Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

16 September 2013

The trouble with trolls

I want to share with you a SMALL sampling of the things people on the internet have written about me... just in the last year. Some were from "Anonymous." Some were from people with fake internet names... who although I don't know their identity, spoke things in a way that I'm quite sure I know them in real life.

  • Propagandist 
  • Proselytizer and Braggart 
  • Ignorant 
  • Unnecessary pomp and circumstance
  • Adds to Brantford's negative image
  • Disgusting
  • Not a real Christian whose name will be wiped from the book of life
  • Taking away choices from young people 
  • Political propagandist and sleaze bucket lobbyer 
  • Bizarre 
  • Ridiculous religious ritualist
  • Inappropriate and a misuser of public space
  • Hypocrite
  • Snake handler 
  • False teacher and brainwasher
  • Cult leader 
  • Profiteer
  • Leading people towards needing a mental hospital to repair the damage I've done.
  • A circus who has their reward.
  • A ticking time bomb.
  • Brantford's own Branch Davidians.
  • Connected to dangerous people.
  • A freak show
  • Hater.
  • One who is in support of Public hangings, public circumcision, crucifixions, stonings and burning witches at the stake

I've also had numerous, repeated online cyber-attackers, a couple of death threats and even a dramatic You Tube video where I was called an eccentric philanthropist (which SOUNDED pretty cool) ... but then I was emotionally dismantled, had my marriage destroyed, had an arsonist burn my house down, was shot dead and then had my grave urinated on.

When some hear these kinds of things... they get outraged.  But please don't. Do you know how many of these things are worth responding to and engaging with online?  None. As the saying goes, "Don't feed the trolls."

A troll is:

* A person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion 

The actions of "Trolls" can be ugly.  Don't be one. And CERTAINLY don't feed one!  You see, this particular person's game plan requires response to work. The outcome of victory is in your hands.

Criticism is not a new phenomenon. In fact if you do ANYTHING of consequence in life, you'll have those who openly oppose you, dislike you and some who would love to actually destroy you. However, today's critical Internet culture of immediate access and dangerous levels of anonymity,  have created a very fertile environment for extraordinarily harsh and consistent criticism. It can even be poisonous enough to destroy a man if taken internally.

But take heart. For those who overcome and achieve, the words of  Teddy Roosevelt still shine brightly with the assurance of victory. 

“It's not the critic who counts. It's not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled. Credit belongs to the man who really was in the arena, his face marred by dust, sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs to come short and short again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. It is the man who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasm and knows the great devotion, who spends himself on a worthy cause, who at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement. And, who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and cruel souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Victory shouldn't ever be in question over such an exposed and flawed tactic.  But the trouble with trolls, is that behind every troll is a soul. Jesus challenges us not to "don't feed those who curse you."  In Luke 6, he makes one of those "Could you really mean this Jesus?" statements that throws a wrench into traditional common sense by saying,

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" 

Behind every troll is a soul.  A real person who is angry at something, and while engaging them in their advantageous arena simply does nothing good.... love, blessing and prayer does more than starve them out.

It's a divinely strategic way to turn the tables and maybe even transform their tactics. Why bother?  Because a "troll" has a name.  It could be Mike who was hurt by the church.  It could be Evelyn who was raped.  It could be a 13 year old named Darrell who is giggling with his friends to distract his mind from his abusive parents. Or... it could just be your ordinary, average, run of the mill doofus. You never know who is on the other side... but it doesn't really matter does it? As someone who is equipped with the assurance of victory... blessing is always better than cursing.

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