Bishop of Buckingham: His Grace 'the troll'
When one blogs, as a Christian, one is subject to all manner of competing authorities, tempted by a raft of confusing motives and buffeted by a legion of conflicting spirits. No matter how much one hopes to glorify God or speak prophetically the gospel of Christ to those who are being lost, all that is uttered is ultimately imperfect, and all that is done is a filthy rag.
His Grace's blog has plodded along now for more than eight years. Sometimes it has brought great pleasure, and occasionally it has done some considerable good. But for the most part it has been a daily drudge and an utterly thankless task.
One does not do this for the money or the approbation of man.
To be accused of 'trolling' by a bishop is a serious matter.
One expects occasionally to receive reasoned rebuke, and some of the chat-thread contributions over the years have been more than forthright in their condemnation of His Grace's homilies .
But to be accused of 'trolling' by a bishop gives pause for thought.
And profound heart-searching.
And deep spiritual reflection.
It appears that a chaplain may, with impunity, urge upon the nation a culture of death; preach against the official teaching of the Church of England; and insult her Christian brothers and sisters in the sovereign legislature of Parliament. But for His Grace to seek to expose this and reason against it is 'trolling'.
Blogging is a strange medium, and Twitter is stranger. When one has thousands of followers over multiple time-zones, the only way of reaching them is to tweet out the same message numerous times, as His Grace routinely does. And even then, on average, one reaches only about two per cent of one's followership. If one follows say 50 people, each of their tweets will remain in your timeline for an entire day or longer, and the content will be there to read each time you log in. If one follows say 5000 people, it is highly unlikely that you 'follow' them at all. Even when they tweet the same message multiple times.
His Grace sought clarification from the Bishop of Buckingham. Is it his view that His Grace is:
a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) 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 (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."Yes," came the unequivocal reply.
Doubtless the writing of this blog post and tweeting it out constitutes further 'trolling'.
To be so accused by a bishop is a serious matter, especially when that bishop is one's own temporal overseer whom one has met half-a-dozen times over the years and with whom shares a number of passions, if not theo-political concerns. His Grace has also met the Bishop's Chaplain twice. Not, of course, that either would have been aware.
But, to both, His Grace is a troll, and, by definition, trolls are malevolent and sow discontent.
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren (Prov 6:16-19).
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.This blog will now fall silent for a period of voluntary reflection, if not permanent purgation.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom 16:17f).