Saturday, December 20, 2008

Who is Ron P.?

Ron P. is none other than me, Ron Phillips, Sr. After nearly two years of following SBC blogs, I have decided that the time is right to make myself known. Before I go any further, I want to explain why I reluctantly chose to remain somewhat anonymous. It was a deliberate and intentional decision on my part. It was only somewhat anonymous, because several people involved in SBC blogtown have been aware of who I am and why I was posting as Ron P.

I originally started out as Ron P. just for normal internet safety consideration. Though I was well acquainted with Information Technology (IT) blogs which I have frequented for several years, I was completely unfamiliar with SBC blogs. It soon became apparent to me that anyone who disagreed with some bloggers, that personal attacks soon followed. This was so eerily similar to the flame wars on a few IT sites (pre-blog era). It surprised me that Christians, and especially Pastors engaged in such. However, the reason for not fully identifying myself to blogtown was simply that I wanted to avoid other people from wrongly being associated with my personal views and comments. One of the great tragedies of the SBC blogs, especially those who claimed to be irenic, has been the acerbic ad hominem attacks. But these attacks have not just been directed at those with whom they disagree, but also with anyone who is associated with the person. This was especially true at SBC Outpost and Baptist Blogger and for the most part, the same person. The arrows that might have been directed towards me were of no real concern. I was however concerned for others. The posts are no longer available, so I can not link to them, but on more than one occasion, there were demands to know what church I went to and who my pastor was. The requests had nothing to do with the comments that I made, except that they did not like the comments, but I believe were solely to intimidate. Based on conversations that I have had with others who have commented on blogs, this was not an infrequent occurrence. More than one has stated how their emails and/or phone would be inundated after they made comments or posts critical of the dissident bloggers beliefs or practices. One such person was out of the country, even stating so on a comment thread on one of the blogs. Yet, this person's cell phone kept ringing off the hook and was left multiple voice mails to call about the issue of the day. I was even made aware of calls being made to friends of bloggers to pester them about something someone else had written.

I had several discussions with multiple people in and out of the blog world about how best to avoid such entrapments while I was working on my first blog article in August of 2007. I really did not mind attributing my name to my comments or posts, but I did not want anyone to be belligerent towards my pastor, church, or friends. I had seen enough of that to be reticent. My comments would be mine and mine alone. I originally was going to sign my name to the article Wes Kenney allowed me to write as a guest on his blog on The Irenic Reformation of the SBC, but several concerned friends strongly recommended that I not do so. What I found encouraging, is that our concerns were for each other. My friends and my pastor was concerned about me, not themselves. My concern was for them and not myself. After much internal struggle, prayer, and discussion with said friends, I chose to publish as Ron P. since that was moniker that I originally went by.

So why reveal myself now? Since the cessation of SBC Outpost and Baptist Blogger, except for one or two conspicuous bloggers, the most caustic attacks have actually been less than they were. The personal attacks are ineffective and counter productive to their movement, as it even drove many of their own away. In fact, it has probably engendered more support for those whom they did attack (except within the CBF fan club that continues to egg on such venom).

I wish I could say that the attacks have stopped altogether, but they have not. In fact, the division within the SBC over the various views of Calvinism (or critique thereof) may actually surpass the intensity of the previous debates over the last few years. I sincerely hope not. This is most certainly not an issue worthy of dividing or fighting over. But even with the tempestuous debate about the SBC itself still raging in some ares, I want to continue in the online discussions that I have been a part of these past two years. To do so, I believe, requires me to do this now, though I do not regret my earlier decision to remain anonymous.

In Christ,

Ron Phillips, Sr.
a.k.a. Ron P.

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