Last night while listening to various speculations as why the horse that ‘placed’ at the Kentucky Derby was put down, my mind drifted to 5 things Eight Belles has in common with many church webmasters I know, including:
- Both endure through arduous training regimes;
- Both have blinders, bridles, and bits forced upon them;
- Both are ridden hard, often with tightly held reins;
- Both get whipped as they approach the finish line; and
- Both are often “put down” instead of retired or rehabilitated … though a good race horse at least has the hope of being put out to stud if they can survive without injury.
Yeah, sorry with the negative waves Moriarty, but I think what we’re dealing with has its basis in a somewhat larger quartet of problems that afflict the Christian church on the whole, they being:
- turf wars
- shooting the wounded
- treating those who leave like traitors
- non-Biblical power structures
Don’t get me wrong, any organization of people are going to suffer the effects of the sin nature; including the Church until Christ returns.
Still, my heart goes out to a good number of church webmasters who have privately emailed me with their stories of how shabbily they were treated somewhere along the process of designing, developing, deploying and/or maintaining a church website.
Heck, I’ve gone through it a bit too – having been verbally tongue-lashed by a church staff member publicly in the kitchen of the church (next to the sanctuary) before my last communion service there, followed up by a webmaster who couldn’t wait to “upgrade” the site from MovableType to FrontPage.
That aside, I tend to want to keep such communications private as I minister to a hurting church webmaster. I have though from time to time, both either with the permission and/or at the request of the pummeled programmer published their tale not in the spirit of bitterness nor gossip, but as experiences from which we can all observe, learn and hopefully avoid in the future.
Here are a couple of links to such posts:
- Submissive Volunteerism versus Spiritual Abuse
- Mike Boyink on the problem with free ice cream
- Mr. Zeldman meet Mike Boyink, one of â€˜The New Samaritansâ€™
- Volunteerism and the Robert E. Peary Class of 1977 Reunion
As I alluded earlier, much of this has to do with our struggle with our sin nature, much of that manifesting itself in what is commonly referred to these days as ‘spiritual abuse.’ Thereâ€™s plenty on this topic all over the internet, but I am partial to the excellent writing on this malady that are found at Watchman.org:
- Profile: Spiritual Abuse defined
- Beating the Sheep by David Henke
- Watchman.org – Elements of Spiritual Abuse
This isn’t to say we should engage ourselves in the process of providing our valuable skills to assist a church and/or charity create and maintain an excellent web presence , but only and rather that we do so keeping in mind the following words of our Savior from Matthew 10:16:
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
What about you, what are your thoughts, experiences, and/or opinion on this topic? Leave a comment, in love.