19 May 2009

When friends fight

Elsewhere in the high circulation part of the blogosphere, friends are engaged in a nasty argument. The contents of the argument do not matter here. I am thinking about how one deals with such events.

How very like divorce and how very like church.

One of the unhappy and nearly inevitable consequences of divorce is that the relationships around the family are damaged or destroyed. If you sided with the wife and I with the husband, we have taken their argument into our friendship which probably is going to end. The damage to extended families is potentially catastrophic. In fact I know of one case where the former husband and wife had become reasonably friendly in their raising of the kids while their cousins refused to speak to each other.

I am watching in horror as various persons attack either Fr. Jon or Rev. Elizabeth. The inevitable damage will ripple outward. It is bad when your friends fight it is worse when others take up sides.

That is the tragedy of fights.

So, I have been silent on this. I have posted to both blogs on other subjects. I hope I can stay out of it. The problem is those who are not in the fight are taking sides, and expecting others to see their righteousness. That is what makes fights and divorces so nasty and destructive. Best if everyone backs off, and no one gives support even when the principals clearly want it.

I am praying for all involved, both the protagonists and those who think they are supporting right in supporting one or the other. Nothing good comes of such fights most of the time. Divorce at least can protect the vulnerable some times, this sort of thing lacks that virtue.

It is all very sad.



susankay said...

Just tracked to here. YES. I think a good idea is to let people to fight/argue with each other without letting we-helpful-others wading in. I think that may be an AlAnon thing. They are very wise.

JimB said...


I don't know if it is an AlAnon thing but I would not be surprised. They are often very strong people.

I am always happy to see some comments. Drop by anytime.


Jane R said...

+Maya has already weighed in and said people should take more naps. Think how much better things would be. Feel like saying aggressive things? Withdraw, have a nap. Things will look different upon one's awakening, and meanwhile one won't have said anything hurtful.

JimB said...


There is something to be said for that. It is my sense that the best thing those who count themselves friends can do is either nap or go for a walk.



susan s. said...

Or count to 3500. I usually get lost at about 100 and then have to start over again. My mind is so caught up in the counting that everything else sort of slips into the background.

Erika Baker said...

We shouldn't get involved but we do that by posting a 300 word special post about it?

Yes, the time did come when getting involved became counter productive. But many of us have been able to diffuse situations on MP's before when misunderstandings were staring some of us in the face yet the participants couldn't see them.

It was worthwhile trying to mediate, even if, this time, it didn't work.

Christal said...

Let us pray for all involved. Amen

JimB said...


I think if you check, you will see that I have not written a sentence let alone 300 words supporting anyone. I have written only here something critical of those who take sides and jump into the fray. I

"Mediate" does not include the posts and emails attacking a party to the dispute. Piling on is not helping. Taking sides is not helping. They are quite capable of asking for a mediator if they think they need one.

Erika Baker said...

Sadly, I'm about to go on holiday, so I won't see your reply until a fair while later.

But you touch on something that has been occupying my thoughts for a while.
You say "they will seek a mediator if they want one"... and I can see why you say that.

But there's something about blogging, isn't there, that is intrinsically addressing a readership, otherwise you'd be writing a personal and secret diary.
And if you also enable comments, there is an assumption that you welcome your readers' thoughts.

So are we really saying that bloggers welcome positive thoughts only, and that if 2 bloggers who used to be friends and who share a friendly readership, fall out, all those friends suddenly have to stop commenting as though they had stumbled across something that had only ended up on the internet by pure accident?

I was quite willing not to comment when things only appeared on one person's blog. But when both parties no longer appeared to think that their quarrels were private....?

What does blogging community mean in that instance?
What do the friendships we have cultivated through the blogs mean?
Why do bloggers blog if they don't want, at some level, to make their concerns public?

I'm not trying to justify my attempts at mediation, I happen to believe they were appropriate.
I am askign genuine questions - what is blogging about, what are its limits and boundries and how would we know?

JimB said...


It is a fair question. I guess I think that the best course when an argument terns personal is to back away. I am always willing to engage on issues of interpretation, perception and ideas.

That is my view and of course your mileage may vary.

I am also always willing to pray for members of the community and say that I am. I am not shy about being a Christian.

But, in my view, when the blogs start humming with personal stuff the community should shut up and let them fight. Again, that is merely my view and while I think it applies to a good many other cases (cf divorce) I have been wrong before.

Enjoy your holiday. I shall I hope be here when you return.


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