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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Aug 21 2020 12:13 AM

Okay, I have been called condescending and confrontational one too many times. Try as hard as I can, I can rarely see why offending posts are taken that way. So I am going to explain a bit of how my communication style arose.

First, in IT I was always given the problematic clients because of my ability to make them feel heard. Second, for a decade and a half I coordinated all the lay liturgical ministers - ushers, musicians, lectors, altar servers (adults and youth), lay worship leaders ... I had the position because of my ability to communicate and listen carefully .. and judge when to get a priest involved. Nonetheless, I am innately a recluse not a social being.

Second, my family has it's own communication style ... think of two generations with four autistic children (one pre-verbal), one cerebral palsy person using a communication board, one blind cerebral palsy person living independently, one profoundly disabled child whose day consists of beating his head against the wall and playing with red strings, six with learnings disabilities of various types, one severely delayed speech, one serious mental illness ... and 5 adults either in the ministry or in social service organizations. Or, on the flip side, my parents had twice as many unrelated grandchildren as related grandchildren because each of my generation raised multiple children who were not their own by birth. And we ended up featured in a sermon about family after an ex-daughter-in-law's current husband called to ask if he and his Mother could come to Thanksgiving dinner even if the ex-daughter-in-law couldn't make it. In short, it's a family you can join but not leave. Now notice the number of people for whom communication must be straight forward, precise, without complex emotions or implications. Example: the wise teacher who cut out paper circles for the children to sit on so one of the autistic boys could understand "circle time" ... you sit on your circle and listen.

My point: I never am deliberately condescending or confrontational but I am accustomed to speaking with people overly literal understandings, with having to speak in a manner to engage a pre-verbal autistic teenager and a retired college prof. I am use to trying multiple times to have my point understood. I am used to being defensive in protecting the rights of all the various quirks of family members, of demanding that they are respected as people ... especially when people seem blithely unaware that their experience is not everyone's experience and, therefore, fail to see that what they personally want is not necessarily what is best for Faithlife users or company in general. If that rubs you the wrong way, so be it.

On the other hand, if I do word something in a way that gives offensive, please let me know precisely what  may be taken in a way I did not intend. Logos forums represent a segment of society I have little interaction with outside the forums. I am very aware that American evangelical speech is a foreign language to me.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1669
Allen Browne | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 12:27 AM

Hi MJ.Thanks for bearing your heart with us.

What you share with us is always helpful, even when you’re crusading for us to open our eyes to something more than we already see. I have learned from both your content and approach.

With gratitude, Allen.

Posts 288
Roger Dittmar | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 4:30 AM

I second Allen's beautifully composed post!

Posts 58
Norman Cubbage | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 5:20 AM

I would say amen to this.

Posts 1401
HJ. van der Wal | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 6:31 AM

Allen Browne:

Hi MJ.Thanks for bearing your heart with us.

What you share with us is always helpful, even when you’re crusading for us to open our eyes to something more than we already see. I have learned from both your content and approach.

With gratitude, Allen.

Yes

Posts 1564
Forum MVP
Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 6:39 AM

Yes

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 8.1

Posts 11219
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 7:54 AM

MJ. Smith:
I am used to being defensive in protecting the rights of all the various quirks of family members, of demanding that they are respected as people ... especially when people seem blithely unaware that their experience is not everyone's experience and, therefore, fail to see that what they personally want is not necessarily what is best for Faithlife users or company in general. If that rubs you the wrong way, so be it.

There's a lot of truth and value to that. But my perspective, as periodically voiced, is that star-people shouldn't be fronted by the organization (FL), which sleepily struggles to communicate with its customers. It's not fair by FL to watch star-people act as lightning-rods, and then passively sit back until the soup boils over. Yesterday, an advertising post ... who wants tto impose FL's own policies?

That said, I DO wish you were more forthcoming in how the Catholic side of the house approaches things (smiling). As bizarre as that sounds (already, liturgy-based, multiple traditions, and more!), I remain hopeful Verbum can demonstrate that religious aids are more than database display engines. It would really help the 'other' side of the house.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 677
Steve Maling | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 9:25 AM

Wow, MJ! I for one have always appreciated your communicational clarity and charity along with your technological knowledge and wisdom  (what little I can grasp). Thanks for sharing how you came to accept and develop those gifts. The peace of Christ be with you.

Posts 2063
Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 10:16 AM

I also have appreciated MJ's posts which have, over the years, been extremely helpful.  We all have our disagreements and quirks, and we all can always improve on the way we communicate with others. The goal is always hopefully to display more of the character of Christ.  Not an easy task.  Just want to add my voice of appreciation to MJ and her interactions with us all on this forum.

Posts 593
Randall Cue | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 10:47 AM

I have always wanted to meet you MJ. I would love to have a sincere discussion with you. I've always felt that you could present your position on any topic with sincerity and tact. We come from different traditions, but I have never felt that you are condescending or confrontational. Also, your picture looks very much like a young lady I knew years ago in high school. As you can see from the others in this thread you are well thought of. Keep up the good work and keep smiling.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Randy

Soli Deo Gloria

Randy

Posts 848
David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 10:51 AM

On the rare occasions we seemed to be at odds, I just reminded myself that nuance doesn't always carry across well in forum posts. There's nothing that would make me think you consistently acted, in a contentious way.

WIN 10 i7 9750H, RTX 2060, 16GB RAM | iPad Air 3
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Posts 6
Dawn S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 11:02 AM

I've been here for quite awhile, mostly silent from the balcony and I have to say I appreciate your communication style.  I gravitate to your answers for the clarity it brings.   Your answers and posts have enriched my Logos experience and knowledge in general.  I thank you.  

Posts 200
Kevin Clemens | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 11:31 AM

Dawn S.:

  I gravitate to your answers for the clarity it brings.   Your answers and posts have enriched my Logos experience and knowledge in general.  I thank you.  

I'm very much agreed on this point. I regularly will click to recent posts by MJ precisely because I know they will be of value. 

Posts 2008
LogosEmployee
Phil Gons (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 12:11 PM

Wonderful example of how getting to know someone can help us give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the best rather than worst intentions to their communication and actions (which we should do even if we don't know them well!).

We're all prone to assume bad intentions where none exist, because we're different, would have said/done it differently, and don't fully understand the personality and experiences of the one communicating.

This is a great reminder that there's almost always a good explanation for why we are the way we are and how we should lead with charity as we interpret the communications and actions of others (1 Cor 13:7).

Posts 135
Robert | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 1:01 PM

Kevin Clemens:

Dawn S.:

  I gravitate to your answers for the clarity it brings.   Your answers and posts have enriched my Logos experience and knowledge in general.  I thank you.  

I'm very much agreed on this point. I regularly will click to recent posts by MJ precisely because I know they will be of value. 

Yes

Posts 18624
Forum MVP
Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 2:19 PM

From my perspective, MVP for MJ means Many Valuable Posts (MVP) as well as Many Volunteer Posts (MVP) = Much Appreciated Big Smile

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 2724
Beloved Amodeo | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 2:35 PM

Denise:

MJ. Smith:
I am used to being defensive in protecting the rights of all the various quirks of family members, of demanding that they are respected as people ... especially when people seem blithely unaware that their experience is not everyone's experience and, therefore, fail to see that what they personally want is not necessarily what is best for Faithlife users or company in general. If that rubs you the wrong way, so be it.

There's a lot of truth and value to that. But my perspective, as periodically voiced, is that star-people shouldn't be fronted by the organization (FL), which sleepily struggles to communicate with its customers. It's not fair by FL to watch star-people act as lightning-rods, and then passively sit back until the soup boils over. Yesterday, an advertising post ... who wants tto impose FL's own policies?

That said, I DO wish you were more forthcoming in how the Catholic side of the house approaches things (smiling). As bizarre as that sounds (already, liturgy-based, multiple traditions, and more!), I remain hopeful Verbum can demonstrate that religious aids are more than database display engines. It would really help the 'other' side of the house.

MJ. You and Denise are both special to me. Your perspectives and vast knowledge are carefully rendered and add information that are novel and relevant. Being misunderstood is something that all minorities tend to have to deal with and struggle to overcome. I love you both. Continue to contribute your unique answers to Logos users without fear of rejection.

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

MacBook Pro macOS Catalina 10.15.6

Posts 4096
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 21 2020 8:29 PM

Phil Gons (Faithlife):

Wonderful example of how getting to know someone can help us give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the best rather than worst intentions to their communication and actions (which we should do even if we don't know them well!).

We're all prone to assume bad intentions where none exist, because we're different, would have said/done it differently, and don't fully understand the personality and experiences of the one communicating.

This is a great reminder that there's almost always a good explanation for why we are the way we are and how we should lead with charity as we interpret the communications and actions of others (1 Cor 13:7).

Amen to all of this. (1 Cor 16:14).

Posts 74
scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 22 2020 6:33 AM

MJ, thank you for your massive forums on the forum.  I can tell by the way you write that you put in a continuous effort to communicate with clarity....You bump up other people's issues; thanks!!!

I read your posts to see what I can learn.  At times, you answer questions I did not know to ask.

I believe your comms are in the sweet spot needed to elucidate information.  Please do not stop.

Posts 295
Kaye Anderson | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Aug 23 2020 12:29 PM

We love and appreciate you, MJ.  I rarely post but I read often and I learn much because you are willing to share your knowledge.  I know some of your posts must take time to compose and I am grateful for the effort you put into them.

Kaye

"But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."  2 Timothy 4:5 (NASB)

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