That’s me smiling at you, in my Gravatar. That’s my real name, responding to your comments. And I never have, nor will I ever use, a pseudonym. Or a cloaked ISP number. What’s your name? If it’s Anonymous, or a nom de plume, why? What are you afraid of? Why do you do it? I have recently been greatly wounded by a false identity on the internet, so it has caused me to think deeply on the motives underlying this common practice.
My husband was at first reluctant to agree to such full disclosure on this blog, fearing such transparency put our family at greater risk to intrusions into our privacy. And he is right, it does. But he is willing to take that risk, God bless him, because he saw how passionately I believed that the anonymity the Internet allows is not good for civil discourse, as it gives permission for strangers to vent; much like the anonymity of the highway gives license to a driver for acts he would never consider outside of his brief passing in the side mirror of another car. Road rage and internet flaming are very like.
My friend Ian Vincent posted this on his wonderful blog, What Does ANONYMOUS or Fake Identity Mean on the Internet?
“It does mean that they don’t want any real fellowship, which means, at best, they are very immature and not qualified to teach the Body of Christ or function as an Elder. It does mean they are avoiding being accountable, therefore they are emboldened to say wrong things bcos they think that no one will find out who they really are. It very likely means they are hiding something. It could mean their spiritual life is more fantasy than reality. It could mean that they think that if you found out they are just a normal Christian like you, with all the normal faults, imperfections and struggles, then you would not be interested in them nor honor them as a great spiritual giant.” *
That says it all doesn’t it? Now, I won’t delete your comments if you post under another name; this is merely a friendly exhortation, a nudge for you to think, and prayerfully consider, becoming more real. Some of the people I greatly respect on the internet use pseudonyms. But I won’t trust entirely the words you say until you choose to stand up and use your own given name. I understand the nakedness of your name, of who you are, splayed out for all to see on the blogpage. I will never forget my feelings seeing “Karen Butler” the first time I ever posted a comment. I felt the vulnerability of it so keenly. I said, “Must I really, Lord?” He gently reminded me, yet again, that the fear of man is a snare, and I must fear Him so much more than the ridicule of men.
*Read more of Ian’s great stuff, including his comments expanding on this topic, here: http://ianvincent.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/what-does-anonymous-or-fake-identity-mean-on-the-internet/ He is indeed a realbrother, I have him in my favorites. He is very accountable and open to scrutiny for his words and his work as a missionary in India.