My interest in the traffic to this blog is not about numbers of visitors, or how many people comment, or how to inflict the most damage on the institution of the Stanton sect of the Church of Christ. No, it’s always and only been about one thing: uncovering the historical roots of the sect, and encouraging and motivating people impacted by its unbiblical doctrines to learn more about our loving God and forsake the teachings of men for the Bible alone. It’s about spurring one another on toward love and good works.
John 8:32 – Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…
As such, it’s awesome to receive things like the postcard I got in the mail the other day from a reader. He thanked me for the encouragement the blog offers, but the real thanks goes out to him and all the others who are actually awake, paying attention, and engaging in a meaningful way with the information and conversation here. You’ve encouraged me to keep moving forward with this project, and I can tell it’s done some tangible good. So thank you. It’s truly a blessing to be part of anything that brings people closer to the God of love I know.
Yet some people—those who have “come to spy out our liberty,” perhaps—assume different motives (I think we’d call that “evil surmising”), and suggest that the blog is nothing more than a tool to engage in a war of words with Stanton. For them, it is about politics, not ideas. This is evidenced by the occasional troll who pops in and tries to take a swipe at me, or the blog, or its readers or commenters without having read the posts and articles.
I can’t speak for the motives of every reader and commenter. I think most have genuinely good motives, but I’ll stipulate that everyone who reads this blog is in a different phase of understanding and dealing with the harm inflicted by Stanton’s teachings. Some are professed believers, some are not. This blog gives voice to both from time to time, and attempts to be fair and accurate in the process.
But we should acknowledge that trolling is a practice that lowers discourse from a conversation about ideas to a political sport where we’re rooting for teams, not truth. Trolling is not about communicating ideas and conversing about them. It is about appealing to our baser instincts, such as the pride of winning an argument, or sticking it to the opposition with a good “zinger.” None of us are above these human motivations; they can crop up at any time in any conversation, and I have to hold them in check as much as the next person. But the truth is that “zingers” rarely lead a conversation into productive territory. Just watch the presidential debates if you doubt me.
These types of comments are not about seeking to convince anyone, nor are they about seeking to understand, educate, encourage, or enlighten one another. They are solely about sabotaging the conversation between seekers of truth who are attempting to reason together.
This blog is intended to be just that—seekers of truth returning to the Bible alone for their authority in doctrine and practice. But for the Stanton loyalists who choose to troll this blog from time to time, it’s clearly not about that. It’s more about rooting for their team to “win” the debate. And with that attitude, everyone loses.
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared traffic analytics, so here are some stats you might find interesting. Aside from the >110,000 page views and >2825 comments, there is this:
Here you’ll see that in any given day, there are an average of 14 active users. For the past 30 days, there have been an average of 388 active users.
It is also interesting to me to see what posts and articles get the most readers. Clearly, the article on Fear and Intimidation Tactics resonates with a large number of readers. But even that is dwarfed by the number of people interested in the historical roots of the church, as evidenced by the pageviews to the historical pages about the church and about Merie Weiss.