiness, chasity, modesty,moralness, and other principalites that are glorifying to God So you go girl! Treat this blog as you would your home, any strong hold, or spirit that will negate your home must have a firm rebuke against it! Be Encouraged!

neuropoet3 said...

Anna, with all you have going right now, I'm really impressed that you're keeping up with your blog at all! I haven't managed to post anything on mine for quite awhile now - and, while I am pretty busy, :) I don't have as much going on right now as you do! :) There's no reason why you can't make your blogspace a place of "peace and quiet" at this point. While allowing "dissenters" to comment is fine when you have the time and inclination to respond to them, there's really no need to add that little bit of stress to your life when you already have so much else going on. Plus, I have to admit that I like the idea of a little oasis in cyberspace for those of us who have similar beliefs about the issues you discuss here. :)

Karen said...

I don't let it get to me. I just skip over the posts I don't like or if I feel I'm being accidentally dragged into a debate I just leave it alone. I've learned that, we only have so much time in life and for me at least, debating is not a good use of it!!

Ya'll just need to understand that Anna is a very busy lady! She has been working and taking care of the house and keeping up this blog.
Great job, Anna!

PhDCow said...

I don't agree with all of your viewpoints, but I keep coming (respectfully) back because you are so eloquent and thoughtful.

This is the way I feel as well. I know we disagree on pretty much everything in life, but I really enjoy reading about how you find beauty and peace in the simple things in life. I'm trying to do more of that.

I'll try to keep my dissenting opinion comments to a minimum. :)

Angela

Karen said...

I really appreciate what you are doing and would like to encourage you to continue. I think that we have become brainwashed to dislike, distrust, disdain anything that has to do with a biblical view of womanhood. So thanks for taking a stand and providing a peaceful but thought-provoking place for us to gather.

Kelly said...

Well said Anna. I know that I enjoy reading your blog because it is a place where I feel that I can read posts from other like minded homemakers. While I've never found the contrary comments a detraction I don't blame you for cutting back on the debate. Some people have a blog because they want to encourage debate and that's great but on the other side it's nice to have a place where like minded women can feel safe to support each other.
Kelly

Jennifer said...

I also have noticed a change in the overall tone of things lately - Beth put it so well. Thank you Anna for so clearing sharing your heart and intent. Keep up your wonderful blogging. Even though I don't agree with every one of your viewpoints (though I must say, I agree with most of them and often say "amen" as I read your posts!), I have found your writing to be very enouraging. Thank you!

Serena said...

I must admit that I, ahem, haven't been reading the comments much lately. You always say everything that needs to be said, so I kind of skip the comments about 2/3 of the time. There are certain commenters that I will read, because I like to hear their additional comments, but I skim over the other stuff.

Serena said...

Oh, sorry-- I also meant to say that I think you are very wise to keep things encouraging! It is your prerogative, and when you have so little time to blog anyway, you should certainly enjoy it!

Sis. Julie said...

I totally understand how things can get to the point where comments become an avenue for debate and argument. I've had a fair share to do the same on my site. I have had to delete or reject many comments in the past which created new issues with those who made those comments. I am like you....my blog is meant to be an encouragement to others and not a place for people to hash their disagreements with me on the things I post on. I thank the Lord that you have not let such things get you to close down your blog. It has been such a help and encouragement to many. And those that receive help should not be denied the opportunity to continue to get that help. Nor should the devil be given the pleasure of keeping you from being used of the Lord to help inform and encourage others.

I appreciate you Sis. Anna and am thankful that you posted this post. May God continue to help you and lead you as you serve here at your blog!!

Shannon said...

I wonder what it says about me that I havent noticed this???

Anonymous said...

I can relate to all the busyness you feel pressured by lately. There are just some times in our lives.....and this seems to be one of those periods of time for you, Anna.

I haven't been particularly "put off" by some of the negative comments you allowed through, but it did surprise me a little. I know that you desire a respectful, thought-filled discussion on your blog, & I've always thought that's what makes it such a pleasant place to come to. Many thanks!

Brenda

Jeannine said...

Dear Anna, I hope your week is going well and not too stressful.
Just wanted to let you know that I discovered some food blogs I really like and at least one of them seems to be vegetarian. It's called 101 Cookbooks, the link is on my blog if you want to check it out. I'll try her first recipe tonight :).

Persuaded said...

Anna... I think it is wise of you to reserve your energies (blogging and otherwise) for the things that are important to *you*, not allowing someone else's agenda to take you off course, dilute your message, or even tire you out! and I am grateful to you for taking the time and effort to keep your wee little corner of the web gracious, warm and peaceful.

You are much appreciated, dear one!

Andrea said...

Anna,

just peeking in between de-decorating, packing, laundry and a bit of research(!) to say thank you so much for saying this! You have always been so respectful of peoples' divergent opinions, but we as commenters need to respect this as your domain, and not get too bogged down in what WE believe!

Personally I always enjoy coming here because I find that even online you've managed to create that home of which you speak-- a welcome haven in which to relax and to hear the reflections of your day. I wholeheartedly agree with you as regards the vital role of ladies who make their homes havens like these, and I think the reason I prefer your blog over similar ones is that you have a wonderful way of saying "this is how I seek to live, and this is why" without shaming or condemning women who find themselves in different circumstances and seek only to make the best of what they are given and/or called to do.

So thank you ever so much, and I can at least speak for myself when I say please, do not think I will take it amiss if you say to me "now is not the time or the place for this discussion!" since this is your space, and it is certainly your right to do so :)

With much love,

Andrea

Buffy said...

My impression is that most people who comment here support your opinions on women's role. I think that many women who have not come across this sort of thing before might well voice a few objections before they start to see the truth in much of what you are saying, because it is so counter cultural. I think the issue is telling the difference between them and trouble makers who aren't interested in listening to your point of view.

Having said that, it is *your* blog and it's up to you what you publish here!

Coffee Catholic said...

Hmmm. It strikes me as rather rude for someone to try and tell you how to blog. Your blog is your portal to expressiong opinions and beliefs - even if this generates negative comments. I don't think that it is your job to create a false realm where controversy does not exist. Yes, your blog *is* focused on being a stay-at-home woman but... the very fact of being an "at home woman" is hotly controversial in and of itself. No matter how carefully you blog you will always find dispute raised against your chosen vocation. This is reality - are we, your readers, to try and hide our heads in the sand when reality rears it's head?

It is through blogs like yours where oftentimes the bull is taken by the horns and many misunderstandings about at-home life are dispelled. As readers we should not try and escape the negative comments - and the necessary refutation of those comments - that your topics sometimes generate. It is often through such debate that we teach *and* we learn. As women, we can't grow if we are never challenged...

A blog that focuses on womens' issues such as yours should not be viewd by readers as a soft cushy escape from the real world. Here, as in real life, one has to expect to have sand flung in the eyes. That's just life! No one should expect you to protect them from flying sand - it's not your job. Your readers can freely choose to *not* read the negative comments instead of trying to get you to do all the work for them. If someone does not want to read the less then "happy" comments it is *their* responsibility to make the effort to not read them. No one should attempt to censor another person's blog because they don't want to face negativity. To avoid negativity is to live in denial - and to stunt one's growth as a woman of God.

And... that's just my two cents for all it's worth. God bless!