Saturday, November 6, 2010

Anonymous Blogging in the Ethiopian Church

As the inheritors of faith and the Church poised in the brink of the 21 first century ,cyber has become one the major means of communication among the Laity of the Ethiopian Church as result we have a number of blogs about and for the Church .Praise be to God we are able to get news, dialogues and articles a lot more sooner and in a more legitimate way, yet most of these blogs have anonymous owners which has forced many of us to be very skeptical about them, questioning their credibility which made the time it takes for these blogs to be well recognized and accepted more longer than it usually does .When we come to readers of these blogs, a tendency of putting comment as anonymous or using avatar names is very common. So no matter how aggravating and important the issue is, to have an open discourse has become almost impossible making one unable to determine what potential is dependable-participant if change is initiated to happen.

  In its normal occurrence – cyberism, the screen cease to be a medium of communication between real people who exist elsewhere and also a place where we forward our ideas and views regarding an issue, just like we do in real world (in person and face to face interaction).The other occurrence is when a person creates a virtual character in the virtual world as proxies for themselves (avatar), so enabling their controllers to live in complete self-complacency behind the screen without being known. For instance a person can imaginatively use a phrase, name of holiday or a famous person for their avatar.


Causes
As this is not an in-depth researched writing on the original of the various reasons for why people prefer to use an avatar (second life) I would like to point out the most common one which is modesty, playing the biggest role since this has opened a loop to the rivals of the Church to use such methods to distract participants or readers from the topic of the subject that is being discussed by putting a disturbing or unrelated comment. These cyber bugs not only create a diversion but also support the erroneous act and challenges that the Church is facing by putting across their vocabulary decorated words and justifying it, hindering the formation of a strong foundation for open religious discourse that would bring about the desired change. 

I would only like to point out its effect by stating a small example
A manufacturing company might hold an electronic “town hall” where employees and stakeholder can participate from any part of the world. They can use avatars or second life as long as that second life can be linked in to a person meaning an employee or stakeholder and that avatar is a registered user of that virtual conference. The company can deliver the required message to everyone without any miscommunication and misapprehension. But at the end of the day since technology does not provide or grant its reward freely and for the business to be able to utilize the power of machines and manufacturing tool, the workers have to be become part of the machinery and bend their labor in to the discipline. In short what it means is that they have to be physically present to do the work.

 The Ethiopian Church, more than ever, is in need of a voice that says “NO” to all the wrong doings that have gradually worsen. The conflict among the fathers which has led to formation of an exile “synod”, the miscommunication that erupts every now and then at various Bishoprics between Bishops, clergy and the parish members, the abandoning of rural Churches and the flight of clergy because of the lack income, the uninhabited clerical schools, the muddle up administration and Hierarch and a lot more. This can only be attended by speaking up and re-involving in the ground work discipline and as the manufacturing company requires it workers to be physically present at the work place the Ethiopian Church needs a Laity that is spiritually committed, well informed and accountable that is dependable and sensitive about the faith and the well being of the Church. Avatar or Second life fail short on providing that role to the Laity since a real name and real face cannot be attached to the views and comments and discussion made.

Taking the rightful place
 It is undeniable that there are individuals that have given themselves to take up their role on the internal and external challenges that the Church faces, both in real world and cyber.
 For instance Dn Daniel Kibret who we all know for his books, his profound preaching and his invincible stand to the Ethiopian Church has always been an individual who forward his views and forte beliefs openly. And now he has merged the cyber world with the same tone and tune.
His blog has enormous amount of viewers and followers and the time it took the blog to be well know was very short since Dn Daniel Kibret has an established profile in the minds of public.

Even though everyone has differences on aptitude but as the children of the Ethiopian church all has one thing in common and that is the royal priesthood as mentioned in the first epistle of St.Peter, the second chapter and the ninth verse, the Laity has the obligation to take up that rightful place. As a one of progression of such spiritual and revitalized commitment I would like to recommend the following to cyber Ethiopian Church Laity:

1.       Be able to put your proper name because it is the voice of the individual in the voice of a group that actually counts in an ethical religious discourse. It will also suffice a proper flow of discussion rather than one “anonymous” referring to another “anonymous”.
2.        Be able to put proper identity because on doing so the discussion is given proper weight and credibility, as fictitious names are misleading whether a view or comment forwarded is the same person using different names (also known as cyber bugs) or actually a view of different individuals.
3.       Be able not to be very quick-tempered while putting comment no matter how upsetting the issue might be because temper will only stir up strife.
4.       Even though there would be comments that try to agitate the atmosphere, be slow to anger and try to calm the contention.
5.       Be able to always remember that these are not a political but a religious sphere and words have to be chosen wisely.


Longing to here good news

14 comments:

  1. Well...there is still I cannot be easily convinced about the cyber world..."Has it ever played major role in opening room for formal discussion which could reach us to solution, unless and otherwise the domain is restricted?"..."Has it ever achieved its intended goal?"...I doubt. All we see is its effect in bringing doubt and insecurity...
    I question sometimes why people want to escape from the classic way of making discussion and sharing ideas....to go to church regularly, sunday ...question and make discussion after each sermon . As to me, it feels right way no matter how traditional and old style it looks. Many of us are lazy to go to church even for Sunday liturgy but our hands are always active to write comments...we dont even know/see what is really the problem in the church... I dare to say..for some of us may be it is years ago since our last visit to church, repent, take the Holy Communion...So, who are we to comment on church agendas...! I cannot take any excuse...it is just laziness to bring some of the agendas to the virtual world...Cyber is for everyone.....for every one who is against, doubtful, unaware, concerned, less concerned... about the church. And I think there is limit for each group to how far they should be informed. Teachings, preaching, hymns can be spread by any means...but not ideas which were supposed to be discussed in a meeting or formal forums where the domains are limited....

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  2. Thank you very much maranata,i definatly agree with you.....

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  3. Dejeselam zim bila menedat gemerech ende
    kkkkkkkkkk

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  4. Maranatha,

    You are exactly right about face to face and personal interaction is still the best method of discussion and this writing here is not to give cyber precedence over that approach.This is solely to cyber participants only where these recommendation,pros and cons apply.

    Cyber helps connect the Laity from all over the world to discuss about their church.And the question about whether cyber in application have achieved its intended purpose..that still depends on the target of the blog or website and which should addressed explicitly and cant form a general statement for all cyber entities but one blanket statement that we can make is that blogs and websites have created awareness amoung the laity.
    As the rest of the labels I am not quite sure is the right thing to make since those are personal growth in the spirtual life and the intervention of such unfit ,lazy and who does not even take the holy communion as you said ,is not stopable whether it is in cyber or in person.

    I have a question for you though since you said cyber is for the lazy,unaware doubtful,less concerned so what does that make you ?

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Dear Mahlet

    I am sorry if I wrote my sentences in a confusing way. I didn’t mean the Cyber is ONLY for the lazy, unaware doubtful, less concerned ….What I meant was this days everyone is using internet for anything, for entertaining, studying, updating with news( except…I don’t know if some of us have started using it for eating). What you put in the net is exposed. I believe we shall not spread every secrete of the church in public. Being orthodox by birth cannot be enough to know every secretes of the church
    You know, Mahlet, when people think about religion/or going to church they want to think something “absolute”. When I leave home for church I want to contemplate only “absoluteness”. Regardless of my knowledge about human incapability to be absolute, I want to feel there is real submission to God to everyone who is heading to church…to feel that everyone is at his/her best absoluteness at least for that moment in the House of the Lord. I don’t want to feel any defect in the ministry..a defect in the people who are in the ministry nor to think about anyone’s sin except for mine…”Just Absolute Submission to God”
    I have heard many people reasoning why they halt going to church is because they have seen/heard/watched lot of arguments which they never want to know to exist in spirituality.
    Naturally we have accepted people in the ministry are by far better in spiritual life. I personally don’t want to read things like Dn X, or priest Y is making money out of this and that…It doesn’t feel good, right?
    Ya…that was what I meant, Mahlet. We may discuss spiritual life on the net…it is not a problem. I want to read people experience… how they overcome certain sin…How they finally make decision to repent and take the Holy Communion…and the life after that…How spiritually they were benefited. I think that is what matters at the end. We have to decide to what level everybody has to be aware of our strategies and plans to help us go through the problems in the church.
    Bless You

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  7. Dear Marantha,

    I without a doubt agree with you on what you are saying yes we should be able to go to church for absolution and total submission to God in side and out side of the Church,yes we should not judge others as we will be judged upon.
    Yes as you I am tired of disturbing news.
    But the reality it is happening whether we read it on cyber or not, entertainment tabloid are filling up their pages with these humiliting mayhems of the church.That is why my writing suggests that anonymous blog owners and readers (as mentioned in the first paragraph) should bring crediblity and accountabity to their work.

    The laity should be able to build a strong ally all over the world with a known name and work Christianity does not require educational background or being famous or being a good writer or speaker but the Will to commitment and the Will to do the right thing ,these individuals should reveal their voice to shadow down those that are mucking up the Church for their special interest.

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  8. Exactly Mahlet! I do believe anonymous blogs are just confusing people...Everyone has to be accountable for his/her own articles/comments. Members of the laity have to strengthen themselves to build strong Christian community that cannot be shaken with trivial news. It is easier to resolve arguments before they reach to name callings if we work hard to build a committed tewahedo society.

    Blessings!

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  9. Mahelet and Maranatha Bless you both. I definitely agree with both of you on some points and the intent of your discussion. I never bother to blog in anything because of the points Marenatha made and now would like to follow you guys for the points Mahelet made. But I want to tell for all the followers of our church (EOTC)we really should be careful in the way we spread news about our church. Sayin this and this and that is that could seem very simple but andemetaw as they say and the implication or rather the way people conceive that news; and what really matters the way others think and spread about our beloved church could be very devastating both personally and to the church. God is a God of mercy and have his mysterious ways to deal with the things that are happening in our church that is burning us all. I personally sometimes feel that I wish I haven't read about some of the things that are happening in our church, and feel so sorry for the wrong doers let alone blog or even talk about it with anybody. I would rather keep it to myself as my own "Gebena" than talk about it. this is because of the disappointment I feel towards the once we so look up on for their good teaching, leadership, strength etc etc. So please bloggers lets just be careful in the way we present the case of our beloved church both on the net and outside not for the fear of anybody but for the Love of our church, the wrong doers, and Mercy ( the core of our faith ).
    Finally dear Maranatha and Mahelet, I understand you both and your intentions and further discuss on some of the points I have tried to make.
    Thank you

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  10. Dearest Henok, brother in Christ

    Thank you for sharing us your support and ideas. May God bless you abundantly!

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  11. What is the point of this article?
    Any voice that is based on sound reasoning and evidence is worth listening to.

    So what is the problem here?
    But the writer goes:

    "These cyber bugs not only create a diversion but also support the erroneous act and challenges that the Church is facing by putting across their vocabulary decorated words and justifying it, hindering the formation of a strong foundation for open religious discourse that would bring about the desired change."

    So you have something against vocabulary? Whose fault is it if one lacks the ability to follow through an argument to decide whether it is faulty or not? Should things be written at 1st grade level? Whose fault is it if one can't focus on what's being discussed? After all, there are millions of opinions, educational levels, and backgrounds here.

    No. This is about control.

    You want the real names of these people, because, then, you could isolate them and attack them. Religious zealots, especially our Ethiopian brands (both Pentes and Orthodox) are known to ostracize any dissidents. The culture of the Orthodox church for example is built on submission to the Church hierarchy, not not on understanding of the doctrines.

    This is why nobody dares speak out against the Kes that's known as a fornicator and embezzler. This is why nobody dares raise their hand to oppose when church leaders are openly squabbling and campaigning against other churches. There is no outlet, and that's the truth. The Church does not appreciate any real views points, or opinions..only submission. I know this from personal experience.

    So who are we kidding? In fact, why do you suppose half the church websites don't support comment boxes?

    A house built on shaky ground will falter. If any of you find yourselves intimidated by avatars or nicknames, maybe the problem is your faith. Unless we all review fact from fiction, we will never be truly followers of truth and therefore God.

    The Orthodox church needs absolute and total reform! Why can't we even speak up against the current leadership that is in bloody deep with the current regime? Why can't the followers muster up one voice? Because they are scared!! Scared of retaliation! They can't distinguish from the values and teachings of the Orthodox church from the corrupt political entity that is parading as the Orthodox church currently.

    We should all check ourselves. Sorry about this long tirade, but I feel strongly we have our priorities screwed up.

    I leave you with this clip of the grave desecration at Yoseif Church. Both my parents and grand parents are now removed from their final resting place and buried in some Mass Grave like holocaust victims. Where are the church leaders? Where is the outrage?!!!!!!

    You BE THE JDUGE!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vk25a6u64g

    (or search Grave Desecration in Ethiopia on youtube)

    We need to take back the institution. No more repression, corruption, or intimidation.

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  12. Dear Henok,

    I notice that when Dn X or especially priest Y do something wrong there is a tendency to keep it a secret (gemena as you said it). How does that solve the problems though? And that is the point. Why is it even kept a secret? I agree with the user above me. No one wants to bring out the festering issues out front because they are all scared, right? So everybody talks behind everybody's back.

    If there are bloggers that are trying to bring out these issues to the public (airing dirty laundry in public) then I must applause them even if they are using.

    Screen names, or handles are our modern version of pen names. Straight from wikipedia here is about pen names:

    "A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his or her works, to protect the author from retribution for his or her writings..."

    Emi, on one hand I agree with you that people should take a stand and face up when speaking their mind about church affairs. But the truth is, from what I have read so far, you are yet to write a single blog about the failings of the church. This is a good opportunity for you to say enough to the corruption (I read this in your stance) in a thoughtful way. Or are you afraid too?

    The sheer avaibility of information that's available because of technology is bound to not only challenge our perception of our church, but also ourselves, our beliefs and our world. The best way to survive it all is to pay closer attention to the bible and go on a personal quest. Otherwise, failure is not avoidable.

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