thoughts on groundswell

Dear Groundswell Friends,

I wanted to give you my take on the groundswell dilemma.  I know that to some extent, we gave a voice to the voiceless and now it seems like it is being taken away, when in reality it is just being moved. And please be assured, we can have great discussions on this new page.  It will be highly linked through facebook and this is a better move for the long term.  I know that many of you don’t see it but we are asking you to look into the future with us.  What we are saying here is that Groundswell deserves its own webpage because of the massive amount of content.  What we are hearing is, “don’t get away from your roots.”  We can consider ways to stay grounded to facebook.

I do want to unload on all of us and call us to something that I think is of massive importance:  Jesus is so in love with us it is stinking crazy.  I can’t fathom all of it and am in awe of His grace and mercy daily.  I think when we love each other; we display the gospel in ways that cannot be spoken.  When we show division we actually lessen the power of the cross.[1] The stakes are to high; we simply can not afford to treat each other poorly on facebook or in any other medium of exchange.

Some of us are ordained, licensed, commissioned or members but we are all believers.  Therefore we are all called.  We must continue in the spirit of unity.  We can work out the kinks in Groundswell on facebook or word press, but the bigger issue is the Gospel.  Will you put it on display or remain divided?

“In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good.  In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.”[2]

We gave people almost complete autonomy to post what they were thinking and feeling.  Unfortunately we saw a number of comments and posts filled with rude and self-righteous tones.  This became the undercurrent of groundswell.   I can not tell you how many people have been turned off or how many private messages I’ve gotten from people who have said, “I’m sorry I posted, I’ll never do that again.”  The gentleman, who asked what the church’s response should be to the Occupy Wall Street movement, told me he would never post again on groundswell because of the type of response he got.  Since then he hasn’t even liked a post.  A friend told me that one of his Wesleyan college students who went away to school stumbled on Groundswell and was so disappointed with the tone of conversation that he found.  His response was that, “this wasn’t the Wesleyan Church he knew.”  People have written blogs or simply stopped engaging because of the tone of many contributors.  We have to remember that Jesus is bigger than the Wesleyan Church and far bigger than Groundswell.  It really has become difficult to find a loving and respectful tone on this site.  Therefore we have to ask the question, “is groundswell doing more harm than good?”  I think we are 50/50 on that and we can do better with monitored discussion on a Word Press site.

The World Wide Web is exactly that…worldwide.  People stumble across Groundswell all the time and I wonder what they think.  We can do better.  The world already hates us lets stop giving them reasons.


[1] 1 Corinthians 1:17,  Paul argues that when the church is divided and elevates people over Christ then the cross of Christ is emptied of its power.  He is also talking about Classical Greek Philosophy vs. the Wisdom of God.

[2] 1 Corinthians 11:17-18, Paul’s entire letter has the theme of unity admits the division of the church.  In this instance the believers were taking a divided approach to the Lord’s Supper.  Here Paul continues to argue that division does more harm than good.

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  • Well said, Dave. I chose to become disconnected from Groundswell “FB Edition” for the due to many of the issues you mentioned in this post. Conversation and debate is fantastic, but it is always best when moderated well, and part of that is self moderation — learning that just because you can speak doesn’t mean you should. Sadly, some (including myself) have had a hard time learning this facet of conversation, and even more regrettable, there are many who never will. That said, Groundswell has a great team of mods — voices and leadership I trust — and I am excited to add the new site to my list of “Must Reads” knowing that there will be quality content from voices of our denomination, and others in the Wesleyan tradition, that need to be heard. I also appreciate the fact that with this transition, the content will live on! In the “FB Edition” great thoughts fall to the bottom and die. A WordPress entry will be searchable, indexable, tag-able and all around more accessible to everyone not just now, but years from now. It’s a great move, in my opinion.

    • *Highly edited post makes its presence known in the first sentence*

      Strike the “for the”…