I’m not a big rules guy. Most situations tend to handle themselves and people can become overly stringent about keeping to the letter of the law, and I prefer a more organic way of going about things. However, to help facilitate some of the discussions on my message board (since I’ve obviously decided to maintain my own board), I have had to come up with some helpful guidelines so that people know where I’m coming from and what I want the board to be about. I thank my friend and Hollywood Jesus colleague, Mike Furches (who runs the Hollywood Jesus Group on MySpace), for letting me adapt his guidelines.

Hollywood Jesus
for many years was among the leading web sites in the world for movie reviews. An important characteristic of the web site was the opening paragraph welcoming visitors to the web site, it stated, as is stated here with this group: Everyone welcome! Hindus, Jews, Christians, Wiccans, Muslims, New Agers, Atheists, Agnostics, Gay, Straight. Come in. Enjoy. Post your views!

It’s been the kind of vision statement that I’ve tried to follow on my message board. A place where people can come, hang out, discuss matters of race, spirituality, and, frankly, my work (it is an author’s messageboard). The board isn’t primarily for Christians in fact, preaching, proselytizing and things of that sort are discouraged from this group. I believe we can all learn from each other. All faiths are welcome and are to be respected, no matter how much they might be disagreed with. The key word is respect.

When a Christian or non Christian continues to operate out of disrespect (and I don’t mean snark), including, not welcoming all people, they will be banned from the group. Now for those that know me, you know I personally have issues with persons being banned from groups, unless that person continues to refuse to respect the concept of the group. My hope is, that I never have to ban someone again, but I expect that won’t happen. So far, since the start of this group, I have banned only a few people.

I welcome the debate and the constant thread derailments, but keep it respected. Feel free to ask questions. My hope is that this is a group that can continue to grow, where all people can feel welcome. I don’t want anyone to leave the group, but in the end, it is my board, and I don’t want to compromise the purpose of my message board: to have good conversations where we can learn from one another.

And now a word from a MOD:

The board will be a lot more heavily monitored because things have gotten out of control and folks are afraid to post for fear of being sniped to death. The Spiritual Journeys section will be the most heavily moderated. People need to be able to post there safely about where they are spiritually without fear of undue harassment or undue criticism. If you don’t like the way this forum is run, you are welcome to find another.

(MOD gets a little testy)

If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say hi, feel free to do so on my message board. I apologize in advance for some of my regulars.