Recently I posted a blog titled “Top 10 Reasons People Don’t Tithe.” I took it from a recent sermon I preached at my church, West Park Church in London, Ontario. I didn’t expect it to go viral and certainly didn’t anticipate the controversy it generated. Here’s the reader interaction stats on it (from my website, Google analytics, and Churchleaders.com that posted it twice) and what I learned.
- Re-tweets: almost 100
- Facebook shares: 1124
- Comments on Churchleaders.com: 253 at last count
- Facebook ‘Likes’ on Churchleaders.com: 3,400 at last count
- Pageviews on my website: 12,000 plus at last count
To put this into context, I’m not a big league blogger like some you probably read. I post twice a week primarily on church leadership. I average around 7,000 unique page views per month and I have an email list of followers of around 2,400. So, I don’t rank very high in the blogosphere.
So, when I began to see these trends, I knew something was up. Here are the insights I’ve learned from this post.
- The concept of tithing remains very controversial. From my 35 years in ministry I knew people had differing views. However, I never knew those views would create such emotion.
- Some people get incendiary when pastors talk about money. I was quite surprised at some of the emotion laden darts commenters threw out at pastors. The comments revealed lots of angst people carry toward pastors and money.
- Some people can disagree agreeably. Although I didn’t read all 250 plus comments, I read enough to see that several thoughtfully shared their differing viewpoints. They made good points without SHOUTING!
- Social media is reinforcing unhealthy ‘filterless’ communication.
I was shocked at how mean some of the comments were. In contrast to those who agreeably disagreed with me, some commenters threw multiple verbal grenades. In our social networking world when we don’t have to talk to a real live person standing a few feet away from us, we tend to thoughtlessly speak our mind with no love to temper us. Social networking is giving people a forum to say what they want with no filters. This is not a healthy trend.
- I support everyone’s right to dissent, even if they lack filters. Although filterless communication is not the healthiest kind, I still support everyone’s right to dissent. Unfortunately, especially in today’s politically correct world, those of us who take biblical stances on issues (i.e., on biblical marriage) are being marginalized more and more.
Why do you think this post generated so much controversy?