Love…sometimes out of place…gets put in its place

by Craig on December 7, 2011

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I write almost every post in the hours before dawn – just before posting.
This I wrote mostly last night when it was fresh, when the nerves were still raw.

And I know sunshine and rainbows are easier to read – but this isn’t that.

It was a good day…
productive, active, positive…
and one little sentence laid me low…
and it didn’t stop at one.

Remember back when I spent a week writing about why I write in this community
this community populated mostly by Christian moms…
and why I don’t read the male authored Christian blogs anymore…

I wrote at the end of that week about how I almost stopped blogging after just a few days…
because my presence, my enthusiasm, my words, my comments were misinterpreted…
by some very influential bloggers and it devastated me.

It would have been so much easier to choose a different community…
so much less suspicion, so much less hurt, so much less…
and I know this word is loaded but…
so much less….
cattiness.

I could just become one of many Christian male bloggers, writing not like I do, but just to debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. And remove the feeling, and the empathy, and the honesty, and keep my masks held close to my face.

Many of you know that I’ll be attending Blissdom again this year.
It’s the only blogging conference I’ve attended….
the attendees are over 99.5% female.

I attended because it would be attended by people who changed the way I write
I attended because…well I wrote this

But some of those “influential” bloggers were there…
and I spent all my time worrying about what effect they might have.

I met many bloggers – but not many Christian bloggers. This year I’ve been watching the Blissdom twitter stream – and noticing the Christian bloggers who will attend. So in order to introduce myself before the conference I’ve commented on some of their blogs.

I commented on one blog written by a nice 20-ish married Christian young woman…
her post was all about how she spent her Thanksgiving. Here’s my comment…

Whitney, first I promise never to leave a comment this long – EVER again. Second, I’ll explain why this “old enough to be your dad” face is in your comment section. I noticed you in the Blissdom twitter stream. I was at Blissdom last year, and will be again in March. I blog in this community brimming with full of awesome Christian moms (and a few not yet moms), because Christian moms write about God like nothing I’ve ever read before. Christian moms have access to the love of God like no one else. Anyway, that’s how I found you. And again, sorry for the long comment, it’s just this one – so long – just this one to say hi – and make sure it’s okay that I comment on your site. Being a single, never been married man in this community, I’ve learned a tiny bit of sensitivity – enough to know I shouldn’t just barge in without explaining why.

And about your post – It was awfully smile worthy. I smiled all the way through – except for your hubs feeling “cruddy”. And it’s kind of easy to see who is related to whom in your pictures. And that shot of you in the Christmas ornament – that was kind of awesome. And the generations – the generations – that made me smile. I’m glad you had that time with family – family is the best part of the holidays. So thank you for the smiles – smiles are important. Anyway, I’ll be back to read more if it’s ok, leading up to Blissdom, and afterwards. I might also follow you on twitter soon – just so you know. God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours Whitney.

And hers is not the only one I commented on in pretty much this same way. I did so about 2o times – to 20 women who will be attending Blissdom. Women I have never met. And if they all take it the way this one did. That’ll not be good.

And this is the tweet that cut me deeply…

And that was just the beginning…

Please click over to Deep into Scripture where I’ll finish this up
This is really important to me, and I’ll need your wisdom…

and if anyone has some advice – and would rather it be not in comment form – my email address is sapphyre12@att.net.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

SomeGirl December 7, 2011 at 11:59 am

I can feel your pain, Craig. There’s a saying I was on a bus stop bench YEARS ago that said, “Words hit as hard as a fist… so watch what you say.” Sounds like you were punched right in the heart. So sorry to hear about this!

Having met you at Blissdom last year, I know your heart. Unfortunately the internet is full of crazy people and us girls get a little squeamish about guys we don’t know online… I even went so far as to make my personal FB page girls only (after my best friend’s husband did something unthinkable… UN. THINK. ABLE!) No offense to my guy friends, but we get a little creeped out when guys we don’t know show interest in us.

That being said…. I really enjoyed meeting you! And I hope these gals will have the same wonderful opportunity! :)

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SomeGirl December 7, 2011 at 12:01 pm

*saw* on a bus stop bench. :)

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Rebecca December 7, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Michelle, your words…are always so full of truth without judgement! Love you!

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Lindsey @ A New Life December 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Craig, I am sorry this happened to you.

I would just post a simple apology to her advising that you were only trying to make networking connections and that you didn’t mean to make her uncomfortable.

Sadly, women have to be careful in this online world. I’ve had my share of unwanted and awkward interactions with men and women who can appear stalkerish and have had to adjust my interactions and how much I share because of it.

I don’t think your comment was creepy, but that is because I met you in person…if you remember last year at Blissdom, I told you to be careful to not let women’s wariness get to you. That you had to build trust with them and consistently show that you are genuine and true in your intentions. You also need to be aware of representing yourself in the most God-honoring way possible. Treat these women as if they are your sisters in Christ….and think about how you would feel if someone approached your mother, sister, wife, etc in a manner that could be construed as intrusive at face value.

My first recommendation would be to post less “personal” comments when it comes to their families/pictures/etc, especially the first several weeks you are connecting online. Treat them as a business networking connection, comment strictly on how their post content and/or writing techniques impacted you. After you’ve met them in person at a conference or such, or interacted with them enough to build a relationship you’ll be able to be more personal if you can see they are comfortable with you.

My second recommendation would be to remember who you are in Christ, and to let criticism that is unfounded roll off your back.

Please hear all I say with the Truth in Love it is meant to be said in….will be praying over your heart and interactions in the future, and I can’t wait to see all that you’ll learn from Blissdom again this year!

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Craig December 17, 2011 at 8:59 am

Lindsey, my feet still aren’t quite bag underneath me from this. And I have to let you know how much it means to me that you took the time to come here and leave such a thoughtful response. You gave me important words to consider, and there’s nothing you said that I won’t act upon. And you know, I didn’t remember you telling me that at Blissdom, I kind of do now. There is no anger, animosity, bitterness for any of the women involved here – I understand the first woman’s concerns, and the desire for her friends to rush to her side. It’s been a while for me to reply to this comment, it’s been a difficult week, but thank you Lindsay, thank you, and God bless.

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Loralee December 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

First, I don’t think that openly humiliating you on Twitter was a decent thing to do at all. For all the goings on about how Christian they are it was very unkind and definitely not Christlike. Let’s point and laugh at the creepy guy on the internet!!! How! Much! Fun!

Awful.

(But then, I hold those who proclaim in their Internet biographies to be Christian, a pastor and a lover of Jesus to set a better example than those of us that tend towards the heathen.)

And I would like to thank each of these women for forcing this so that we all have to feel like we’re kicking a sweet puppy when it is down. (Seriously, thanks y’all. It was crappy. I understand if you felt it was creepy from someone who was not known to you but damn…there is a thing called email. USE IT.)

That said.

I have met you and I know your intents are good and kind. But…you can be a lot. And people that are a lot can alarm and freak out people who are not or who are not sure what your motives are. Lindsay said this well. I say this in the utmost kindness and empathy because, well…I AM A LOT so I understand!!! I have a huge, flirty personality wrapped in a package that doesn’t need to have a bag over my head. I have upset a few women in my early days of blogging when they didn’t understand my intent and my communications online have been misconstrued and were critical of me. I never faced anything THIS openly critical but it was still not fun. And so I try to be VERY VERY CAREFUL of my interactions with all men that are not my husband online. There are some in my comments that openly proposition me and I have to handle it delicately because I know they aren’t *really* serious but I can’t encourage it, either.

Because I had to learn that the hard way.

Unfortunately, you are in a MUCH more precarious situation because you are on the internet and a man AND you prefer to swim in a Christian pond. And so, you have a lot more ability to create waves with your well-meant kindness and enthusiasm. I am very open with boundries and my husband is the LEAST jealous husband in the world but lots of these ladies are not married to that type and they would see all over enthusiasm from a man online as threatening and creepy.

I would hate to see this drive you from the internet, but I can see how it would be tempting. But it would be a shame.

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Craig December 17, 2011 at 9:15 am

Loralee, you are truly one of the special ones in this community. I think by now you know the mad respect I have for you and all you’ve been through. I actually still remember your first tweets to me – I didn’t know how full of awesome you were back then – I do now, and, well, no more gushing. I get what you said Loralee, and I have, and I’m taking everything to heart. I can’t allow this to drive me from the Internet, it’s part of something too important for me, so here I’ll stay, and I have no choice to blog in other than a Christian community, this is my heart, there are two things at my base, one is God in general, the other to live the life of first Corinthians 13 love. If I had only known how hard it would be to write content for two blogs – I would’ve rolled them both into one. But that aside – here I’ll stay. And reading women, and for me all Christian women (with the exception of one very exceptional heathen-ish woman) inspires me in a different way than any other bloggy community. Here. I’ll. Stay. Thank you Loralee, thank you, I’m sorry this reply was so long in coming, but this has been a deep cut to handle. I’ll handle it, and move on, and you coming here to leave your words, at the risk of sounding, “a lot”, it means the world to me. God bless.

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Linda December 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Oh Craig, I am so sorry to hear that. I am specially upset the person had to write that on twitter instead of taking her suspicions and comments to you. I understand, though, were she is coming from because there is so much evil out there. Amongst those evils, the belief man cannot (or should not) write the way you do. You are like the only one that comments on my posts, and they always bring a smile on my face. I think how you always say you are praying for me and that makes me remember to pray for you. I will be especially praying for you today. As one of my lessons this year, try to put yourself on her shoes so that your heart can be at peace knowing her heart comes from a lifetime of exposure to the evils in the world it is even hard to distinguish them in anymore and would be careful before being sorry. hugs my friend!

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Craig December 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Linda, I’m sorry I’m so late responding, this devastated me. And I received many many emails in support – and it’s taken a long time to respond to everyone. Thank you for being so nice. It is a joy to read you. I do understand after hearing from so many friends who said things very similar to you – well – I understand a little more. Thank you again. Thank you very much. God bless you my friend.

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Christine December 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Just sent you an email, Craig. :)

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Rebecca December 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Craig, I think Michelle hit the nail on the head ‘the internet is full of crazy people and us girls get a little squeamish about guys we don’t know online’….there are so many crazy things going on in this world…it is easy for someone to fear the unknown. I do…and until I really started reading your blog…at first, I questioned your intentions….because of fear…because men just don’t share like you do..or are not crazy enough to venture into women’s worlds…because we can hurt others so easily…I know that is nuts…we are supposed to nurture, but there are times…where our mother bear causes us to make huge mistakes.
I know your heart is hurt. Please, just know…this is just a Mama Bear….being fearful of the world around. Words do hurt…and when we tweet or blog…we should always take care to consider how we would feel..if we were the subject of those words.
And…when we do make a mistake, we all want grace and mercy.

I sent you an email earlier…and shared my own mistakes with you. I pray that the words I sent…provided you with some salve….and helped you find the love of the one who loves us the most. He knows our hearts and our motives….he knows yours….

Hugs!
Can’t wait to meet you at Blissdom!
Rebecca

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Debbie December 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm

So sorry Craig. I knew something had happened last night when I saw some of your twitters. I just didn’t know what. Going over to read more. And praying now too, for God to protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

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Mari December 13, 2011 at 8:15 pm

So sorry you had to experience this. I hate it when people wound us with words. Its hard to overcome. I think all the ladies ho commented before me have said it better than I can so Im just here sending you a hug (( )) =)

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Craig December 13, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Mari, this has laid me low. I’m still processing my way through it – it’s not the first time that something like this has happened in this year of blogging – and being the never married male blogging in the world of women, I think there are lessons that need to be learned as I move forward from this – I’ll try to learn them – but it hurts – really does.

And Mari, the hug and a smile – they mean the world to me. Thank you, thank you – and God bless and keep you.

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A. December 15, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Craig, there is lots of wisdom in the responses here, yes, and I know the wisdom doesn’t erase the pain. I am just here to lend support, to let you know that those women have no idea how much good you have spread from your small corner on the internet sphere. You have spread a LOT, just in my little speck of a life. So I am praying for the healing of your heart over this one.

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Craig December 17, 2011 at 10:16 am

ツMy friend – my friend ツ

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Brandee Shafer December 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Hey, Craig. Sorry ’bout your black n blue toes. You’ve never creeped or freaked me out for even a second: just so you know: maybe b/c I have AWESOME instincts. haha

I would say…kind of as an aside…be careful about firing back and getting caught up in the fray. When our intentions are honest, honorable, and holy, we don’t have to defend ourselves. The Lord is behind us and with us, and He goes before us.

I know about this problem only because you shared it with me?

And I think it’s a fine line: we blog because we want to be authentic, also to work out and share our feelings, BUT we never look better by making others look worse. If I feel like I need to write about the ills I’ve suffered, I try to leave out names because–even if someone’s made me look bad–I don’t want to be perceived as an “eye for an eye” kind of person.

Finally, this is something that really helps me in similar situations: the Bible says we don’t war against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Don’t misunderstand: I’m not trying to imply that these people are Satan, or even bad people. (They’re just people: imperfect like the rest of us!) What I AM trying to say is that Satan knows how to get to you, and He’s the real enemy.

Love and blessings and prayers. Thank you for your prayers, BTW. I need them very much.

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Craig December 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Brandee, yours is probably the last comment I’ll get on this post – and it’s wise. Of course my desire is to strike back – but that’s definitely not the response of love. And I was thinking about this – and I can’t remember a single time Jesus defended his own reputation – despite the slurs. And you’re right – I also can’t forget the Enemy. And one last thing – it’s an honor – a real honor to be able to pray for you. God bless you!

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