How It Goes

I’ve mentioned a number of times here my regard for my friend and occasional radio sparring partner, Jeffrey Tucker. He invited me to come over to the CMAA’s MusicaSacra Forum a few weeks ago, and I’ve been contributing a few times a day since then.

I pretty much had given up on the forum format years ago. It was my first experience of online interaction at a time when I was feeling professionally and intellectually isolated. I made a lot of mistakes. And in “graduating” to a blog format, I don’t know that I’ve eliminated errors so much as minimized them. Plus there is the discipline of regular writing in a more pleasing and flexible format.

I’m thinking my forum time is becoming more of a waste of time. I read high ideals on the MusicaSacra site, like these:

Be Polite
This is the most important guideline. We will not tolerate any abusive, insulting, hostile, or threatening posts about anything or anyone. We will quite swiftly delete any such post and ban the offending user.

Do Not Defame
Members may not level insinuations of heresy, bad faith, or criminality against members; members should also avoid such inflammatory language against non-members.

I saw people post there for whom I have a great respect: Paul Ford among others. Yet over the past several days, one semi-anonymous poster sees fit to respond to my posts in insulting and confusing ways such as this:

You are not preaching to the choir. The bus has left…and you missed it. It was painted in psychedelic colors and was full of the odor of patchouli. There is no average parish. We are not interested in hearing about Marxism, free love, magic mushrooms and Earth Shoes. The music that you like is a malignant growth. It must be removed. The liturgy worldwide must be freed of this American kudzu, before it is strangled.

What to conclude? The reform2 crowd remains embittered even as they gaggle and point fingers at people like Elaine Rendler-McQueeney and offer violations of their own policy:

I describe this point of view as a kind of pro-Jesus atheism, and offer a critique here.

Who on earth would want to be involved with such folk? So what do you think? Waste of time? Cut ’em slack?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgy, Ministry, The Blogosphere. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to How It Goes

  1. Todd,

    I think you’re painting with much too broad a brush here. Yes, there are acerbic people in the “reform2” crowd, and also in other groups such as the “just give me my paycheck” crowd–which, BTW, I am sorely tempted to join. But in any case, you have lumped everyone together unfairly. I thought stereotyping was a no-no?

    Secondly, you don’t seem to be taking full account of the nature of internet and other “anonymous” communication. Most online communication is touch and go, whether the writer is liberal, conservative, Caribbean, Eskimo, etc.

  2. Gavin says:

    Where are you any better than those people? “The reform2 crowd remains embittered even as they gaggle and point fingers at people like Elaine Rendler-McQueeney” “Who on earth would want to be involved with such folk?” And that’s just on this post, a whole month could write a book of slurs against chant musicians and those who attend the EF Mass (which, in my case, really is the closest, most convenient, welcoming, and best quality music available to me). It’s not “magic mushrooms” and “malignant growth”, but it’s the same seed of painting with the broad brush those you disagree with. You suffer the same affliction as the mean comments directed at you: a polarized view of a “reform2” vs. “progressive” church.

    I found the comment directed at you sickening. I initially put up a challenge to the poster, but I edited it out figuring it would just cause more trouble. FWIW, I enjoyed your comments and was not pleased with how they were ridiculed and ignored. As I said, I think you have the same polemical tendencies as many of the CMAA folks, but you did a good job of putting those aside for some serious discussion. The other commenters did not.

    I guess you have to ignore stuff like that, just like when I ignore comments in a job interview about how “chant is irrelevant at this parish” or “our music is all about the assembly”. Sometimes I read things (from the same 2 or 3 people) that just make my blood boil. But I’d say at large, most members of the forum are there to hear new perspectives and learn more.

    It’s unfortunate the few ideologues destroyed your chance at contributing. Just don’t react in the same manner, condemning the whole lot of sacred music devotees along with those who won’t accept an idea outside of the Sanctified Few.

  3. I should also add that you’re giving Jeffrey’s critique of Elaine what’s her name quite an unfair shake.

  4. Liam says:

    The most common sin of pride to which we Christians are prone seems to be from the recently discovered version of Luke 18:13:

    “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this Pharisee.’ ”

    The cultivation of resentment is enslaving, and therefore not of God. Any movement that wants to thrive in the Holy Spirit must zealously prune sentiments of resentment in its own ranks and not wait for others to do it for them.

  5. Anne says:

    Todd,
    Some folks don’t realize how petty they can be. It’s difficult but the best thing you can do (IMO) is to ignore the criticism and continue to post your informed and interesting comments. I believe that you have important information to post and the critical remarks will stop over time. Even if they don’t stop…You NEED to be heard over the pettiness!

  6. Both: cut ’em slack and a waste of your time.

  7. Todd says:

    “Where are you any better than those people?”

    I don’t think any of us can claim to be “better” than anyone else. I sure wouldn’t want to think it, say it, or give the impression.

    But I don’t hold them to any real or imagined standard of my own. The policy on being polite and no defamation is theirs, not mine.

    As for my conduct in the blogosphere, I make no bones about being provocative, especially toward people I think are big enough to take it. Professional church musicians who call out a colleague for “atheism,” without any sort of logical (let alone theological) justification … they’re in the category of “able to take it.”

    Taken alone, I don’t mind the psychadelic commentary. In blogology, it’s pretty pedestrian. But I acknowledge I have room to grow. No doubt about that.

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