a bible, theology, politics, news, networking, and discussion site
We define meaningful in the following way:
1) Not closed minded
2) Not self-promoting
3) Not characterized by mass amounts of cut-and-paste proof-texting
4) Not characterized by mass amounts of cut-and-paste from other places
6) Not slanderous
7) No spamming
8) Perpetual venting bitterness
9) Not confusing or disruptive
10) No Early Heresy Blogs (see below)
This site belongs to all of us and the Rules of Engagement are here for the protection of conversation, not the stifling of it. The moderators here were placed only to ensure that the conversation continues in a meaningful way by upholding the site rules, which in turn furthers the purpose of the site. No one will be banned from this site for their theology. Talk! Don’t be afraid that someone is going to slap you on the hand for honest views and questions. It is the differences in opinions that make the site interesting. And no one will be banned because of who they disagree with. The moderators will step in if your questions aren’t handled properly and addressed in an irenic manner; the moderators step in if you're using Theologica as a pulpit. The moderators step in if you seem to have an agenda, etc, etc.. Their decisions are made as a group and are final. Disrespect towards them is just as much a rules violation as disrespect towards others and can lead to suspension of your account. For some guidelines on how to keep a conversation irenic and objective, check out Thoughts on Theologica Discourse. Also, make sure to read how the ModBots work. In all, remember this one motto we state rather frequently around Theologica - "None of us are teachers here, we are all students."
Two specific things need to be addressed in the rules though. The first is the "not slanderous" bit. Sarcasm doesn't come across very well in written form. It should be avoided so as to not cause offense unless you are really close friends with the person you are talking to and they know you well enough to pick up on the tenor of your post. But posts do not have to be obvious ad hominem attacks to be slanderous. It can be back-handed comments where someone or their position is called heretical. Care should be taken to avoid labels which are not self-applied. The other item that needs to be expounded on a bit is being confusing or disruptive. This is seen frequently when posts are locked by moderators and the topic creator unlocks it, or when members choose to delete their accounts on Theologica and it causes all their prior activity there to be deleted. It is very disruptive when that happens. We have had some quite lengthy and active discussions simply vanish due to the person that initially created the topic deciding to leave. We ask that should you ever decide to leave Theologica or take a break from the site, that you do not delete your account. Should you want no further communication from the site, just change your email address in your profile.
Site Areas (How the site works):
Blogs - This is your personal space but limited to some. This is where you should post thoughts that are not intended for extensive further discussion. Observations from personal study and events that have occurred in your life belong here. Unless your post ends with questions or makes it apparent that discussion is to follow, it should probably be a blog. The Blog area is limited to those who hold to historic Christian belief as summarized below. If you don't concur with the beliefs below, you are free to participate in other places of the site, but that does not mean that you can Blog there.
Forums - This is for open discussion relating to the topic posted and open to all. Theologica is a Christian discussion site but, so long as the rules of engagement are followed, we welcome in our forums anyone who wants to discuss religion, faith, and spirituality, no matter what faith (or non-faith). While non-Christians are allowed to participate and discuss theology, they need to so within the framework of Christian respect for each other. Disrespect shown toward the Christians on the site or to the God whom they serve is going to be considered trollish behavior. Dialogue is encouraged to stay on topic, so if a side conversation begins, open a new discussion. This is where the majority of the activity has taken place so far. Topics should remain general in nature, while in depth discussion on narrow topics should take place in groups.
One important area in the forum is the category for introductions. If you plan on interacting here, we strongly encourage you to introduce yourself so that we can learn a little bit about you. It really helps in the communication to know a bit of context of the speaker.
Groups - This is a place to congregate with people who have similar interests and positions.; it is also open to all. The conversations here are not required to remain on topic. This is where you should go if you want to gather with a particular kind of theologian. Before initiating a new group, we ask that you consider posting a question in the discussion forum area to see if there is enough interest to justify a separate group. The reason we encourage such action is that, in the event that a group is inactive for 6 months or more, the moderators of Theologica reserve the right to delete the group due to inactivity. Content that may be seen as objectionable or overly graphic by some members should be limited to the Straight Talk group.
Events - This is available to anyone that wants to post an event that you think the members of Theologica may be interested in. Contact Michael for more details on advertising.
What Theologica Bloggers Believe
I believe in God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe God to reveal himself as three eternal persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I believe in Jesus Christ, the only unique Son of God, our Lord.
I believe Jesus Christ was both fully human and fully God.
I believe Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, crucified for the sin of mankind, actually died, and was buried.
I believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day and subsequently ascended into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the Father and shall one day judge the living and the dead.
I believe the Holy Spirit to be both divine and a person sent to indwell believers.
I believe in the one unified and true church.
I believe Jesus Christ is the Head of the church.
I believe in the all-sufficient atoning work of Christ.
Only Christians post blogs. Heretics, other religions, and aliens can post all they want on the forums, in the groups, and on each other's walls, but we have reserved the blogs for Christians (not Mormons, JWs, or others who fall outside of historic Christianity as defined above)." As moderators are charged with enforcing that rule, we came up with a list of beliefs that are taken primarily from the early church creeds. This list is a work in progress, but for the purposes of blogging here on Theolgica, the above list is how we are currently defining "Christian" from a historic orthodox position.
We would also like to point out member Rey Reynoso’s blog posts “Words That Don’t Prove Your Point”, You Believe That 'Cause, It's A Trap, and Scripture That Never Proves Your Point as excellent guides of the type of fallacies to avoid in discussion.
Also, we want to point out some posts that we feel can aid us all in proper online etiquette: Blogging to the Glory Shame of God, What if God read your posts?, What Part of Gentleness and Respect Don’t You We Understand?, Christian Blogging 101 and user ScottL's blog post on The Saga Challenge. Jesse Wisnewski's "6 Keys to Disagreeing Well and Improving Your Blogging and Commenting Etiquette" and Ryan's "Tips for Engaging Protestants" also can be of help in fostering the productive discussions we desire here. They all deal with the kind of behavior and attitudes that we try to foster here.