Topic suggestions

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Topic suggestions

Postby teresa » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:27 am

I am looking for new forum headings and/or topics that may interest people more.
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Re: Topic suggestions

Postby Math Dork » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:27 pm

Teresa:

I do not want you to take the lack of activity on the board as a reflection on you. I wanted to take a bit of time to think over how to best write this.

This board and all of its predecessors are connected to a support website for people harmed by a religious group that was particularly toxic. It served a need.

That phrase "was particularly toxic" is important. There is some of that left, but times have changed.

As the times changed, the Churches of Christ became less malicious towards `unsound members' or people who left, and towards anyone connected to them. It means less need of the support the site provides.

It also means fewer visitors. It means less interest in essentially writing essays in these boxes.

Over the years, most of us came together to confront a problem. We had different styles, and different perspectives on how to fight that problem. At times, we had heated arguments over that. Even so, we agreed there was a problem, and wanted to do something about it.

I first came to this site nearly 12 years ago for one two-fold reason. I was a Church of Christ adherent, but I wanted to
A) advocate for changes we needed to make,
B) assure ex-members who were mistreated that it was not right.
I guess a more concise explanation for my reason was this: I wanted to be part of the solution.

Mind you, the problem still exists. It is just not prevalent anymore.

Most of us came together on this site to deal with a problem. That problem is very nearly extinct. Our other interests are going to differ very widely.

Your other interests seem to be about another subject of religion: novel theories of Paul. Others here may not have the same interest in religious subjects at all.

I have taken an interest in nonprofit education in America. For-profit charter school companies are the latest installment of a campaign which began in the 1980s to try to get filthy rich in the school business. The idea is to get charter schools funded similarly to regular public schools, but without having to provide all the services public schools must provide by law. Naturally, if charter schools are being funded for services they do not have to fully provide, there is a surplus to be pocketed. This cartel is bribing political hacks under the guise of `contributions' to do their bidding. To reduce costs, they offer an inferior product, so they view real public schools as competition to be undermined. Eventually, they will turn on nonprofit charter schools and religious schools too. I have a child, and I am mobilized to speak up against that cartel's threat to quality education in America.

I was offering one of my new interests as an illustration. While I still have some interest in religion, it is not something I research heavily and write much about anymore. That attention has shifted to nonprofit education. I certainly do not expect you to share this interest, but it does explain why I am not as active here.

Similarly, other former participants who used to be active here may have other interests that are outside of religion. Now that this site's target problem is nearly gone, we are not going to spend as much time here.

Most of us came together to confront a problem. That problem is very nearly extinct. This board has gone dead for that reason. Let us consider this good news, something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Holiday.

-- Math Dork.
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Re: Topic suggestions

Postby teresa » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:39 pm

Thank you, Math Dork. I appreciate your thoughts. Petros' CoC family members are still withdrawn from him, but I think they may be more extreme than most CoC members.
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Re: Topic suggestions

Postby Math Dork » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:43 am

I had more, and I will share them now. I will do this in two topics.

Topic #1
I explained that
1) this board was made to address a problem,
2) that problem is nearly extinct,
3) and that is the reason for this board going mostly dead.
I did not discuss this board's role in why I believe that happened.

As you know, I define "hardline" by a set of malicious attitudes, not precepts. I believed that getting adherents to reject the attitudes would end the problems.

A variety of strategies were used to challenge the problem that brought us to this board. Some came to deny the problem, but most wanted to fix the problem. I challenged the attitude primarily and the precepts peripherally as a means to that end. Most others challenged the precepts primarily.

Regardless, those of us who came to confront the problem did challenge the precepts. I did not fully realize it, but among many people, the malicious attitudes were caused by a feeling of absolute certainty of the precepts.

When this board was in its heyday about a decade ago, we sometimes had dozens logged in.
A) Hundreds posted.
B) Thousands read.
C) What was read got shared to tens of thousands.
D) Those people shared with others, who shared with others, etc.
The Churches of Christ are not a huge group. It is common for church history books to not mention them. A few hundred thousand adherents getting reason to doubt the merits of the precepts was going cast doubt on the merits of the the hardline attitudes.

There were other factors, of course. The Internet allows more access to information than ever before. It was
A) easier for Church of Christ adherents to learn what outside Christians believed, and why,
B) harder for hardliners to lie to adherents about that subject, and have it believed.
In short, it became harder to convince newer and younger adherents to hate outside Christians, or fellow adherents who had unapproved viewpoints.

Further, the hatemongers lost their influence due to age. They no longer could keep up with the demands of trying to run their religious organizations and the public speaking. Some have died, and some have had to step aside for younger adherents. These younger adherents generally do not hate people for not agreeing with them `enough.'

In short, the Churches of Christ are joining the 21st century. They still have their distinctive precepts, but religious disagreements are generally not considered acceptable reasons for acrimony.

Your dialogue board played a part of that. I truly believe that, and I hope you do too.

Topic #2
I told you what I think your dialogue boards helped do for the Churches of Christ. I have not told you what they did for me. I first posted on these boards 12 years minus 3 days ago.

When I came to a predecessor of this board, I was not familiar with written debate except in the context of academia. There are certain understandings among academics regarding disagreement that are not assumed in larger society. That caused me some problems in dealing appropriately with others in matters of disagreement.

Disagreement is normal and expected in academic debate over religious topics. It goes without saying that if a person disagrees with you, they do not think you are stupid. Here, when I would write a bunch advocating my own viewpoint at the expense of another's, it upset people. I had no idea it was considered rude.

To use a basketball gym analogy, I was like a person who expected competitive full-court basketball games among people who just wanted to casually shoot hoops. Most participants here were like those who just wanted to enjoy putting their shots through the hoop. They could play competitive games, but they did not want to have to work that hard to enjoy shooting hoops in the gym. They wanted to feel like they could enjoy shooting hoops in the gym without a hard competitive game.

It took me a while to figure it out, but posters wanted to feel like they could post their thoughts, and not have me log in, pick apart their ideas and try to make mine look better. When I understood that, I agreed.

If I could, I would apologize to anyone I embarrassed or caused to feel stupid. It was not my intent to do that. You and other members of these boards helped me to understand the possibility I could do that, and to be more sensitive.

I also needed to learn also how to better handle communication when tone of voice and facial expression are not available, and people do not know each other. Words must be chosen more carefully. You and others provided valuable input.

I believe these dialog boards -- which you ran -- benefited the Churches of Christ. These boards benefited me too, as participants helped me learn to better avoid insulting strangers via typed words without wanting to.

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays.
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Re: Topic suggestions

Postby teresa » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:31 pm

Thank you, Math Dork. I deeply appreciate your kind words.

Merry Xmas and/or Happy Holidays to you, also.
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