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Recently, my manhood was put to question. Pastor Eugene Cho, in so many words, insinuated that I was cowardly for not “coming out” and disclosing my real identity.

I suppose his point – that cowards like to hide in the www – does have some validity. There are many cowardly bloggers who are “mighty in word but meek in real life.” They rant and rave in blissful anonymity, while in real life they are probably repressed, mousy losers. As Mark Driscoll puts it, they are often unemployed 30 year-old dudes still living with a mother who cooks and does laundry for them.

In fact, I have considered coming out many a time (but not for the above reasons!). Tim Challies has an interesting blog about how full-disclosure (in the www) is next to godliness. But I’ve decided to remain anonymous for a number of reasons – godly reasons, in fact.

Here are some good reasons why anonymity is sometimes the right place to be:

  • First, many of my observations about life, faith, and church, would, if my identity were known, cast certain people mentioned in my blog in a poor light. It is inescapable. But by cloaking myself in anonymity, I’ve cloaked and protected those mentioned. If my identity were known, however, people would know who I was referring to, and harm would be rendered unto him/her. For example, Tim Challies recently blogged about how he helped shovel snow for a neighbor – a difficult women, looked down on by the ‘hood, the cliché stereotype of the crotchety senior citizen. Now everyone in the whole wide world now knows that she is a “public nuisance” (and that Tim Challies is, on the other hand, a helpful, insightful, and humble Christian). If Challies’ identity were anonymous, on the other hand, the integrity, honor, and reputation of his neighbor would not have been further tainted through his blog.
  • Second, leaders in the church (pastors, etc.) often live in a fishbowl existence where they must toe the party-line. As a result, there is no outlet for honest, inquisitive doubts, creative speculation, and/or unconventional thinking. Online anonymity provides the space and room to air out some of these thoughts. Pastors have to be encouraging and uplifting, even when their personal world might be crashing and dark clouds might be churning in them; to preach sermons with conviction (out of love for the congregation) even when such conviction might not quite be there; to deal with diplomacy and courtesy those members of the congregation who have betrayed us. Whether we admit it or not, we have to bite the bullet and “perform” our jobs. It is stressful. It creates some disconnect. To finally share some honest thoughts – which, if known, would cause us to be demoted or even let go – is refreshing and renewing. (I know that many of you will respond that a true pastor should be able to disclose honest reflections, but before you do, just click on Peter Enns).
  • Third, full disclosure actually introduces a whole host of dangers which the anonymous blogger does not face. Once fully disclosed, there is the inevitable need to adorn and embellish: to come across more sophisticated, cultured, funny, spiritual, could-not-give-a-damn cavalier, deep, reformed, multi-layered, whatever. Your name, your reputation, your face, is out there now. And just as we primp and prop before a photo shoot, so too is there a need to showcase our internet selves in certain distinct ways. Rather than encourage simple honesty, therefore, full disclosure can actually increase the temptation to enhance and accent. But anonymity enables the blogger to be completely honest, warts & all.

There are probably other good reasons for anonymity which will come to me two minutes after I post this. But until I hear of compelling reasons to the contrary – at which point I will either “come out” or shut this site down – I will remain the truth which cuts.


The cutting truth


One Comment

  1. I came across your blog earlier this year and immediately wrote you off as a gigantic douchebag. But after reading this post I thought, “really, how bad is this blog?” There are much worse things, such as the Christian that uses his/her position at church as a mask (I’ve been guilty of this).

    Though I would seriously consider punching my pastor in the face if I found out he owned this blog, you give an interesting peek into the frustrations and concerns of an asian american pastor.

    I would wish you well if I liked you but I’m having a hard time deciding.

    Dan (A recovering former member of the AA Church)

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