Part of an email from a concerned reader, today:

I also believe the blog you have created has been an additional tool Satan has used to confuse you even more, not b/c you can put your thoughts somewhere (you can do that in a personal diary), but b/c people can say whatever they want on there, people who can confuse you, condemn you, or just make you angry. Do I believe in freedom of speech? Yes, most definitely, but I’m not going to give Satan any chance to confuse me or cause me to doubt God, so I just focus on prayer and His Word and I find the answers there. The same would happen if I delved into Satanism or witchcraft. I don’t give Satan any chance to have a foothold on me in looking in the wrong places where he can easily overtake me and change my life forever. He causes people to commit suicide and murder. I mean, people have choices, but they choose death when he makes it look better than life. He’s crafty and we have to constantly putting on God’s Armour (Eph. 6) using our Sword, the Word as our weapon, our only weapon of defense b/c it’s enough.

There’s a couple of things wrong in this email. Yet before I cover these errors, I just want to say that I’m not posting this to pinpoint the person who is misreading me and my situation in order to deliberately embarrass or mock them. I’m more concerned with the sentiments expressed within it — and I think these need to be addressed.

For one, I find it ironically hilarious that this little piece of webspace could be considered a “tool of Satan.” For one, I don’t imagine Satan as an actual person, lurking behind my living room couch waiting to pounce on me and my political and personal rantings. For another thing, this website has only helped me on my journey to figuring things out in my life — from my political leanings (yes, at one point I was a Bush-supporter, believe it or not — it’s archived!) to questions I have about my graduate school experience to other important issues in my life.

Which also brings me to a popular evangelical idea of Satan acting as this omnipresent force who is out there to make the lives of Christians a literal hell. I think that’s giving a little too much credit to any type of dark force that’s out in the world. Yes, I do believe that evil exists — and I think that there’s a type of supernatural force involved with it, too — but I don’t think he’s got a personal vendetta against certain people and actively forces them to make bad choices or acts against them in forcibly tangible ways. I’m SO tired of people blaming the “powers of Satan” for bad decisions they’ve made in their lives — and for not taking their own accountibility for their wrong actions. Pet peeve #1.

But back to the email, I also think the assessment of reader comments is completely off. I enjoy hearing people give me input on the various things I post here. This weblog does act as a personal diary — of sorts — for me. Granted, I don’t blog everything in my life. Somehow I doubt you’d want to hear about what I ate for breakfast — and of course there’s just some aspects of my life that never should be published.

That said, I’ve learned from the various things my readers have said. I’ve made certain friendships through this space, and I’ve been exposed to views that I may not have considered — in my pigheaded liberal-mindedness. :)

So if you want to be critical of me — go ahead. But first make sure you’ve earned the right, in terms of our friendship, in order to say the things you’d like to say. If you’re only going to correct me because you’re feeling “burdened by God” or think I’m another soul to add to your “saved” list — you’re just wasting your time in your correspondence. Also make sure that you actually know about the claims you’re going to make about the condition of my soul and/or my relationship with God. Pet peeve #2.

Thank you and good night.

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